Free Quirk No.14 ~ "Don't Mention The War..."


"Don't Mention The War..."

Let's not call it weird, let's content ourselves with 'unusual'. After all, you never know who might be reading or listening in when it comes to one of the most talked about, yet still most mysterious secret societies in France.

Can you guess who this decidedly 'unusual' structure might be the work of?

I'll give you a clue. They have members in the highest echelons of power and influence and yet no-one can say for sure who.

They generate an enormous amount of fascination and suspicion, in more or less equal measure.

Members of this organisation across Europe were probably loathed and mistrusted over and above any other group, including Jews, homosexuals, and Tziganes, and they were persecuted accordingly.

Yet they profess a gentle faith, insist they refrain from meddling in politics, and stipulate that all members must be loyal citizens of their country.

We're talking about the Free Masons, and they have an 'unusual' monument just a stone's throw from another iconic structure, the Eiffel Tower!

"If you scratch below the surface...
the secrets become even more intriguing!"

When I say 'they', that's not quite accurate. There's a monument on the Champs de Mars to human rights which was installed just a few years before I arrived, in 1989, which was the bicentenery of the French Revolution.

It is literally encrusted with strange inscriptions and recognised Masonic symbols, but as Masonic ways of thinking were somewhat central to policy making in those days (it's said that Napoleon, amongst others, were Free Masons) this is actually less sinister that it might appear.

The 'Déclaration des Droits de l'Homme et du Citoyen', the most significant of the revolutionary texts to be voted in 1789 establishing principles of equality and the abolition of privileges (theoretically 'bye-bye aristocracy', but very theoretically..) can be seen along with other works moulded into the two bronze pyramidal/pylon-type structures on the side facing towards the centre of the park.

The architecture of the monument itself is influenced by Egyptian temples, but I won't show you a picture of that - it'll be more fun for you to find it for yourself!

Instead I'll show you another part of the same structure, another statue in fact, taken this time on my iPhone and played around with as part of my Paris and I Paris Photo Chronicles blog.

Regarding other supposedly Masonic structures in Paris, well yes, there are quite a few! Some are clearly bona fide, while others seem to be more like flights of certain fantasists' imaginations. But the best and maybe the most annoying thing of all is... we'll probably never know for sure.

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As so often with Paris this find surprises on two levels: in and of itself it's a remarkable thing to look at and investigate; and if you scratch below the surface a little (not literally, that could get you arrested..) the secrets within are even more intriguing... see you for the next Paris Quirk, friends!

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