Marshal Ney Statue


If you don’t know it already, let me introduce you to the Marshal Ney Statue :


"my old friend, the statue of Marshal Ney with his sword out"


If you don’t know who Michel Ney was, let me just tell you that he was one of the marshals in the Revolutionary Wars, alongside and under Napoleon who called him “the bravest of the braves.” If you want the long version of his fascinating life, Wikipedia has a pretty decent page about him.

However, the statue itself has a small history of its own. First know that it’s located on Place de l’Observatoire, roughly on the spot where Marshal Ney was executed, right in front of the Closerie des Lilas.

The statue was considered by the surrealists as one of the most fascinating statue of the world (I can’t find the exact quote, sorry), possibly because of Brassaï’s picture of it, possibly because they were often getting really drunk at the Closerie and would hang out in front of it completely wasted.


"La Statue du Maréchal Ney dans le brouillard" by Brassaï


Also, Hemingway devotes many lines of A Moveable Feast to it. I meant to quote him here, but I can’t find my copy of the book anywhere… Damn! (that being said, consider this a teaser for an idea of a small website I have that I hope will be born in the coming months).



About David Billa

David was born and raised in the French South West. After a few years in the US and a few more in Paris, he finally settled down in Japan. He blogs here about his various experiences and travels, with an emphasis on his home country, France.

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5 thoughts on “Marshal Ney Statue

    • David

      You’re welcome.
      And don’t worry, he’s not exactly super famous.
      Most people know his statue better than himself (myself included really)

  • Joe Canning

    Marshal Ney was the man who led the rearguard when Napoleon’s troops retreated from Moscow and they lost most of their army. The ‘bravest of the brave,’ Napoleon called him. When Napoleon escaped from Elba and marched towards Paris, sparking ‘The Hundred Days’ panic in Europe, Ney was sent out by the French Government in power at the time to ‘bring him back in a cage.’ Instead, he joined Napoleon and went on to lead the disastrous French cavalry charge at the Battle of Waterloo (1815) when his heavy cavalry could not break the British squares and then attacked the British on the ridge (‘Up Guards and at’em,’ Wellington cried) asnd Ney lost most of Napoleon’s veteran Old Guard, loyal protectors of the emperor. When Ney returned to Paris, with Wellington’s army closing in, he was arrested by the French government and shot as a traitor round about the spot where his statue stands.

    • David Billa Post author

      Thanks for the info. This post is a bit old, but yeah, I should re-read the Sun also Rises one of these days.