Sunday, 27 April 2008

The Worst of Paris Monuments

Paris, as any visitor will testify is a stunning city. Great monuments and statues adorn its palaces and boulevards. Museums are replete with works of conspicuous beauty. Nevertheless occasionally one comes across a relic from yesteryear that some might describe rather euphemistically as less than inspiring.

One such monument is the statue in Parmentier Metro station. The station is named after Antoine-Augustin Parmentier (1737 - 1813) who in the late 18 and early 19th Centry promoted the consumption of potatoes (amongst people). For some time potatoes were seen as food for animals. These days if you see anything with the name 'Parmentier' on the menu in a French restaurant it means the dish will be served with or made with potatoes (such as hachis parmentier). Great as he was as a nutritionist and reformer the statue of the eponymous hero on the station platform showing him handing over a potato to a grateful peasant on bended knees looks ridiculous.

An interesting life maybe but this is one Paris statue that won't make the guidebooks.


Anonymous said...

Hang on, hang on, M. Permentier is surely worthy of a statue no matter how sentimental it looks. His story is facinating and he did help to prevent the city from starving and he did promote smallpox vaccinations. Aesthetically, the staute is very much of its time, but there are 1000s of bad public statuary far worse than that. I sat give the man a break and better to celebrate this 'food hero' than some forgotten army general.

ParisTalk said...

You are right that Mr. Parmentier is a national hero and should be honoured in some way in Paris. Nevertheless I still don't like the statue. If you know any far worse than that in Paris I'd be interested to know where.