Flame of Liberty
This is the Flame of Liberty, an exact, gold-plated duplicate of the flame carried in the hand of the Statue of Liberty in New York City. It was erected at the time of the restoration of the Statue of Liberty in 1987. You can find it near the northern end of the pont de l’Alma bridge on the Place de l’Alma, above the west entrance to the vehicular underpass that runs beneath the Place.
After Princess Diana of Wales was killed near this spot in 1997, the flame became a kind of impromptu shrine, and suffered vandalism to which it had never before been subjected. The authorities cleaned up the mess periodically, and fans of Diana regularly continued to deface it; but Diana’s fans are visiting less and less, and the flame has returned to its former, clean appearance. A new railing around the flame helped a lot, but mostly it has been a matter of Diana hysteria dying down. See this picture to see how it looked during the period of hysteria. Sometimes a few groupies still put something on the monument (as you can see here.)
In this photograph, you are looking roughly southwest. The Eiffel Tower is just out of the frame to the left, 850 metres or so away (it is visible in my older photo, if you would like to see its relative position). Just beyond the low wall behind the flame is the western end of the tunnel in which Diana’s accident occurred; her car would have emerged from this end had it not crashed inside the tunnel. I have more pictures of this fateful tunnel if morbid curiosity drives you to see them; click here to see them. Behind the camera and not visible here is the Place de l’Alma itself. The Seine River is visible in the background between the camera and the Eiffel Tower (the bridge you see over the river is the pedestrian Passerelle Debilly).
Click directly on the photo to see a larger version (twice this size). Photographed on July 24, 2008.