January 23, 2008

Place de la République

Before continuing on the boulevards, I propose a stop at Place de la République (for the plan of Paris, see preceding posts.).

This place was basically created during the second half of the 19th century. The present large buildings you can find on one side of the place replaced some theatres including the then famous “Diaporama”, where Daguerre – one of the photography inventors – presented his shows. One of the buildings was originally a big department store (Magasins Réunis) and is now occupied by a hotel and some shops. In the other large building you find the quarters of part of the Garde Républicaine (the French equivalent to the British Horse Guards).

On the opposite side of the place you can find a modest version of a pedestrian passageway, Passage Vendôme, one of many that were created around 1820-30, the forerunners to our present shopping centres.
The place is of course mostly known for the monument, “La République”, which was inaugurated - before it was quite ready - for the first official celebration of the 14th of July as a national holiday in 1880. A new inauguration took place when it was completed in 1883. It was created by two brothers Morice.

On the top, you have “Marianne”, one of the symbols of the Republic. Why Marianne? It seems to have been a popular name at the time of the Revolution among the working classes…. Why a woman? Because the Republic is feminine in French (La République) and women were perhaps also supposed to be less concerned about power and more about people’s well being…. Why the Phrygian bonnet? It was worn already by former slaves during the Roman Empire as a symbol for their citizenship….The monument is rich in decorations: You have also three sculptures representing “Liberté, égalite, fraternité”. Although “Liberty, Equality, Brotherhood (– or Death)” was an essential message already during the 1789 Revolution, it became an official motto only a few decades later. Once again these are feminine words in French and represented by women.
There is also a reference to the “Suffrage Universel”, the right for everybody to vote, established by France, as the first state in the world, in 1848. Of course, it was then limited to men only – French women had to wait until 1945!!

A last remarkable thing with the monument are 12 bronze reliefs around the base. They are made by A-J Dalou (who competed for the whole monument but instead made the monument for Place de la Nation). The reliefs tell the story of the establishment of the Republic (of course only the bright side of it). I thought that to show these reliefs in detail would be a good opportunity for me – and some of you – to memorize the major Revolutionary events. I made a separate post here below showing these reliefs with a few explaining words. I leave you the choice to look at this post as a supplement, if you have the courage.

Tomorrow we will continue with some more boulevards.

Some of the above pictures can be found on my photo blog.


Kate said...

It seems inconceivable to me that French women couldn't vote until 1945. How soon we forget history and some of the more astonishing facts.

isa said...

Thanks for that informative post. I often wondered about the genesis of Marianne.

But not allowing women to vote until 1945 belies the “Liberté, égalite, fraternité”, doesn't it ;-)

Olivier said...

quand j'étais jeune (et punk dans l'âme), sur le cote de la place de la république j'allais écouter des concerts a la boite de nuit le Gibus (Maintenant cela a bien changé , cela n'a plus aucun rapport avec la musique alternative punk).
La statue est vraiment magnifique.

alice said...

Bastille-République: que de symboles pour notre pays le long de ce trajet, que de revendications et de manifestations, de cris et de poings levés, que de ferveur et d'affrontements et que d'embouteillages!

lyliane six said...

un petit coucou en vitesse, mais ma leçon d'histoire j'y reviendrai après mon cours de gym.

Cergie said...

I beg your pardon, dear Peter, what I find the most interesting about that la place de la République is the fact that it is close of "Chez Jenny" where on peut manger de superbes choucroutes !
YUMMY ! Un bon endroit de rencontre pour des bloggueurs too.
A un moment, il me semble qu'il y avait des tentes de SDF sous les arbres, qu'en est-il now ?

Peter said...

You are so right!

Yes, the woman honored, but not allowed to vote! Shame!

Bonjour, cher punk!

Peter said...

Tu as bien raison! Les manifestations continuent périodiquement, les emboutillages tout le temps!

Bon gym!

You can voir une photo de Chez Jenny on the preceding post... I consider que ce resto se trouve sur (la fin de) Bd du Temple.

Peter said...

I can see that hpy has had the courage to look at the below post!

Cergie said...

Of course, However I ever go there from the place de la République. I must notice that you did not answer my only question...

Cergie said...

Hpy had the courage to look at your bottom ?

Peter said...

Sorry... The tents are not there any more!

Peter said...

Another question!! No answer to this one! I will leave you doubting!

Anonymous said...

I am happy the ladies can vote. I wonder if they can vote one of their own into office.

hpy said...

Toujours là, dame Jenny? J'y ai choucrouté une fois en compagnie d'une amie belge.

Chuckeroon said...

I'm with Cergie and the restaurant. I could not comment on the bottom point.

...so much to enjoy about Paris....there, you forced me to say it ;-)

claude said...

Beau reportage Peter ! C'est tout à ton honneur de faire découvrir Paris et ce qui s'y rapporte à un tas de gens, de France et de l'Etranger.

SusuPetal said...

Finland was the first land in Europe to let women vote, this was in 1906, the third country in the world to do so (New Zealand and Australia were the two first).
Liechtenstein was the last country in Europe to permit women's voting: 1984!!!!

Peter said...

Of course and fortunately! Remeber that we had a woman as a presidential candidate last year.

Toujours là.

Happy that you admit it. ... and Napoleon was not mentioned this time!

Peter said...

... et à moi-même en passant!

Bravo Suomi!

Anonymous said...

I'm also surprised we beat France on the woman's vote.

And how strange that fraternite is feminine.

Nathalie H.D. said...

I tried to leave a comment this morning but it disappeared.

Just read at Abe's in Brookville that Saturday is the day you wash - will make sure I only meet you on Sundays from now on LOL

Thanks for this great post, I had no idea the place de la république actually bore an allegoric statue of La République. That shows how little I know about some arrondissements of Paris !

Peter said...

Yes, brotherhood is feminine in French!

I had also problems with the blogger tool this morning.
Whenever I know that I will meet you, I promise to have a shower first!

Noushy Syah said...

Ohhh..initially French women were not allowed to vote? Surprised really.

I just love blogging even more..!

Lots of (incidental) knowledge we learnt during blogging..

di.di said...

too many monument... cant really tell though picture which one is which

krystyna said...

Thank you Peter very much!

Ming the Merciless said...

My first adult trip to Paris was in 1986 when I went backpacking during my summer break from graduate school. I stayed at the youth hostel a couple of blocks from the Republique metro station.

I have wonderful memories of my trip there.

nasca hotels said...

Its nice to read this article to know that women was given the right to vote what they think is right.

puno hotels said...

Great post. It was really interesting for the people who wants to visit the place. You can depict the rich culture of the French.

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