Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Parisian Statues of Liberty

The weather has often been seasonal so far this summer, which is a welcome change from the standard succession of dry heat waves. It has even rained quite a bit at times. We need the rain, so I can’t complain, although I’d prefer that it rain during the night, rather than during the day when I sometimes need to go out.

I took a picture of the Eiffel Tower from the Mirabeau bridge recently. This bridge is about a mile downstream and southwest of the Eiffel Tower. It’s a good spot for a photo because it shows both the tower and the Grenelle bridge, and the Grenelle bridge is interesting because there's a 1/5-size replica of the Statue of Liberty on the central island on which the bridge is anchored. So you get both the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower in one shot, which is great for confusing tourists and others who don’t know the city well.

There are actually several Statues of Liberty in Paris. One is next to this bridge, as I’ve just mentioned. It's not an exact replica of the one in NYC, but it’s similar—it was a gift to the city from a group of American expats in 1885. Another is much smaller, and in the Luxembourg Gardens, and it’s not an identical replica, either. It was a gift from the sculptor himself (Bartholdi) to the City of Paris.

And that’s not all … there’s a full-size replica of the flame of the statue in NYC alone, at the intersection on the place de l’Alma, where Princess Diana died. After she was killed, people thought the flame was a monument to her, but no, it has nothing at all to do with her. So many people left junk at the site that they put a little rope around it, although it appears that most of her groupies have grown up or forgotten her because there isn’t much junk around the flame these days.

If you’ve ever seen Roman Polanski’s film Frantic (which is a moderately interesting film), the final shootout occurs around the first of these replicas, near the bridge.

Excursion boats on the river, like the Bateaux Mouches and the Bateaux Parisiens, used to go all the way out to the statue at the Grenelle bridge on their 70-minute river cruises, but after an accident a few years ago in which several boats bumped into each other, this part of the cruises was removed. Too bad, as you could get some really nice shots from the boats. I don’t know if any other companies pass by the statue.

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