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In Paris … a Tribute to Princess Diana


image: mariotestino.com

For Diana (01July 1961 - 31 August 1997) - a presence still felt by so many… ❤️ 👑


Let me start of by saying, the Flamme de la Liberté was not originally a memorial.


image: commons.wikipedia.org

This monument was offered to Paris by the International Herald Tribune in honor of donors who had contributed nearly $400,000 for its creation, which toasted the newspaper's 1987 celebration of its hundredth anniversary of publishing a daily English-language newspaper in Paris.


More over, at its heart, the Flame of Liberty was a gift to France by the United States, in celebration of the centenary and gratitude for the restoration in 1986 of the Statue of Liberty in New York City.


image: fr.quora.com

This 3.5 meter tall Flame of Liberty is a full size and exact replica of the torch held by the Statue of Liberty, as she guards the entrance of the New York Harbor. It rather makes you realize how large the full Statue of Liberty is!


While a gift from the US to France, the torch is French in its design and manufacturing, but made on US soil. This restoration had in fact been carried out by two French craft companies: Les Métalliers Champenois (located in Patterson New Jersey) for the copper work, and the Gohard workshops for the golden gilding of the flame. It was unveiled in New Jersey on September 10, 1987, with a small ceremony, before making the long transcontinental journey to Paris, aboard Air France, ending up near the northern end of the Pont de l'Alma on the Place Diana in the 16th arrondissement.



Jacques Girac in 1997 - image: en.wikipedia.org

The Flame of Liberty was originally meant to be installed in a public square called Place des États-Unis, or the United States Place) in the 16th arrondissement.


However, Jacques Girac (the mayor of Paris from 1977 - 1995 and President of France from 1995 - 2007) did not agree with this idea.


As such, she was installed in an open area near the busy intersection of l'Avenue de New York and La Place de l'Alma. It was then dedicated by Jacques Girac in 1989.


We may never know why Chirac disagreed with the original location plans, but his thought pattern inadvertently had an impact on the torch’s future meaning.




image: wikiwand.com

Detail wise, you can see here the writing on the side of the torch, which translated into English reads: "The Flame of Liberty. An exact replica of the Statue of Liberty's flame offered to the people of France by donors throughout the world as a symbol of the Franco-American friendship. On the occasion of the centennial of the International Herald Tribune. Paris 1887–1987."


In New York’s Harbor, in a ceremony held in Paris on July 4, 1884, the completed Statue of Liberty was formally presented by France to the U.S. ambassador as a commemoration of the friendship between France and the United States. We will look at this gift in future posts, so do subscribe to revisit the Parisian Niche.



image: wikipedia.com

So, what does the Statue of Liberty's gift to France have to do with Britain's Princess Diana? Well, if you've over the age of 30, P'Niche is fairly certain that you can recall exactly where you were when you heard that terrible news of Diana's passing.


In the very early hours of August 31, 1997, after being pursued (at very high speed) from the Ritz hotel at the Place Vendôme by paparazzi, Diana's car crashed into a lane separating pillar in the Pont de l'Alma Tunnel. While the driver, Henri Paul) was sadly killed instantly, Diana and the other passengers (Dodi Fayed and Trevor Rees-Jones) we transferred to L'hôpital de la Pitié-Salpêtrière. Trevor Rees-Jones was the sole survivor of the crash.



image: en.wikipedia.org

The Pont de l’Alma tunnel is quite close to the Flamme de la Liberté - with the flame living above the western entrance of the tunnel.


In the aftermath of this tragic accident, while the overwhelming amounts flowers began to pile up outside of Buckingham Palace in London, so to did people bring bouquets, pictures, notes, and ribbons of remembrance to this monument as an homage to Diana's everlasting legacy.




image: wikiwand.com

To this day, so often (and especially on August 31) do fans and admirers of Diana flock to this site to leave flowers, notes, and pay their respects, that in 2019, the site has been officially re-named Place Diana.


As you can see, this glorious Flame of Liberty has now also come to represent the memory of Diana, Queen of Hearts, who bears an everlasting flame in our own hearts.




Now, P’Niche has never made it a secret of how much she adores the royals, in particular, Princess Diana. We could not miss this exceptional opportunity to pay our own respects to the Peoples’ Princess and do not take for granted the timing of this trip to do so.


Merci, Diana... ❤️


We've placed our own Parisian Niche bouquet (bottom, center right, with tag) on this 25th Anniversary of Diana’s passing…







image: google maps

The location where the flame stands has a wonderful view of the Seine River and the Eiffel Tower on the left bank.


If you are looking to make a visit to la Flamme de la Liberté, you can find it at: Place de l'Alma, 75008 with easy access on the métro stop Alma Marceau (Line 9) as well as RER C Line stop of Pont de l'Alma. You can also reach it by the buses numbered 42, 63, 72, 80, and 92.



What do you think P'Nichers - will you be headed to the Flamme de la Liberté on your next Parisian getaway? We look forward to hearing in the comments below et à bientôt!


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Phyllis Cartwright
Phyllis Cartwright
Aug 31, 2022

This is a fantastic article Chrissy! Thank you for sharing all this. I love that you placed flowers there. <3

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chrissy
Aug 31, 2022
Replying to

thank you so much! ❤️

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Joyce J. Adams
Joyce J. Adams
Aug 31, 2022

Great article Chrissy! Thank you for placing flowers on her grave!

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chrissy
Aug 31, 2022
Replying to

merci and I was honored to be able to do so at her memorial! ❤️

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