République Statue history
As hinted in its name, the République Statue has a close connection to the forming of the French Republic. The République Statue depicts a lady in heavy clothing, holding a branch in her hand.
This lady is actually one of the major French symbols and her name is Marianne. She can be found, not only on this square, but in many different places such as on postal stamps and on the French euro coins. She represents France as a state and its values.
So why has this lady become a symbol of France and the republic? Well during the Greek and Roman era, it was common to represent ideas and abstract entities by either a god or a goddess. This became less popular during the Middle Ages, but returned again during the Renaissance.
During the French revolution in 1789, liberty was obviously on the agenda. Instead of representing liberty by a god or goddess, liberty became represented by an ordinary woman, standing up for her rights. She was often accompanied by various other French symbols, such as the Phrygian cap, a cockerel or the tricolor cockade.
Why was the symbol a female and not a man? The most obvious reason was that in French – as in many other languages – many words have a determined gender connected to them. Liberty, together with for example justice and the republic itself, is seen as a feminine word and they are all represented with female figures.
The origin of the name Marianne has long been debated and there are many suggestions as to where the name comes from. One of the most obvious ones is that since Marianne was a very common name during the time, and since she was a symbol for freedom of the common people, the name proved suiting.
Marianne’s two sides
In general, Marianne is pictured in two ways. Sometimes she can be seen fighting victoriously, often with a bare breast, wearing the Phrygian cap and some other French symbol. An example of this is in the classical painting “Liberty leading the people” in honor of the July Revolution, where she can be seen standing on a pile of bodies, hold the French flag while encouraging the people forward.
The other way Marianne is pictured is more conservative. Here she is often rather quite, wears antiquity clothes which covers her chest and often carries a wreath of wheat on her head. As visitors can see, the République statue depicts Marianne in the latter, more covered up way.
The République Statue
The République Statue itself was built after a design competition had been held. The objective of the competition was to create a new grand monument as a way to celebrate the newly created French Third Republic and to honor the former Republics.
The competition was won by two brothers, Léopold and Charles Morice. The former was responsible for the creation of the statue whereas the later created the base. The monument was inaugurated first in 1880 but with a gypsum model on top.
Later, in 1883, the République Statue was inaugurated another time and this time it had the final bronze version on top, the very same that still stands today.
Why visit République Statue ?
The République statue is a beautiful place to visit. Visiting France but not getting a glimpse of Marianne is no France visit at all! Marianne can also be found on the official French government logo. The logo also features the French motto; “Liberté-Égalité-Fraternité” meaning ”Liberty-Equity-Brotherhood”.
Visitors to the statue can find these words written in the stone at the pillar of the monument. At the very base of the République Statue, one can also see reliefs showing pictures of different historic scenes from the creation of the republic. These were added as a way to honor the ones who fought and died for the republic.
République Statue location
The République Statue is located in the center of Place de la République in central Paris. It is easy to access by foot or by taking the metro.
Place de la République is a major metro station, so taking either line 3,5,8,9 or 11 will take you too the statue. For the exact location of the République Statue, check out the location map to the right.