It’s good to have friends. Blogging has given me many. One of them is of course Virginia from Birmingham, Alabama. She has also been kind enough to recommend a number of her friends, even non-bloggers, to meet me when they visit Paris. One of them is Jeanne, who is teaching French in Birmingham and speaks – and writes - better French and knows more about French history, geography, culture… than most Frenchmen. Since we met last year, she often gives me ideas and comments about my blogging. She realized that I was tired by my long-lasting flu and I actually told her that I had nothing in reserve and no force to go out preparing for new posts.
So, Jeanne came up with an idea. The other day, she referred to a post I made in 2012 (see here) about a building, neighbour to the Orsay Museum, which originally was built for a Prince Salm-Kyrburg, referred to as the Hôtel de Salm, and later transformed into the Palace of the Legion of Honour.
Jeanne pointed out that I could have mentioned that this building obviously had been some kind of model for Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello home, a reason why you can find his statue more or less in front of the building and looking toward it. Well, I actually knew about it, but when I made my post in 2012 it was rather about an exhibition of Napoleon’s “Berlin” and I thought then that it was a bit “too much” to tell that story as well.
So Jeanne suggested that it was now time to talk about Thomas Jefferson and she had the photos of his statue, which I could use, so I didn’t have to go out in the cold with my flu. Well, actually, I had some photos, so the one you see on the top was taken in July 2012, heavily zoomed as you may notice - the Sacré Coeur seems to be quite close.
Here are the photos I took of Hôtel de Salm in 2012…
… and here you can see Jeanne’s photo of the statue. I have enlarged the drawing Jefferson is holding, where you can imagine some kind of draft for the Monticello building, his home in Virginia.
Thomas Jefferson spent the years 1784-1789 in Paris, succeeding Benjamin Franklin as “Minister to France”. The Hôtel de Salm was finished in 1787. Jefferson left Paris just a few weeks after the beginning of the French Revolution of which he was a supporter – except for its more violent aspects.
His statue, which has been there only since 2006, is made by a French sculptor, Jean Cardot, who also made e.g. the statues of Charles de Gaulle, close to the “Grand Palais”, and of Winston Churchill, close to the “Petit Palais”.