Monument to Charles de Gaulle on J. Clemenceau Square has become one of the symbols of France revived after the Second World War.
Monument to Charles de Gaulle. History of creation
In 1998, at the congress of the Free French Association in Colombie-de-la-Eglise, it was decided to erect a monument to General Charles de Gaulle, which became a symbol of the national liberation movement during the Second World War and the restoration of the country’s economy in the post-war period.
Admiral Philippe de Gaulle gave his consent to perpetuate the memory of his father, although until that time, members of the family of Charles de Gaulle, referring to his wish, categorically objected to the monument to the president. Their position changed only after the first monument in honor of the leader of the liberation was opened outside of France in London.
Under the terms of the competition jury, its participants had to try to convey his character, will and decisiveness of actions on the way to the goal. 20 sculptors and art studios participated in the creative competition. The sculptors were given only 4 months to work on the competitive models.
According to its results, on September 7, 1999, Jean Cardo was named the winner, having surpassed the proposal of William Shattaway in the final. The overwhelming majority of the jury members voted for the work of J. Cardo – only 1 person out of 9 supported the project of W. Shattaway.
The place for the installation of the monument on the Place J. Clemenceau was not chosen by chance. Every year on November 11, a solemn ceremony was held here on the occasion of the achievement of a truce in the First World War, in which the head of state certainly participated. All necessary funds for the construction of the monument were collected as voluntary donations by subscription.
The monument to the hero of the Second World War and the first president of the Fifth Republic, Charles de Gaulle, was opened on the day of the 30th anniversary of his death on November 9, 2000. The solemn ceremony was held in the presence of President of the French Republic Jacques Chirac, Chancellor of the Order of the Liberation Jean Simon and Mayor of Paris Jean Tiberi.
On a two-meter pedestal, a sculpture of a general 4 meters high is installed. The bronze statue was cast in the workshop of the well-known foundry worker Cubertin in France. The sculptor Jean Cardo depicted Charles de Gaulle at a solemn moment in history – during the 1944 parade.
Purposefulness and confidence of an outstanding political figure is conveyed by a chased step. Typing a step, he passes by the invisible formation of the heroes of the French Resistance. His gaze is focused and attentive, and his gestures are precise and energetic. The author of the statue managed to convey the natural facial expressions, the dynamics of movement and the atmosphere of the historical moment.
Twice a year, at the base of the Charles de Gaulle monument, the Free France Foundation holds wreath-laying ceremonies for the country’s first post-war president. These days are associated with the founding date of the Fighting France movement on June 18, 1940, and the day of Charles de Gaulle’s death on November 9, 1970. Memorable events are always celebrated with military honors with a large confluence of Parisians and tourists.