Vendôme Column Paris

VENDÔME COLUMN PARIS — Rising from the very heart of Paris stands this sombre shaft of bronze, recalling the career of the great Napoleon. The Emperor was fond of rearing monuments in the style of the old Romans. This is in imitation of the Column of Trajan at Rome. On both those shafts, the Roman and the French, are plates of bronze adorned with figures in relief ascending toward the summit in a spiral path. In this Vendôme Column not only do these figures represent events in Bonaparte’s campaign of Austerlitz, but the bronze for the plates themselves was made by melting down 1200 Austrian and Russian cannon. Upon the summit, 142 feet high, stands the statue of Napoleon I. This is not, however, the figure originally placed there. When the Emperor had been banished to St. Helena, the Royalists took down his statue and crowned the shaft with a gigantic fleur-de-lis. But this decoration was, under the circumstances, so senseless that the Napoleonic figure was restored. The Communists in their endeavor to ruin Paris, actually pulled down this column in 1871, but happily the fragments were preserved and it was re-erected in 1875. The name “Vendôme” was given to this shaft because the square in which it stands was called the Place Vendôme, from a palace which once stood here, owned by the Duke of Vendôme, a son of Henry IV. (from John L. Stoddard, Glimpses of the world; a portfolio of photographs of the marvelous works of God and man – 1892)

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