Ritual and Tradition: Find Lucky Spots in Paris

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Ritual and Tradition: Find Lucky Spots in Paris
Sometimes old customs and traditions are hard to resist. Dropping a coin into a fountain is nonsensical, yet we do it anyway. It’s all part of the fun. Paris has its share of charmed spots, points on the map, with adherent rites and superstitions where the curious can try their luck or merely leave their mark. A somewhat newish and divisive tradition in Paris are the love locks – padlocks attached by visiting couples to bridges or railings in the hope the love they feel in Paris will last forever. This tradition quickly got out of hand. Paris doesn’t want these locks; bridge structures are crumbling under the weight of all that mawkishness, and the removal and repairs are quite costly. There’s more to see and do and wish for in the City of Light. Here are a handful of rituals and lucky spots in Paris that are far less problematic. Love Lock ~ Paris, France by Dustin Gaffke/ Flickr Kilometre Zero Located in the square in front of the cathedral of Notre Dame is a small geographic marker. This octagonal brass plate is Kilometre Zero and the focal point from which all other distances in France radiate. The rites performed here are of the wishing kind. Some spin in a circle on the marker to gain their heart’s desire. A kiss over the marker supposedly ensures eternal devotion. Coins are left at the site for good luck – somebody does well out of this! Others treat it as a punctuation mark to a splendid Paris holiday. Kilometer Zero/aka Point Zero is located about 30 meters in front of Notre Dame and looks like an unobtrusive maintenance cover. Point Zéro des Routes de France. Photo credit: Hazel Smith Palais Royal The eye-catching black and white columns called les Deux Plateaux or more commonly, the Colonnes de Buren are a permanent installation in the courtyard of the Palais Royal. It’s considered good luck to toss coins through the grates surrounding some of the striped columns into the pools of water at their base. It’s also lucky for those fishing for the centimes with magnets. Colonnes de Buren. Photo: Guilhem Vellut/ Wikimedia Commons

Lead photo credit : Notre Dame from the Seine © Hannah Reding, Unsplash

More in Kilometre Zero, Michel de Montaigne, Montmartre, notre dame, oldest tree in Paris, Palais Royal, Parmentier, Pere Lachaise, Saint Denis, Serge Gainsbourg, Witch’s Rock

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A freelance writer and amateur historian, Hazel knew she wanted to focus on the lives of French artists and femme fatales after an epiphany at the Musée d'Orsay. A life-long learner, she is a recent graduate of Art History from the University of Toronto. Now she is searching for a real-life art history mystery to solve.


  • Bill O'Such
    2023-07-20 10:08:04
    Bill O'Such
    Nice collection Hazel. I only knew about a couple of them. Adventures for the next trip!


  •  Marilyn Brouwer
    2023-07-17 01:30:43
    Marilyn Brouwer
    Fascinating article Hazel! Might try some, but definitely not all of these for good luck... Great investigation!


    •  Hazel Smith
      2023-07-18 04:33:12
      Hazel Smith
      Yes - I wouldn't risk drinking from the fountain of St. Denis!