Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Thursday, July 28, 2016

World War I at the Trocadéro

The Trocadéro, site of the Palais de Chaillot, is an area of Paris in the 16th Arrondissement across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower. The hill of the Trocadéro is the hill of Chaillot, a former village.  Today it overlooks the Seine and the Left Bank and presents wonderful views of the city. The Trocadéro has several notable Great War monuments and attractions nearby.

"Monument to the Glory of French Armies," a massive bas-relief by Paul Landkowski (Christ over Rio), was completed in 1956 and depicts the French Army Corps of World War One. Landkowski completed a number of memorials connected with the war, including the tomb of Marshal Foch at Les Invalides and the haunting "Phantoms," the memorial to the Second Battle of the Marne, said to have inspired "Glory."

An equestrian statue of Marshal Ferdinand Foch (1851–1929) honors the famous general as a marshal of both France and Poland. France sent support for Poland's postwar struggle with the Red Army. The statue was not completed until 1944. It is paired with a facing equestrian statue across the Seine of fellow marshal of France Joseph Joffre, who commanded the French Army at the start of the war.

Close by is Musée Clemenceau at 8 rue Benjamin Franklin. Georges Clemenceau lived for 35 years until his death on 24 November 1929 in this four-room apartment opening on to a garden with a view of the Eiffel Tower. His personality is revealed to the visitor through his books, his travel souvenirs, and his collection of curios. The first floor is dedicated to his life and work — portraits, books, newspapers, and manuscripts, as well as the famous coat and gaiters he wore while visiting the front lines of the First World War.

An interesting presence near the Trocadéro is that of Benjamin Franklin, namesake of the street with the Clemenceau Museum. A statue honoring Franklin (shown here) marks the start of rue Benjamin Franklin. The street soon changes names to rue Raynouard, on which Franklin maintained his residence from 1777 to 1785.

1 comment:

  1. 21 Rue Raynouard was used as the headquarters of the American Field Service for volunteer ambulance drivers -- there is a memorial plaque above a door on the street.