Les Enfants du Monde; part 2
(This is part two of two. See part one here.)
Interestingly, this one's plaque was missing, but...
... someone had fashioned a temporary one in paper and taped it to the base! How strange! So I have no idea if this statue's name is really Mohamed or not, and the rest of the information has been blurred and is illegible.
A closer look reveals the word Casablanca, so Mohamed, if that is indeed his real name, is Moroccan.
Haha, this one's my favorite! "Jim le New Yorkais" Jim the New Yorker!
I love the silly and incongruous "City of NYC" text on this American Indian chief's chestplate.
This lady was a real mystery! No plaque, no legible text anywhere. There are some very worn-down words on her chest but I couldn't make them out. However, I had a hunch; she's vaguely shaped like a matryoshka doll aka a Russian nesting doll and a few of the letters looked Cyrillic (or, if you're a dope like me, backwards). So on a whim I did a Google image search of "Russia manhole cover" and found photos of manhole covers with that same wavy pattern! Incredible! Man, the internet is cool. The manhole covers in the photos I found didn't have a big "K" on them like this one, but they all had different letters, so I'd say that doesn't rule this one out as being Russian. So I'm saying case closed on this one; she's gotta be Russian.
Another easy one; the carnival mask is clearly Venetian, and then he's got "Venezia" right on his lapel, so this fella's Italian.
Haha, okay, if I thought the last one was easy! This dude is obviously meant to be Mexican.
No plaque, no text, so no idea about this guy. I'd say he's pretty clearly North African with that fez, maybe Tunisian.
Another one with no plaque and no text, and pretty clearly Middle Eastern or North African, but there's no way to be sure.
This one took me a minute, but then I noticed Christ the Redeemer on his belly! And then I realized, that's not his belly, he has a drum between his legs! He's a Brazillian Capoeira drummer! Have I mentioned that Capoeira is inexplicably huge in France? The French are insane for that shit. You'll see young French people practicing Capoeira in the parks all the time, and there are always Capoeira street performers in the touristy neighborhoods like the Latin Quarter.
"Isis l'Egyptienne" Isis the Egyptian lady.
And last but not least, "Marie Carmen l'Espagnole" Marie Carmen the Spanish lady.
That's all, folks!
Finding les Enfants
If you want to go see Les Enfants du Monde yourself, take the Métro to the station called Bercy (line 6 or 14). When you exit, look around and you'll see the huge Stade de Bercy a stadium with a giant mound of earth and grass built up around it, and blue and white metal scaffolding on top. Walk toward the stadium, and you'll see that just past it on the left is Novotel, a big hotel. There's a path that goes between the stadium and Novotel. Take that path; you've got to walk up a wide stairway and that'll put you on the sidewalk between the stadium and the hotel. This path will lead you into the Parc de Bercy. Cut across the park and you'll see a high wall with a big staircase up ahead. The statues are up at the top of those stairs, with half of them on one side and half on the other. That's them!
Just for fun, I went and found them on Google Maps' satellite view. Depending on your browser, you might have to zoom in here about four times to see the statues. You'll zoom up onto a big green area with about twenty-one little dark specks, all lined up in a diagonal arrangement from top-left to lower-right.
View Larger Map
(One of the reasons I wanted to look this up on the map was to confirm my suspicion that the statues are all facing North-East, and therefore there's no good time of day to photograph them, as the sun never shines directly on the front of them at all. Mid-morning, when I took these pictures, is about the best you can do.)
Les Enfants du Monde may not be one of Paris' must-see attractions, but you might really get a kick out of exploring this non-touristy neighborhood and seeing some public art that most Parisians have never seen or heard of. Combining a visit to the statues with a stroll across the gorgeous Passerelle Simone-de-Beauvoir footbridge that's right behind them will make for a lovely, calm, relaxing afternoon. There's also a skate park you can watch from above, just past the location of the last statue, Marie Carmen. And of course there's the Parc de Bercy too, which is also worth checking out.
Related junk from Cool Stuff in Paris:
The Passer-Through-Walls; a neat sculpture in Montmartre.Le départ des fruits et légumes du coeur de Paris, le 28 février 1969 Le Défenseur du Temps
The Defender of Time; a clockwork automaton.Wallace fountains
Providing clean water to Parisians for over a centurySquare Georges-Caïn
My favorite hidden little park in Paris.