Appropriately enough, there’s a huge replica that stands almost 40 feet tall in Colmar, Bartholdi’s home town. She’s also on a rather unglamorous traffic circle on the edge of the city. I passed her on my way out of town on a day tour. The replica was installed on the 4th of July, 2004, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the death of the lady’s creator. (How apropos that such an admirer of the United States was born on Independence Day.) And, of course, there’s a whole series of models that Bartholdi used when designing her in the Bartholdi museum in Colmar.
The one in Bordeaux has a rather colorful history. This one is slightly smaller than the copy in the Jardin du Luxembourg, at just over 8 feet. It was destroyed by the Nazi’s during the occupation of France. It was replaced with a copy in 2000 and a plaque was added to honor the victims of September 11. A couple of years later, vandals poured red paint and gasoline over the lady and set her on fire as well as destroying the plaque. They were never caught.
If those aren’t enough statutes for you, go to la place de la Liberté in Poitiers. Where there used to be a guillotine in the square during the French Revolution, there is now one of the smaller-sized statues officially produced by Bartholdi, installed in 1903, in honor of a general. Her torch is rather different, but there’s no mistaking her family resemblance.
A small terracotta version of the statue is in the musée des beaux-arts de Lyon in the east of France. Bartholdi also sculpted a major fountain in the town’s principal square, so the city has a particular affection for the sculptor and his works.
The tiny town of Châteauneuf-la-Forêt, near Limoges in the south-western quadrant of the country has a small replica of the statue atop the memorial to those who died in the First World War.
Cambrin, in the north of France, has less than 1,000 residents, and of them is a reduced-size replica of the Statue of Liberty. She’s about 10 feet tall and also serves as a war memorial to 26 members of this tiny town who died in the war that didn’t end all wars.
There are so many other Bartholdi reproductions in France, I’m going to have to spread their stories out over at least another day.
Frenchman Cyrille Guimard said, “La responsabilité est le prix de la liberté” (lah res-pon-sa-bill-ee-tay eh luh pree duh lah leeb-air-tay), which means “Responsibility is the price of liberty.” The fact that so many of these other statues are war memorials certainly makes that connection clear. Liberty does indeed come at a price.
- 10 Things You Didn’t Know About the Statue of Liberty (mentalfloss.com)
- Statue of Liberty Becomes a Gift Once Again! (familyscroll.wordpress.com)
- Rare photos of the Statue of Liberty under construction in 1883 (askmarion.wordpress.com)
- La Liberté Éclairant le Monde (onequalitythefinest.com)