01 March 2012

Lady Liberty in Paris

We have been consciously trying to stay in a different neighborhood each time we visit Paris.  It forces us to wander where we would not normally go and to discover life as the Parisians normally live it rather than just as tourists.  On our January trip to Paris, we stayed in the 15 arrondissement .  Our walk to the center of Paris was along the Seine towards the Eiffel Tower.  Just a block or two into our walk, we passed the Pont du Grenelle and a replica of the Statue of Liberty.  I am not sure how many American tourists know that there are a few copies of Lady Liberty scattered about as she was originally made in Paris.  Next time you are in Paris, have a fun little treasure hunt and try to see all of the Liberty statues.

This Lady Liberty is on the near the Pont du Grenelle 11.50 m (37 feet 9 inches) high. Inaugurated on July 4, 1889, it looks southwest, downriver along the Seine. Its tablet bears two dates: "IV JUILLET 1776" (July 4, 1776: the United States Declaration of Independence) like the New York statue, and "XIV JUILLET 1789" (July 14, 1789: the storming of the Bastille).

The first (original) statue stands in the Jardin du Luxembourg: an information panel on the pedestal claims that it is a bronze model used by Bartholdi as part of the preparatory work for the New York statue; the artist offered it to the Luxembourg museum in 1900 and it was placed in the park in 1906. The date written on this statue's tablet (where the New York statue has "JULY IV MDCCLXXVI") is "15 novembre 1889" (November 15, 1889), the date at which the larger Parisian replica was inaugurated.

The Flame of Liberty (Flamme de la Liberté) in Paris is a full-sized, gold-leaf-covered, replica of the new flame at the upper end of the torch carried in the hand of the Statue of Liberty at the entrance to the harbor of New York City since 1986. The monument, which measures approximately 3.5 metres in height, is a sculpture of a flame, executed in gilded copper, supported by a pedestal of gray-and-black marble. It is located near the northern end of the Pont de l'Alma, on the Place de l'Alma, in the 8th arrondissement of Paris.

It was offered to the city of Paris in 1989 by the International Herald Tribune on behalf of donors who had contributed approximately $400,000 for its fabrication. It represented the culmination of that newspaper's 1987 celebration of its hundredth anniversary of publishing an English-language daily newspaper in Paris. More importantly, the Flame was a token of thanks for the restoration work on the Statue of Liberty accomplished three years earlier by two French businesses that did artisanal work on the project: namely, Métalliers Champenois, which did the bronze work, and the Gohard Studios, which applied the gold leaf. While the gift to France was prompted by the centennial of the newspaper, the Flame of Liberty, more broadly, is a lasting symbol of the friendship uniting the two countries, just as the statue itself was, when it was given to the United States by France.
Because Princess Diana died in the tunnel of Pont de l'Alma, the flame is sometimes mistaken as a memorial to her.  Tributes can still be found at the Flame.

The Historical Lady

1878 Paris World's Fair Exhibit of the head of Lady Liberty

The construction began in Paris in 1875 and took ten years to complete!

1 comment:

  1. There's a copy in a little village in Herault. Lugne, near Cessenon-sur-Orb. Tucked away in a back street, very few know it's there!