Do you know how many (real) Statues of Liberty there are in Paris? – OK
To simplify, French Theory is an ensemble of ideas (in particular deconstruction) that travelled across the Atlantic and was assimilated and “remixed” by the Americans, before returning to France and becoming influential.
Here’s a little riddle for you: I was made in France, I represent an ideal and I have become one of the most emblematic symbols of the United States. What am I? Perhaps that’s too easy, so here’s another question. After the famous statue was created, various replicas (varying in authenticity) appeared around Paris, but do you know how many and where you can find them?
Statues of Libertyde Paris
In 1886, President Grover Cleveland inaugurated a gift he had received from the people of France as a token of friendship between their country and America: the Statue of Liberty. The statue was designed by French sculptor Auguste Bartholdi (working with the engineer Gustave Eiffel) and offered to mark the 100th anniversary of the declaration of American independence. This work of art symbolising freedom and emancipation from oppression rapidly became one of the most famous monuments in the world, to such an extent that the French decided to exhibit replicas in their own country, the most famous of which are to be found in Paris.
Statue of Liberty sur l'île aux Cygnes under the pont de Grenelle, Paris, 15e.
1 – In 1889, to mark the centennial of the French Revolution, the Committee of Americans in Paris returned the favour to its French friends by offering them a replica of the Statue of Liberty. Located on the Île aux Cygnes next to the Pont de Grenelle – and almost aligned with the Eiffel Tower – the 11.50 metre high statue faces west towards New York.
2 & 3 – The Musée des Arts et Métiers (60 Rue Réaumur, Paris 3) has two exceptional copies. The original 2.83 metre-high plaster model used by Bartholdi to make the larger version for the New York statue is on show inside the museum, whereas a bronze replica stands in the courtyard in front of the museum.
Réplique en modèle réduit, par Bartholdi, de la Statue de la Liberté
4 & 5 – The Luxembourg Gardens (Jardin du Luxembourg) have been home to a 2.85 m high replica of the famous statue since 1906. It was originally an actual bronze cast by Bartholdi in 1889, but the authorities were obliged to move it to the Musée d’Orsay (1 Rue de la Légion d’Honneur in the 7th arrondissement) because its condition was deteriorating. It is now on show at the entrance to the sculpture wing and a copy stands in its place in Luxembourg Gardens, which you can see for free.
6 – There’s not much chance you spotted this one. In 1985, César (the artist famous for his crushed metal “compressions”) installed a monumental bronze sculpture on Place Michel-Debré in the 6th arrondissement of Paris. Le Centaure is a five-metre high, mythological self-portrait and, by way of a joke, the sculptor hid a miniature reproduction of the Statue of Liberty on its armour.
Flamme de la Liberté, Paris, 16e.
There is one last replica, which you may or may not choose to take into account depending on how seriously you take this quiz. In 1989, to thank two French companies that had taken part in the restoration of the statue in New York, France was offered the Flame of Liberty, a life-size replica (3.50 m) of the Statue of Liberty’s torch. It stands on Place de l’Alma (8th and 16th arrondissements). The monument became an improvised memorial for Princess Diana after she died in 1997 in the tunnel below the Pont de l’Alma.