"Place Denferet-Rochereau: The Lion of Belfort" Paris Off The Beaten Path Tip by hquittner
Paris Off The Beaten Path: 1,968 reviews and 4,171 photos
We were driving to Chartres and beyond and our route took us past the Place whrere we saw the Lion, We recognized an old friend and had to stop. We had seen the original while driving from Colmar to Troyes as we passed Belfort. On the rock face below the citadel we saw this immense carving (it is 22x 11m !). We stopped to look and in our books found that it was to commemorate the only French military"victory" in the Franco-Prussian War at that spot. The leader of the defense at Belfort was Col. Denferet-Rochereau, the sculptor was Frederic-Alphonse Bartholdi (1834-1904) known to us as the sculptor of the Statue of Liberty in New York harbor. We already knew of the smaller copy of that one that is on the Allee des Cygnes in the Seine. So here he did it two again but 15 years earlier. Bronze workers often do this; Rodin made a living at it. Awareness of the Lion must have motivated Gutzon Borglum to do the carvings of U.S. Presidents into the face of Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota. There are other reasons to come to the Place. There is the entrance to the Catacombs , but we have seen so many of these elsewhere (but if you never have, it may be worth a visit; look at the VT Tips). But we missed something else that is here and may someday come back, It is the 2 toll-houses flanking the Av. General-Leclerc, one of which is the entrance to the catacombs (the Barriere d'Enfer) (1784).
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