Bordeaux Statue of Liberty – Bordeaux, France - Atlas Obscura

Bordeaux Statue of Liberty

Lady Liberty's original designer installed a little clone in this French fountain. 


Bordeaux’s replica of the Statue of Liberty has been melted down by Nazis, defaced by vandals and been the subject of protests.

The bigger and more famous version of the Statue of Liberty in New York City was designed by French sculptor Frédéric-Auguste Barthodi, and was given to the U.S. by France as a memorial to their independence. In 1888 Bartholdi was later commissioned to build a giant fountain in Place Picard in Bordeaux, and topped it off with his already-famous Lady Liberty.

Nazi occupation during World War II brought Place Picard its first woes surrounding the statue, when it was removed and melted down for re-use. There is a legend, however, that some clever French railway-workers managed to re-route and save the statue, and that it is the statue that now stands in Soulac-sure-Mer, a small town 60 miles north of Bordeaux.

Decades after its disappearance at the hands of the Nazis, the people of Bordeaux erected a new Statue of Liberty in its place in 2000, and after the September 11th attacks in 2001, they dedicated the statue to the memory of the victims.

A strong symbol of America and its culture, the statue has been a victim itself of anti-American protesters, who in 2003 lit it on fire and dumped paint on its head. Years later it was also the subject of more peaceful protests, and was defaced by a local artist known only as “Sebastien.”

In 2012 the statue was removed during renovations to the square, and returned refurbished. So far the statue has remained intact and unharmed, but with its run of bad luck, the future is murky.

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