In all my years in Paris, I'd noticed this very impressive statue on the Pont de la Tournelle many times but never knew what it was all about. After taking these two pictures a while back, I finally just now remembered to look it up, and I learned that this is a statue of Sainte Geneviève, the patron saint of Paris. The statue was constructed in the 20th century, and when you get a good look you can see how relatively new and clean it is, but despite the fact that it's visibly a recent work I've always thought it had very somber, heavy, almost ancient look about it. Now I realize this may be owing at least partly to the fact that it's a monument to a 6th-century saint. I've always really liked this statue and I'm glad to have finally found out what the heck it is.
I took these pictures from the Pont de Sully, facing west toward the Pont de la Tournelle. Pont de la Tournelle connects l'Île Saint-Louis with the left bank. And that's (obviously!) Notre Dame in the background there.
I wish I had a better camera that could really zoom in close! You can click the photo at right to see a somewhat zoomed-in view of the statue.
Incidentally, the statue was made by Paul Maximilien Landowski, a Polish-French monument sculptor whose best-known work is that big ol' Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro.
If you're interested, Sainte Geneviève's tomb is in a church called Saint-Étienne-du-Mont, in the 5th arrondissement of Paris, near the Panthéon.
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