Discovery of the Week: Réplique de la Statue de la Liberté

I was in Paris over a year ago, on a day that felt incredibly cold at the time but which was actually pretty balmy compared to the temperatures experienced in Prague and Berlin over the next two weeks.

Aside from wanting to skite, why am I telling you this? Because I took a picture while on a boating tour of the Seine. Here it is:

The Eiffel Tower and the... Statue of Liberty?
The Eiffel Tower and the… Statue of Liberty?

There are much better photos of the same thing available on the internet, probably taken by people who didn’t think that their cellphone camera would be adequate for a two-month stint in Europe, touring some of the most beautiful cities on the planet.

(The best moment was when the phone battery couldn’t cope with the temperatures at Stonehenge and died on me when I tried to take photos, only to recover a few hours later. The second best moment was when I realized I couldn’t take photos in Berlin because the touch screen doesn’t work if you’re wearing gloves. It was -8 °C (18 °F) so my gloves were staying on, thank you very much).

Anyway, digging through my Europe photos recently I found this and wondered… what is it? Why is it there?

Long story short, the Statue of Liberty (the one in New York) was a gift from France to the USA to celebrate their independence from the British. It was designed by Frédéric Bartholdi and built in Paris with the help of Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel – the man later responsible for building the Eiffel Tower. It was then shipped to New York and unveiled in 1886.

There are several replicas of the Statue of Liberty in Paris. The one in the photo is a cast bronze version of a plaster model done by Bartholdi during his design of the big version. It’s 11.5 metres tall (compared to the 46.5 metre tall one in New York) and was placed on the Île aux Cygnes (Isle of Swans) in 1889.

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