Rue Benjamin-Franklin is located in the 16th arrondissement of Paris. At one end of the street is a monument in honor of Franklin, who in addition to being one of the founding fathers of the United States was also a resident of Paris for a period of time. The street took on the name “rue Franklin” in 1791.
The bronze statue sits on a stone pedestal inlaid with bronze tablets. The statue was a given to Paris from John H. Harjes, an American banker, in honor of the 200th birthday of Franklin who lived near this spot from 1777 to 1785. He lived at the Valentois Mansion at what is now 66 Rue Raynouard.
Following is the text that appears on the front of the pedestal:
…CE GENIE QUI AFFRANCHIT
L’AMERIQUE ET VERSA SUR
L’EUROPE DES TORRENTS DE
LUMIERE LE SAGE QUE
DEUX MONDES RECLAMENT…
(MIRABEAU 14 JUIN 1790)
The man whose genius raised America’s standards,
whose wisdom spilled over to Europe,
the man two worlds claim as their own.
(Mirabeau June 14, 1790)
Read the New York Times article from 1906 about the dedication of the statue: STATUE OF FRANKLIN PRESENTED TO PARIS; Franco-American Demonstration at Unveiling of Mr. Harjes’s Gift. SALUTE OF TWENTY-ONE GUNS M. Barthou, Minister of Public Instruction, Voices France’s Unwavering Friendship for the United States.
Photos by Dewey Rodefer.