United States of...

A closer look at my new environment (well, actually already one year has passed since I moved) made me think about all the references to the United States of America located around me -  names of streets and squares, copy of the Liberty Flame, the American Cathedral, statues…

The “Place des Etats-Unis” (where the park part of the square actually is named after Thomas Jefferson) offers a number of statues, including this one by the Statue-of-Liberty creator, Frédéric Bartholdi (1834-1904), which represents George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette (statue copied in Morningside Park in N.Y.C.). Referring to Bartholdi, it could be mentioned that a model of the future Statue-of-Liberty was placed at this square for a short period, as a fund-raising tool to support the creation and financing of the “real one” (see previous posts about the Liberty-statue e.g. here and here).

The other statues here include a Memorial to the American Volunteers, WW I, a bust of an American dentist, Horace Wells (1815-48), a pioneer in the use of anesthesia, and also a bust of Myron T. Herrick (1854-1929), who was the US ambassador twice (1912-14 and 1921-29).
Talking about the US Embassy… it was actually to be found here for a short period, 1881 - 1913, first at no. 3 and later at no. 16. Between 1913 and 1933 you could then find the Embassy in the same area, rue de Chaillot. (Now, it’s of course close to the Place de la Concorde.) Also talking about the  American Embassy … The "Place des Etats-Unis" was previously named "Place de Bitche"… Bitche is actually the name of a French city, but for obvious reasons the name had to be changed.

There are some remarkable buildings around the square, some embassies… previous occupants include the Egyptian King Fuad I, the daughter of Czar Alexander II, Ida Rubinstein, the Viscountess Marie-Laure de Noailles (great sponsor of artists), Woodrow Wilson, Akram Ojjeh… I think it’s better not to know (or tell) who are some of today’s occupants.

One of the buildings is now occupied by Baccarat, the fine crystal maker. There is a museum, a showroom, a restaurant…

Close to the Place des Etats-Unis we find a much more modest square, named after Count de Rochambeau (1725-1807), who was a major actor during the American Revolution, commander-in-chief of the French Expeditionary Force which helped to fight against the British forces. His statue, by Fernand Hamar (1869-1943) has been copied in Newport (Rhode Island) and in the Lafayette Park in Washington D.C..

Washington… yes George of course, is also to be found in the centre of Place d’Iéna – see also top picture. The sculptor is Daniel Chester French (1850-1931), maybe especially known for the Abraham Lincoln statue at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C.. (Normally, the French flag should not be there.)

Well, the other American references in this little area are the American Cathedral, on which I wrote here, and the copy of the Flame of Liberty, a gift in 1989 by the American people after a collect organised by International Herald Tribune, see a post here


Maria Russell said...

Great post and great neighborhood, Peter! Thank you!

A letter of General Lafayette to General Washington:

Elected to the Estates-General in 1789, Lafayette soon acquired prominence as the commander of the Paris National Guard when the Bastille fell on July 14, 1789.
After ordering the destruction of the Bastille, Lafayette wrote to Washington: "Give me leave, my dear General, to present you with a picture of the Bastille just as it looked a few days after I had ordered its demolition, with the main key of that fortress of despotism. It is a tribute which I owe as a son to my adoptive father, as an aide de camp to my General, as a missionary of liberty to its patriarch."

Picture of the Batille's main key:


General Washington and his dogs:


Jeanie said...

This is a great post. I hope the people of France don't hate us all so much now that they destroy some of these beautiful statues!

claude said...

Très beau Post Peter ! Sans l'entente cordiale antre l'Amérique et la France date de l'aide de Lafayette, puis les Américains nous l'ont bien rendue. Je me pose la question de savoir si de l'autre côté de l'Océan, la France est aussi bien représentée. Bon je sais il y a Lafayetteville et Parisville.

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Hello Peter.. How can it be one year since you moved? Wow that is amazing.. Hope all is well with you. I have moved from Oxfordshire. Now way up North.. Take care and keep up your fab blog writing and photos x