Saturday, May 3, 2008

Place de l'Alma & Princess Diana

The Flame of Liberty (Flamme de la Liberté) at Place de l’Alma in Paris is a full size replica of the flame held by Lady Liberty (New York’s Statue of Liberty). This gold leafed monument was erected in 1987 while the New York statue was undergoing restoration. The flame was given to the city of Paris by the International Herald Tribune newspaper to celebrate its 100 years of publishing. As you are aware, the Statue of Liberty was a gift from France to the U.S., and its creator was the Parisian sculptor Frédéric Bartholdi. Today the flame has become an unofficial shrine to Diana, Princess of Wales, whose car crashed in the underpass beneath the monument in 1997. It is a common misconception that this monument was built in her honor, but it predates her death by 10 years. Nevertheless, visitors from around the world come here to lay flowers and messages in honor of the much loved and remembered Princess. Access from Metro: Alma-Marceau, line 9, where Ave. George V meets the Seine.
Note: The square and bridge take their name from the Battle of Alma during the Crimean War, in which the French-British alliance was victorious over the Russians in 1854.

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