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Statue of Liberty in Paris. History. Facts.
Replica of flame of statue of liberty in Paris

The Statue of Liberty in New-York City was designed and built by French sculptor Auguste Bartholdi in Paris as a testimony of Franco-American friendship. A Statue of Liberty scale model faces west towards America on a Seine river island close to the Eiffel Tower. A full size replica of the flame stands on the river banks near the Champs-Elysées. Paris monuments.

Statue of liberty in Paris

The scale model of Statue of Liberty by French sculptor Auguste Bartholdi is standing near Eiffel Tower in Paris. Before starting the Statue of Liberty, Auguste Bartholdi built a plaster model in 1885. Gustave Eiffel build its metal frame. The cast bronze version of this plaster model was placed in 1885 at the downstream end of Ile des Cygnes on the Seine River. It was offered to France by French citizens established in the United States on the centenary of the French Revolution. Inaugurated on July 4, 1889, the statue should have been turned west facing the United States as desired by its sculptor. But in these conditions it would have been necessary to proceed to the ceremony from a boat, which the French President Sadi Carnot categorically refused. The statue was displaced in 1937. Auguste Bartholdi’s bronze work measures 11.50 meters and weighs 14 tonnes. It’s the perfect 1/4 replica of his big sister from New-York-City.

Locate Statue of Liberty on Paris map. Paris metro: station Bir-Hakeim on line 6. See Statue of Liberty on a Seine cruise.

The Statue of Liberty in Paris
The Statue of Liberty in Paris

Flame of Statue of Liberty in Paris

The Flame of Liberty is an exact replica of the Statue of Liberty's flame offered to the people of France by donors throughout the world as a symbol of the Franco-American friendship on the occasion of the centennial of the International Herald Tribune. Paris 1887–1987.

The Flame of Liberty became an unofficial memorial for Diana, Princess of Wales, after her 1997 death in the tunnel beneath the Pont de l'Alma. The flame became an attraction for tourists and followers of Diana, who fly-posted the base with commemorative material.

Locate the flame of Statue of Liberty on Paris map. Paris metro: Alma-Marceau on line 9.

The flame of liberty in Paris
The flame of liberty in Paris

Statue of Liberty history

From its height of 93 meters, the Statue of Liberty has stood in New York Bay since 1886. It symbolizes America, its democratic ideal and the reception of immigrants, but it was imagined in France during the Second Empire.

The Statue of Liberty was born in the minds of two men during the 1860s: Edouard René de Laboulaye, admirer of the United States, abolitionist and convinced republican, and his disciple Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, Alsatian sculptor fascinated by the colossi of ancient Egypt. Together and against all odds, the two Frenchmen have succeeded in imposing their project, but it will have taken more than twenty years between the dream and its realization.

The history of the Statue of Liberty began during a dinner with Edouard René de Laboulaye in Versailles in June 1865. Aged 54, Laboulaye was then a renowned professor, expert in American politics. He was also president of the association for the abolition of slavery in the world. That evening, he invited his colleagues and friends to celebrate the end of the American Civil War and the abolition of enslavement.

The Statue of Liberty in New-York City
The Statue of Liberty in New-York City

The guests decided to make a gesture towards the United States to celebrate the event but also to express their pain after the murder of Abraham Lincoln: the American president was assassinated in April, less than a week after the end of the fighting, by stage actor John Wilkes Booth, disappointed by the defeat of the southerners. Among the guests, a sculptor was present: Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi. At 30, the latter was from Colmar in Alsace and had managed to make a name for himself. Across France, mayors appealed to him when they wished to erect a statue of a local hero in the town square. But Bartholdi saw much bigger. The sculptor had returned from his trip to Egypt in 1855 and 1856 fascinated by the colossi of Antiquity. At first, however, the American project remained in abeyance and Bartholdi got his hands on another design: a monumental statue which was to camp on the south entrance of the Suez Canal, then under construction by Frenchman Ferdinand de Lesseps.

This project for a colossal statue of Suez, which was to represent an Arab peasant, ultimately did not see the light of day because Egypt could not afford to pay. In 1870, the context was no better because the war broke out: the Prussians annexed the birthplace of Bartholdi, Colmar, as well as Alsace-Moselle. Exiled in his country, the sculptor did not recognize himself in the political alternative of the time: France emerged from twenty years of authoritarian rule under Napoléon III and the fall of the Second Empire gave way to chaos. The Municipality facing the Versaillese: two models foreign to Bartholdi and Laboulaye, moderate Republicans who saw the United States as a model of freedom. After the bloody repression of the Commune in Paris, Bartholdi left France and set sail for America in early summer 1871. On the boat during the crossing, he took his sketches of the statue of Suez and the shape changed: the Arab peasant woman evolved towards a classic model of Greco-Roman woman.

When he landed in New York, he was almost done with the new sketches of what was to become the Statue of Liberty. Once there, he quickly found the ideal location: the island of Bedloe in the bay opposite Manhattan. No hesitation, that's where it will stand. But there was a problem, Bartholdi didn't speak a word of English, he didn't know anyone there and was having a hard time convincing the Americans to take an interest in his project. Once there, he still managed to meet the local society, helped by the manager of a French-language newspaper who played his network. But pain lost, Bartholdi did not persuade his interlocutors to put their hand in their pocket and the Frenchman decided to set off to discover the country. He made a journey of several months, much longer and more important than Tocqueville in the 1830s. Bartholdi crossed many states and was undoubtedly the Frenchman who knew the United States best at the time. He left America without a dollar for his project but did not give up and appealed for donations when he returned to France.

