Thomas Jefferson Monuments in Paris
There are monuments in Paris dedicated to Thomas Jefferson, who was an American minister to France and founded the American Declaration of Independence, and these include a square, plaque and a statue inaugurated on American Independence Day in 2006.
A bit about Thomas Jefferson
Many people will recognise the name Thomas Jefferson as he was the principal author of the American Declaration of Independence back in 1776, then for the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom in 1777.
He also spent almost five years in France within the city of Paris as the United States Minister to France that enabled the two countries to build a bond and good relationship, which was before he then became the third President of the United States of America in 1801.
Thomas Jefferson was an influential founding father of democracy, and he also founded the University of Virginia back in 1819, and of course to this day, he is still remembered each year on the 4th July, which of course is classed as American Independence Day.
A Plaque to Thomas Jefferson in Paris
Thomas Jefferson resided in Paris between the years of 1785 and 1789 and one of the places he lived at was on the corner of Rue de Berri and the famous Avenue des Champs Elysees, at a place called the Hotel de Langeac. It was here that he had his private residence and the American Embassy, which is where he even discussed business with Gilbert du Motier, the Marquis de Lafayette.
Even though the original mansion house was demolished in the 1840s, today, you can discover a memorial plaque on the wall of another building that is in the exact same location as the Hotel de Langeac once stood.
The plaque is positioned on the side of the building situated on the corner of Rue de Berri and at number 92 Avenue des Champs Elysees and was placed there in 1919 in a ceremony by the University of Virginia on the 100th Anniversary of when Thomas Jefferson founded the university.
The plaque reads En Ce Lieu Resida Thomas Jefferson, Ministre des Etats-Unis en France 1785 - 1789. President des Etat-Unis 1801 - 1809, Auteur de la Declaration de l’Independence, Americaine Fondateur de l’Universite de Virginie. Cette Plaque a ete Apposee le 13 Avril 1919 Par Les Soins des Anciens Eleves de l’Universite de Virginie Soldats de la Guerre Mondiale. En Commemoration du Centenaire Anniversaire de la Fondation de l’Universite.
This generally translates to: On this location resided Thomas Jefferson, Minister of the Unites States in France 1785 - 1789. President of the United States 1801 - 1809, Author of the Declaration of Independence. Founder of the University of Virginia. This Plaque was created 13th April 1919 under the former students of the University of Virginia Soldiers of the World War. In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the university.
This square in Paris is appropriately located within the Place des Etats-Unis and it is here you can discover a monument produced by Frederic Bartholdi that would be an emblem for the relations between France and America.
We mentioned earlier that he had his embassy combined with his residence where he conducted business, and this monument in Paris depicts General Thomas Washington and Gilbert du Motier, the Marquis de Lafayette in military uniforms shaking hands.
Yet the American park in Paris of the Place des Etats-Unis also has other monuments relating to France and America and is laid out similar to the Battery Park in New York.
The Thomas Jefferson Statue in Paris
While Thomas Jefferson was residing in Paris he often used to walk along the River Seine and one of the buildings he truly admired that was being constructed whilst he was in Paris was called the Hotel de Salm, which is now home to the Musee National de la Legion d’Honneur.
When returning to his home just outside of Charlottesville in Virginia, America after being in Paris, Thomas Jefferson had the original roof of his Monticello home removed and a dome installed, just like that of the Hotel Salm, and this is of course what you see on the flip side of a Nickel coin.
In addition to this, it seems that the grounds and the columns of the university he founded were also from his experiences in Paris and these grounds have now been classified as a World Heritage site.
But, getting back to this particular monument in Paris, it was after almost ten years of effort between the University of Virginia, the Thomas Jefferson Foundation and Guy Wildenstein who is an art dealer that has French blood but was born in America, for this statue to have approval.
So with this, the Thomas Jefferson statue was created by the renowned French sculptor Jean Cardot who has produced other life like public statues such as one of Winston Churchill, and standing on a base that is approximately 1.2 metres high, the statue itself is around 3 metres high.
Thomas Jefferson has been sculpted with one hand holding a quill, and in the other there is paper depicting original drawings showing what the Monticello building would have looked like, and this monument shows him looking to the Hotel de Salm that he admired so much.
This particular statue was inaugurated on Independence Day on 4th July 2006 in the presence of the United States Ambassador and the Mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoe and was donated to the city of Paris by the Florence Gould Foundation, which is dedicated to French and American cultural exchange, and Guy Windenstein.
This Thomas Jefferson Statue in Paris is located within the 7th Arrondissement on the opposite bank of the Tuileries Gardens, by the Musee d’Orsay and looking towards the Musee National de la Legion d’Honneur at the Hotel de Salm which is also a former palace.
The statue is also next to the Pont Solferino, which is a relatively new foot bridge over the River Seine that was renamed the Passarelle Leopold Sedar Senghor in 2006 to honour the African poet, politician and cultural theoris, which happened on the centenary of his birth.
So, as you can tell, there are different places in Paris that are dedicated to the memory of Thomas Jefferson.