The monument to the great commander of revolutionary France and the faithful companion of Napoleon Bonaparte, Marshal Michel Ney (Monument au maréchal M. Ney) is located on the Avenue del Observatoire near the place of his execution in December 1815.
The bravest of the brave
Bochard's son M. Ney from the first years of the French Revolution gained fame as a talented strategist and tactician. One of the first marshals of the Empire, he received the highest praise from Napoleon. During the storming of the Elchingen bastions, in the battles of Jena, Friedland, Erfurt, Magdeburg, in military campaigns in Spain and Russia, Michel Ney fully showed his military leadership talents.
In 1814, the Duke of Elchingen and the Prince of Moscow, Marshal M. Ney, entered the country's military council, became the peer of France and the commander of the VI division. One hundred days of Napoleon in 1815 drastically changed his life. Once again joining the returning emperor, he fought bravely at the Battle of Waterloo, but after defeat was brought before the peers' court, who sentenced him to death for treason to the House of Bourbons.
The decision on the rehabilitation of the marshal and the construction of a monument to M. Ney was made by the Provisional Government of the 2nd Republic in March 1848. It was enthusiastically received by ordinary Parisians.
Monument to the hero
Perpetuate the memory of the glorious military leader in bronze was commissioned by the sculptor Francois Ryud. His partner in the creation of the monument was the architect Alfons de Gisor, who prepared the design of the pedestal for the statue.
The first version of the sculpture proposed by F. Rud for the monument was rejected by Napoleon III. The emperor did not agree with the author's position to capture the marshal in the last moments of his life. He insisted on his desire to immortalize him at the zenith of glory and military exploits.
In the final version, according to O. Rodin of the most beautiful monument in Paris, the figure of the marshal is made in full growth. M. Ney is depicted at the moment of the attack: his left leg is strongly set back, and in his right hand he squeezes a naked saber raised high above his head. Turning his head to the left, the marshal addresses the soldiers and officers with a belligerent appeal. The entire composition of the sculpture conveys the dynamism of the situation and confidence in the victorious outcome of the battle.
In the pedestal of the monument, the division into three parts is clearly visible. Its base is a rectangular stone block with beveled edges. The middle part of the pedestal has almost the same shape, but noticeably smaller. On its front side there is an inscription with the name of the marshal and his titles. On the left side of the monument are listed the names of the battles in which the French army under the command of M. Ney won victories.
The top of the pedestal resembles a strongly truncated pyramid in shape with a wider base than the middle part. It is richly decorated with embossed decor. Garlands of laurel leaves are depicted on all sides, and decorative curls are placed in the corners.
The grand opening of the monument took place on December 7, 1853. The ceremony that day was attended by the Minister of War of France, Marshal de Saint-Arnault, the sons of the hero of the Napoleonic wars Joseph and Edgar Ney and a delegation from Saarlouis, M. Ney's hometown.
In the 20th century the monument to Marshal M. Ney slightly changed its position. It had to be moved somewhat during the construction of the railway line that connected the Seo suburb of Paris with the capital.
Address: Avenue de l'Observatoire, Paris 75006
RER Train: Port-Royal
Bus: Observatoire - Port Royal