Statue of Charlemagne
So who the F are these guys, posing by the square in front of Notre Dame? The piece is called “Charlemagne et ses leudes” (translates to “Charlemagne and his guards / paladins”) conceived in 1853 by brothers Charles and Louis Rochet and unveiled in 1878.
There’s a whole lot of politics here in claiming Charlemagne as a precursor of the Second French Empire and Napoleon III, while ignoring subsequent French kings thus giving the finger to Bourbon royalists. And more controversy in displaying a guy who was sort-of German (though the distinction didn’t really apply in his day) at a time when the French really really hated Germans. And I’m not even touching on the middle finger this gives to Belgium (in whose current territory Charlemagne was born). There’s a lot of nationalistic symbolism here, is what I’m saying.