Gilded statue of Joan of Arc ©Ruby Boukabou

Sculptures in Public Places – Paris

Sculptures are to be found all around Paris and many of them are exquisite. Instead of just passing them by, why not stop, take the time to read the plaque and admire the public art, often, but not always, a memorial. Here are some of my favourites.

Written by Ruby Boukabou

22 Mar 2022

4 min read

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113 rue de Rivoli, 75001

The Tuileries was opened as a private garden under Catherine de Medici in 1564. Catherine commissioned Bernard de Carnesse, a Florentine landscape gardener to build an Italian Renaissance garden including faience (tin-glazed pottery) with plant and animal images. In 1664 under Louis IV, Andre le Notre re-landscaped the gardens to a formal French style.

In 1667, Louis IV opened the gardens to the public (except soldiers, servants and beggars). In 1719 two large equestrian statues by Antoine Coisevox were placed at the west entrance of the garden, with more statues placed on the Grande Allée. Today these gardens are a delightful place to pass an hour – you can sit to contemplate by the ponds, inhale the perfumes from the glorious flowers and relax in one of the garden cafés. High on floral scents, investigate the outdoor gallery with over 200 statues and vases from the seventeenth to twenty-first centuries. These include: Rodin’s ‘Le Baiser’ (The Kiss) – a 1934 cast of the marble 1829 original, ‘Arcs de cercles complémentaires’ by François Morale; ‘L’Arbre des voyelles’ by Giuseppe Penone and twenty sculptures by Aristide Maillol (1861–1944) in the Carrousel Garden. Most of the originals are in the Louvre but the copies are still wonderful. During the FIAC in October there are often temporary contemporary art installations scattered about.


Place du Pont Neuf, 75001 

Pont Neuf is the oldest bridge in Paris, begun under Henri II in 1578 and inaugurated in 1607 by Henri IV. The commemorative statue of the latter depicts the king in armour on horseback on a pedestal. After admiring it, cross over to the romantic Place Dauphine on the Ile de la Cité. 


Place des Pyramides 75001

Frémiet’s gilded bronze equestrian sculpture of Roman Catholic Saint Joan of Arc, inaugurated in 1874, is impossible to miss as is shines brightly above the Place des Pyramides, close to the Tuileries.


Pont de la Tournelle, 75005

Paul Landowski’s 1928 statue portrays Sainte Genevieve, the patron Saint of Paris, protecting Paris, personified as a small child. This is one of my favourite statues in Paris, particularly moody when lit up at night.


The lungs of the left bank, this gorgeous park surrounding the Luxembourg Palace was created from 1612 by Marie de Medici, wife of Henry IV. It now has a lovely octagonal pool with miniature sail boats, holds a seventeenth-century baroque fountain and fish pond and over 100 statues, among them a bronze bust of Delacroix by sculptor Jules Dalou,‘Liberty Enlightening the World’ (commonly known as the Statue of Liberty, first model, by Frédéric Bartholdi, 1870),

‘Georges Sands’ by Francois-Leon Sicard, 1904 and ‘Ludwig van Beethoven’ by Antoine Bourdelle.


Place Michel-Debré, 75006

César Baldaccini’s 5-metre tall bronze centaur is a tribute to Picasso, with the head of the sculptor, an auto- portrait of Baldaccini himself.


Corner of boulevard du Montparnasse and boulevard Raspail, 75014 

Rodin’s sculpture of the French novelist and playwright is considered one of the first examples of modern sculpture, seeking to represent Balzac’s personality. It was cast in bronze two decades after Rodin’s death and placed in its current location.


Rue Blomet, 75015

Catalan artist Joan Miro created this abstract sculpture representing a mythical bird’s cosmic connection between earth and sky. 



You probably know that the iconic New York Statue of Liberty was a present from France in 1886. But did you know that the Americans gifted Paris a smaller version of the statue in 1889? The occasion was the centennial of the French Revolution. It’s located on the Île aux Cygnes (an artificial island built in 1827) accessed via either the Pont de Grenelle or the Pont de Bir-Hakeim.


Place Dalida Montmartre, 75018

Yolanda Cristina Gigliott AKA Dalida was an Egyptian/Italian/ French singer and actress (1933–1987). The commemorative bust in the charming backstreets of Montmartre has sparkling breasts from being polished in a tradition from passers-by!

The Art Lover’s Guide to Paris and The Architecture Lover’s Guide to Paris by Ruby Boukabou (White Owl Books) are available worldwide and through (epub/kindle and paper back). 

Ruby Boukabou

Ruby Boukabou is a travel/culture reporter and artist who spends her time between Australia, France, and North Africa, depending on the weather. She has freelanced for France Magazine, National Geographic, ABC, SBS, Qantas magazine, International traveller and many more media outlets. Books include The Art Lover’s Guide to Paris, The Architecture Lover’s Guide to Paris and Sense in the City - Paris. Ruby performs cabaret and tap dance and hosts the Sense in the City podcast.

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