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The Best Public Sculptures to See in Paris

The Best Public Sculptures to See in Paris

Picture of Sonia Cuesta de Andrés
Updated: 15 February 2017

It is an understatement to call Paris an artistic city, full as it is of beautiful churches, towers and museums that are famous around the world. Its public statues, however, are not as well known, but they show a depth and richness that is inspiring even for such a cultural city. Here we discover some of the most stunning statues in Paris that are well worth seeing.

Le Baiser (1889)

The Jardin des Tuileries is not only one of the best parks in Paris, it is also a free outdoor museum where visitors can delight in beautiful sculptures by famed artist Auguste Rodin. The park is located in the 1st arrondissement, uniting the Louvre and the Place de la Concorde. Rodin’s marvellous works of art are scattered around the garden, including his monumentally beloved sculpture Le Baiser (‘The Kiss’) (1889) – an astonishingly intimate and sensual depiction of romance. Other notable sculptures include Jules Ramey’s Theseus and the Minotaur (1821) and Aristide Maillol’s Les Trois Grâces (1938). Most of the originals have now been moved to the Louvre to ensure protection from the weather, but the copies are just as stunning.

Le Penseur (1882)

Situated close to the Musée Rodin, the beautiful metro station of Varenne also houses some replicas of Rodin’s most famous works. The sculpture demonstrates how loved this artist is in the French capital and how important his art still is, as a crucial part of French culture and art history. At Varenne, commuters can take in the intriguing Le Penseur (1882) (‘The Thinker’) as they themselves ponder about the many things modern life entails.

La Naissance des formes (2012)

La Naissance des formes is one of the newest additions to Paris’ public sculpture collection, having been inaugurated in July 2012, in the 14th arrondissement. The abstract sculpture was made by Ossip Zadkine, a great French sculptor of the 20th century. His work is unusual and captivating, and this mixture of forms and shapes is a striking addition to the neighbourhood. The Musée Zadkine is also located nearby, in what was actually the artist’s house and workshop.

Quatre Parties du Monde (1874)

The sculpture that gracefully tops this fountain is one of the most admirable works of arts in Paris. Visitors will be awestruck by its astonishing monumental beauty, which is enriched by the water around it. It is located in the Jardin Marco Polo in the 6th arrondissement and is the work of a collaboration between Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, Pierre Legrain and Emmanuel Frémier in 1874. The top represents the four continents (North and South America count as one and unfortunately Australia has been forgotten…) but the horses around it add a delicate touch to the harmony of the fountain.

Oiseau Lunaire (1966)

Joan Miró is the famous sculptor behind this intriguing statue, whose name means ‘moonbird’, located in the 15th arrondissement. Oiseau Lunaire (1966) is aesthetically simpler than most of the other ones on this list yet complex on a different level. It is located in the Square Blomet, a small park that was built close to Miró’s house and which he frequented, eventually donating the statue as an homage to all the happy times that he spent there.

Sainte Genevieve (1928)

The beautiful Sainte Genevieve (1928) is located in the 5th arrondissement, close to the Pont de la Tournelle. It is one of Paul Landowski’s most famous works, and also considered one of his best, not only due to its beauty and tranquil nature, but also because the symbolic meaning of this work of art makes it especially precious to all Parisians. The statue represents Genevieve, who is the patron saint of Paris; the sculpture depicts her protecting Paris, the baby child.