Years passed and in 1876 Bartholdi had enough money to build the hand and the torch. As a good salesman, he had the bright idea of ​​presenting them to the public in Philadelphia for the 1876 World's Fair, marking the centenary of the declaration of American independence. Of all the booths, the statue was the most popular and the most photographed, as long as one could climb inside and admire the scenery from the top of the torch. In addition to being a good salesperson, Bartholdi was an effective entrepreneur who understood the power of the media, including new illustrated magazines that were emerging. Drawings of the completed statue, as well as photos of the torch and head, made the project popular and ultimately convinced Americans to be interested in the project.

Despite everything, the statue was far behind the initial calendar. At Laboulaye's dinner in Versailles in 1865, the initial idea was to offer a gift to the United States for the centenary of the American revolution of 1776. But on the fateful date, only the hand and the torch were built. The appointment was missed.

However, the two fathers of the statue did not give up because the momentum was launched and did not stop.

The Torch of Liberty in Philadelphia
The Torch of Liberty in Philadelphia

The two men were determined because their project was not devoid of political and diplomatic ulterior motives. The origins of the Statue had a lot to do with the internal politics of France. The Second Empire was an authoritarian regime but Laboulaye and Bartholdi were liberals. At the time, it was difficult to directly criticize the government. France’s gift to the United States was an indirect way of doing this. But the gesture was also diplomatic and aimed to recall the decisive aid that France had given to the insurgents to wrest independence from the British crown. However, in 1865, the country of Victor Hugo was no longer in the odor of holiness in Washington: Napoléon III supported the southerners in the American Civil War and tried to take advantage of the conflict to colonize Mexico. In the 1860s, the United States also had many German immigrants, and the United States government naturally approached Prussia. Ultimately, the Statue of Liberty brought France and America closer. With the advent of the Third Republic in 1870, the French could finally say they were sister republics. The two countries presented similar forms of government as Germany became increasingly authoritarian and the other great power, England, was not a republic. This idea helped convince many Americans.

At the time of the Universal Exhibition in Philadelphia, the project for the statue finally became realistic. France had recovered economically and Bartholdi could appeal to the generosity of the French. It should also be noted that the Statue was a gift from the French to the Americans and not from France to America, because neither the French government nor the American government contributed to its achievement.

In the summer of 1875, Bartholdi brought together American and French personalities in his Parisian workshop and the business started: a committee was created, the Franco-American Union, chaired by Laboulaye, and a major fundraising campaign was launched, supported by the newspapers. At the end of 1875, 200,000 francs were collected, a considerable sum. At this point, the question of design arose.

With the dimensions imagined by Bartholdi, stone and bronze were unthinkable, too heavy. Bartholdi then remembered a visit he had made in northern Italy and the statue of Saint Charles Borromeo. The work, built in the 17th century out of copper, measures 23m on a 12m pedestal and was held using a masonry frame.

The Statue of Liberty rue de Chazelles in Paris
The Statue of Liberty rue de Chazelles in Paris

Bartholdi also chose copper and realized a first model of 11m50, a quarter of the final size. But to support the copper sheets, a solid skeleton capable of withstanding the winds of New York bay was needed. A time associated with the project, the architect Eugène Viollet le Duc died too soon and Gustave Eiffel took over. The latter was not yet the illustrious man who he became with his Eiffel Tower, but the engineer had already made a name for himself; he was selected to build the impressive Garabit viaduct in Cantal, built between 1880 and 1884. Eiffel chose metal: four wrought iron pylons linked by a criss-cross of beams on a stone and cement basement. Bartholdi accepted.

In 1877, the American committee in favor of the Statue was created, equivalent to the French club. A year later, the head was finished and exhibited in Paris throughout the summer: many curious people clumb the 43 steps that lead to the crown. A national lottery was launched in the process: it brought together 100,000 subscribers before the site was transferred to the Gazet Gauthier workshops at 25 avenue de Chazelles in the 17th arrondissement. The statue rose, exceeded the roof, which had to be removed, and took its almost final form above Paris.

But on May 25, 1883, Edouard de Laboulaye died before his idea was completed; Ferdinand de Lesseps succeeded him at the head of the French committee. In 1884, the Statue was fully assembled in Bartholdi's workshops at 25 rue de Chazelles in Paris. It was one of the capital's tourist attractions from July to December.

The hand of Liberty rue de Chazelles in Paris
The hand of Liberty rue de Chazelles in Paris

Things were moving forward in Paris but dragging on in New York. The trigger was given by a journalist, Joseph Pulitzer: a Hungarian immigrant who became a reporter for the New York World, he wrote a fiery article in his newspaper to support the Statue. In 1883, the Americans began to be moved and to donate to finance the pedestal, the production of which was their responsibility, but the work stopped because of insufficient money. In Paris, the Statue was a popular success: open to the public from July to December 1884 in the workshops located a stone's throw from Parc Monceau. The public massively walked up the torch.

In May 1885, the statue was dismantled and put away in more than 200 cases leaving from Rouen aboard the Isère; the ship sailing to New York. Bartholdi playded his part. The American committee, which had not finished the work on the pedestal, had no choice. The Isère arrived on Bedloe Island on June 17 and began to unload its precious cargo. Once again, Joseph Pulitzer proved to be decisive and published an article in his newspaper every day: in August, the press campaign reached its goal. 100,000 dollars had been subscribed with 120,000 donors. The pedestal wass completed: it weighed 28,000 tonnes.

The reconstruction of the Statue began and in October, the last rivet was fixed. At first reluctant, the US Congress finally agreed to finance the wharves and a platform for the inauguration with $ 50,000. The big day took place on October 26, 1886: a parade brung together a million New Yorkers, the city was decorated with blue white red, the colors of France and America. Bartholdi unveiled the face of Liberty by bringing down the huge flag that covered it: a moment greeted by the gunshots of a warship and the sirens of 300 ships. In the distance in New York, bells were ringing.

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