The Monument National de la Gendarmerie

Vue de nuit. © J.-P. Le Padellec - Détails © C. Caudron

In 1935, military members of the gendarme movement and public figures came together to study and propose plans to commission a monument to pay homage to and commemorate the history of the movement.

In 1935, military members of the gendarme movement and public figures came together to study and propose plans to commission a monument. After gathering the required funds and obtaining free land in the commune of Versailles, a competition was held to determine the design of the monument and was won by Mr. Charles Nicod and Mr. Robert Auzelle. The monument, which was built by Mr. Rispal, was completed in November 1941; however, due to circumstances it was not officially inaugurated until 1946.

The monument erected in Versailles in honour of the gendarmerie was recently completed. It consists of a majestic central statue flanked by two massive pylons, 12 metres high and 3 metres wide, some distance from the statue so as to not block the view of the façade of Saint Antoine de Padoue church, which dominates the horizon. Around the pylons are groups of sculptures that have been harmoniously arranged and which provide a brief history of the gendarme movement. The magnificent four-metre high statue symbolises the force at the service of the Law. The statue's right hand leans on a shield, which symbolises the protection that the Gendarmerie offers the country and its citizens in serving the interests of Order and Justice. The other arm is making a powerful gesture, symbolising the energy with which the courageous soldiers of the elite armed forces carry out their mission. Each group of sculptures represents modern-day gendarmes, accompanied by their military ancestors who have played a role in other events in French history: Louis XV, The French Revolution, the First Empire, the conquest of Algeria, the Great War, tanks, gendarmes and modern-day guards. On the left, there is a statue of a gendarme on horseback, dated 1880, while to the right there is a statue of a Republican guard, also on horseback, dated 1936.
The uniforms have been recreated in extremely accurate detail and inspired by uniforms from the military museum and by information supplied by the head of the Bucquoy Company, a PhD in social sciences, the director of the magazine "Le Passepoil" and an expert in European military uniforms. At the foot of the statue, a hypogeum crowned with a bronze shield holds the ashes of Le Gallois de Fougières, the provost marshal of France killed in the battle of Azincourt (or Agincourt) in 1415 and buried close to the scene of the battle on the grounds of the Auchy-Ies-Hesdin church (Pas-de-Calais).
The monument is located in Versailles Saint-Antoine junction At the end of Boulevard du Roi

  • Le monument national de la gendarmerie de nuit. Photo Jean-Pierre Le Padellec

  • Le monument national de la gendarmerie. Source : Photo Jean Charles Guegan

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