European Statue of Liberty

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The Statue of Liberty is one of the most iconic images in the world, and one that is completely synonymous with America… which is why it’s strange for many to learn that there is a second Statue of Liberty in France. In fact there are several more statues of liberty in France, and the Statue of Liberty herself in the US is actually called the ‘Liberty Enlightening the World’ or ‘La Liberté Éclairant le Monde’. The statue was given to the US as a gift from the French people and was designed by a French man named Frédéric Bartholdi – so it’s no wonder that they would have a second Statue of Liberty for themselves… or several (interestingly the statue is also of the Roman Goddess of Freedom – Libertas – so it is actually quite multicultural in origin).

In fact, what might be truly surprising for many to learn is that the second Statue of Liberty is not technically a European statue at all – but rather the American statue in New York Harbor. That’s right – the first Statue of Liberty was actually in The Luxembourg Gardens in Paris meaning that in a way the more famous New York statue is the second Statue of Liberty.

The statue in the Luxembourg Garden, or the Jardin du Luxembourg as it is known there, is a far smaller statue that was used by Bartholdi as preparatory work for the larger scale New York statue (as reads a bronze plaque on the statue). It was given to the Luxembourg museum in 1900, and later moved to the beautiful and serene park in 1906, A stroll through these gardens is a great way to spend a day in Paris and this European Statue of Liberty is one of several attractive statues to be seen there.

A second Statue of Liberty located in Paris is by Grenelle Bridge on the Aux Cygnes – an island in the Seine. This Statue of Liberty is 11.50 meters high and  and looks Southwest down the river. This statue reads two dates – ‘IV JUILLET 1776’ (the United States Declaration of Independence) and ‘XIV JUILLET 1789’ (the storming of the Bastille).

While these two statues and the ‘main’ Statue of Liberty are considered the only ‘true’ Statues of Liberty, there are many other replicas and aspects that can stake a claim to being the ‘Second Statue of Liberty’. These include the original plaster that Bartholdi used to make the New York Statue, which is now visible at the Musée des Arts et Métiers, Paris; a full sized torch called the Flame of Liberty at the entrance to the Pont de l’Alma; and others outside of France such as the 35 meter copy at the Heidepark Soltau theme park in Germany, the small replica in Visnes in Norway where the copper for the New York statue was mined, the sitting Statue of Liberty in the Ukrainian City Lviv and a 17 foot tall replica on top of the ‘Liberty Shoe Factory’ in Leicester in England.