The Statue of Liberty in New York City is one of the most iconic statues in the world. So iconic, that there are replicas of it all around in the world! In Paris, where it was designed and built, some of the replicas are as old as the real thing, and have some very interesting stories of their own.
Designed by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, La Liberté éclairant le monde was built by the French architect Gustave Eiffel. Given to the USA as a gift from the people of France, it was shipped over the Atlantic in crates, and dedicated in New York in 1886. But, the people of France hadn’t seen the last of the Statue of Liberty’s design. In various locations around the city, there are several replicas to be found, all precise models of the real thing.
The Statue Of Liberty On The Île Aux Cygnes
The largest replica of the Statue of Liberty is located on the Île aux Cygnes, an artificial island in the middle of the Seine. Despite being only 11 metres (36 feet) wide, the island stretches out for a leisurely 890 metres (almost 3000 feet) in the centre of the Seine. At its southern point is the replica, a quarter-scale reproduction of the original.
It was inaugarated on the 4th of July, 1889, merely 3 years after the original was dedicated in New York City. The 22 metre (72 feet) high statue originally faced east towards the Eiffel Tower, but was eventually turned to face west in 1937, its gaze pointed towards New York City.
The statue has actually travelled on an overseas excursion, visiting Japan in 1998 and placed in Odaiba, Tokyo for a year before coming back home in 1999. The stunt was to celebrate Japan’s relationship with France, and the statue was so beloved in Japan, that a permanent replica was built in 2000, which still stands in Odaiba today.
Two Statues Of Liberty In The Musée des Arts et Métiers
In the city’s 3rd arrondissement is the Musée des Arts et Métiers, a museum of science, engineering and invention. Located in the historic monastery Abbaye de Saint-Martin-des-Champs, the collection contains everything from vehicles, instruments, medical and scientific devices, computers, and drawings. Even the nearby metro station Arts et Métiers has been renovated to match the theme.
It’s the perfect place to celebrate the engineering and design masterpiece of the Statue of Liberty. The first example is the original plaster model made by Bartholdi housed in the Saint Martin chapel, used as the template for the real thing. The other is a bronze replica located outside the museum, near the entrance.
Musée d’Orsay Statue Of Liberty
One of the most well-known copies is inside the Musée d’Orsay. Situated on a pedestal in the museum’s great nave, this version of the Statue of Liberty was moved in 2012 from its previous location outside in the Jardin du Luxembourg.
Bartholdi himself ordered the creation of this cast, a 1/16th replica in black. It was originally going to be displayed inside the Musée de Luxembourg, but when space couldn’t be found to exhibit it, it was placed outside in the gardens instead. After more than a century outdoors, it was finally approved to move into its new home, alongside masterpieces such as Van Gogh’s self portrait and Whistler’s Mother.
Jardin Du Luxembourg Statue Of Liberty
The newest addition to the suite of Statue of Liberty replicas is the bronze replica which occupies the space where the Bartholdi cast used to stand in the Jardin Du Luxembourg. It stands alongside a memorial oak tree, planted in the garden to honour the victims of September 11, and as a symbol of Franco-American friendship.
Flame Of Liberty At The Pont De L’Alma
While not an entire replica of the Statue of Liberty, the flame of liberty is a full-scale, gilded copper replica of the flame from Lady Liberty’s torch. The flame is located at the entrance to the tunnel at the Pont de l’Alma, installed in 1989. The 3.5 metre (11.4 feet) flame was given to France by the International Herald Tribune newspaper as a gift, to celebrate 100 years of publishing the paper in Paris, as well as a thank you token for French companies who had recently performed restoration work on the Statue of Liberty.
The flame took on a new meaning after the death of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997, whose car crashed in the tunnel below. It became an unofficial memorial for Diana, and in 2019, the site was renamed Place Diana in her honour.
Replicas of the Statue of Liberty exist all around the world. But if you’re visiting Paris, and would like to track down some interesting examples of the famous statue, they can be quite interesting to see. And luckily, they aren’t too difficult to find!