If you know Paris, at least a little bit, you know the statue of the Lion of Belfort on Place Denfert-Rochereau.
But do you know its story?
Briefly, this statue is a smaller reproduction of the original Lion of Belfort (located in the city of Belfort, duh), about one third the original size. It was made by Auguste Bartholdi (yes, that’s the Statue of Liberty’s father, which makes the lion her brother). It symbolizes the resistance and the bravery of the people of Belfort led by Colonel Denfert-Rochereau during the siege of 1870-1871 in the war against Prussia. As a consequence of the war, you may already know that Alsace and Lorraine were annexed by Prussia (they didn’t become parts of France again until 1918), but did you know that as a consequence of the resistance of Belfort during its siege, it managed to remain French despite the fact that it was part of Alsace?
So, next time you’re in the 14th arrondissement and see this lion, you’ll know why it’s there.