On touching a statue’s ding dong

The title should basically tell you that when I was young I used to watch College Humour. Anyhow. Back to the story.

In most cities you will usually find a place where doing something will bring you luck or make your wish come true. This could be throwing a coin in the Fontana di Trevi or touching the huge nose of the Marin Držić Statue in Dubrovnik.

Never though have I seen or heard a weirdest “touch and ye shall receive” tradition then the one I found in Paris.

Meet Victor Noir.

A photo posted by Sofia Gk (@sofiagk) on

Victor was a cutie journo who tragically died in Paris in 1870. Acting as a friend’s second in a duel he went to discuss the particulars with the other party, which was unusual since normally this happens between seconds. The other party was no other than Prince Pierre Bonaparte, the great-nephew of Napoleon, and cousin of the then-ruling Emperor Napoleon III. Anyhow, they meet, they talk, words become heated, a glove comes off and slaps a face, bang bang, Bonaparte shot Victor Noir.

Apparently his death had political consequences but what interests us here is his grave.

I found it in the Père Lachaise Cemetery quite by chance. A beautiful man, with his top hat upturned in his side and some shiny patches. I walked over. His nose and his crotch seemed to be very shiny.

Well, here’s why. When the statue was unveiled, the… very visible… manhood led to the myth that he could effectively be your key to fertility.

Myth says that placing a flower in the upturned top hat after kissing the statue on the lips and rubbing its genital area will enhance fertility, bring a blissful sex life, or, in some versions, a husband within the year.

But the best bit, the one I love on the wikipedia entry is this one:

In 2004 a fence was erected around the statue of Noir, to deter superstitious people from touching the statue. However, due to supposed protests from the “female population of Paris”, in fact led by French TV anchor Péri Cochin, it was torn down again.

God I love France.

Note: I was in Paris in November 2015 during the horrible attacks and it has been somewhat difficult for me to write about that trip. I am rediscovering some of the small joys of those days and I cannot imagine how impossible that is for all the people who were affected by this terrible tragedy. Douce France, you are stronger than this terror. 

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