Frozen Stories: Tripping over history in Paris

There is more to Europe than meets the eye. There is a tale on every corner because history is embedded just beneath the surface in public art and landmarks.

In Paris, it’s hard not to find an old building without its historical significance duly noted in a plaque, often small and fixed on the top floor, only sharing secrets with those who are looking. Some buildings don’t need a plaque and rely instead on reputation, such as Cafe Flore and Les Deux Magots.

Landmarks, often in the form of art work such as a sculptures, can be dark horses for historical meaning. On my first visit, I noticed the obvious landmarks and statues such as Charlemagne outside Notre Dame, the Joan d’Arc in most churches and the . My eyes glazed over statues of seemingly meaningless creatures I assumed were purely for decoration, such as this horse at the entrance to Place de la Concord.

Just a horse, right?

Place de la Concord Paris

Not in Europe.

The horses are rearing on their hind legs because they are angry. Why? Because Place de la Concord was home to the infamous guillotine and the horses are angry about the French blood has been spilt there.

Another monument holding a story is the weeping Lion Monument in Lucerne.

Coming from Australia, not only is it unusual to walk through a public area of such historical significance, but it was eye opening to see history seeping through landmarks disguised as art to the untrained eye.

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