The République’s monument, a symbol of Paris’ popular expression

It’s been a while I wanted to write about Paris’ République’s monument. I suppose today is a good day to do so.

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The monument photographed in Spring 2015

Situated at the centre of huge République Square, the monument was erected in 1883 to celebrate the newly established Third Republic, a major propaganda piece of work full of romantic allegories and symbols of the French République:

  • the allegories statues of the Liberté, Egalité, and Fraternité are sitting on the base
  • on the top, a massive 9.5 m high statue of Marianne, the symbol of the regime
  • at the bottom, relief-panels display historic scenes of the French Revolution, such as for example the Storming of the Bastille
  • and a great lion next to a ballot box symbolises the strength of the universal suffrage (although it is not until 1944 that French women were granted the right to vote as well)

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Very popular and busy artery of the Paris city centre, the République Square is often the theatre of demonstrations of all kinds.

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At the beginning of 2015, after France and the rest of the world were shocked by the savage murders of the infamous cartoonists, 1.5 million people gathered here for a pacific republican march attended by 40 world leaders. At the occasion, the République’s monument was covered with graffiti expressing sorrow and solidarity.

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France Inter‘s map of the 13 November attacks shows how the Place de la République is at the heart of the locations chosen by the murderers.

 

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