Recently, CHM mentioned the imposing monument and statue that honored the memory of the 19th century political leader and statesman Léon Gambetta and that used to stand in the Cour Napoléon at the Louvre, which has been the site of I.M. Pei's glass pyramid since 1988. Here's what it looked like a century or more ago in images on old postcards that I found on the internet.
If I understand correctly, at the beginning of World War II the top piece of the monument was removed and melted down by the wartime Vichy government because the bronze was need for the French war effort. Then in 1954 the stone statue of Gambetta was taken down and put into storage at the Louvre.
That statue now adorns the square Edouard-Vaillant facing la mairie du 20th arrondissement, near Père Lachaise cemetery. It was put there in 1982. Gambetta was a major figure in the third French republic from 1870 until his death in 1882. There are many monuments to his memory all around France, including his tomb in Nice. In 1920 his heart was placed in an urn and transferred to the Panthéon in Paris on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the third republic.
Thanks to Google Maps for this image.
There are few towns without a Place Gambetta and LeClerc features well for a Supermarket chain!ReplyDelete
Saint-Aignan has an avenue Gambetta, but no Leclerc supermarket.... The closest Hypermarchés E. Leclerc are 30 to 40 minutes from us by car.Delete
And even if a town doesn't have a Place Gambetta, there's a good chance it will have a Rue Gambetta or Avenue Gambetta.Delete
On the first photo, you can see part of this little park that was replaced by a lovely parking lot. You can't stop progress!ReplyDelete
On the third photo, Gambetta's left arm and the head of the soldier are missing, as well as the right arm of the other soldier on the left. Lousy job. If they wanted to preserve the Gambetta monument they could have been more careful.ReplyDelete
Thanks so much to you, Ken, and chm, for leading us down the path of info on all of this. Until now, Gambetta was just a Paris Métro stop for me. It's always interesting to me to stumble upon the background of a Métro stop name that I have seen many, many times, without ever having a clue what it was in reference to.ReplyDelete
We were commenting at the same time with the same thought!Delete
I always get off the metro at the Gambetta stop when I go to Pere la Chaise Cemetery and was curious about the name so I googled him. Thanks for the information on the history of his monument.ReplyDelete
There is the Place Gambetta in Carcassonne, a lovely park and the site of that city's war monument. Thanks for the information on him. It's nice to be able to put it in context.ReplyDelete
This exercise has been putting him in context for me too. Until now, his was a name I knew but I knew little about the history. Gambetta was born in Cahors, not that far from Carcassonne. And it was Gambetta who, in Paris, proclaimed that France's new government, after the defeat by the Prussians in 1870, would be the Third Republic. He made the proclamation on 4 septembre. The rue du 4 septembre in Paris runs from near the Opéra Garnier east toward the Bourse (stock exchange). I lived very close to there from 1979 to 1982 and never really focused on the significance of that street name.Delete