Meet the man many women want to touch. :)
The Cemetery of Père-Lachaise is the largest cemetery in Paris. Many famous people are buried there, such as Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison, Molière, Frederic Chopin, Théodore Géricault and others. But the tomb that gained worldwide fame for the most unusual reasons is certainly the one of an ordinary young man - Victor Noir.
Shot by Napoleon`s cousin
Victor Noir was a journalist for the newspaper La Marseillaise in 19th century Paris. The editor of the newspaper, Paschal Grousset, was challenged to a duel by Prince Pierre Bonaparte, cousin of the then-ruling Emperor Napoleon III. The reason was the publication of a controversial article about the prince’s great-uncle, Napoleon Bonaparte. Grousset accepted the duel and sent his seconds (one of whom was Noir) to arrange the time and place of the confrontation. Unfortunately, an altercation broke out during the conversation. Bonaparte pulled out his pistol and shot Victor to death.
The murder of a journalist by a member of the emperor’s family infuriated the public, that was already dissatisfied with the political situation in the country, and led to many violent demonstrations on the streets of France. Victor Noir became a revolutionary symbol and over 100.000 people attended his funeral at the local cemetery in his hometown Neuilly. Although not related to these events, the Prussians invaded France later that year, overthrowing the French Empire on 4 September, 1870.
A provocative statue
Against expectations, it wasn`t his death or the political consequences of the shooting that made Victor Noir famous. It was his grave. Twenty years after Noir`s death, in 1891, following the establishment of the Third French Republic, the body of Victor Noir was moved from his hometown to Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris to honor his name and memory. A renowned French sculptor, Jules Dalou, was given the job of creating the sculpture in bronze for Noir`s grave.
Dalou chose to depict Victor Noir at the moment of his death, lying flat on the ground after he was shot. For reasons unknown, he decided to give the sculpture a noticeable bulge under the belt which triggered the formation of a really bizarre myth that over time made Victor Noir`s tomb a symbol of fertility and sexual happiness.
Becoming a fertility symbol
It is believed that if a woman kisses the statue of Victor Noir on the lips, rubs the bulge in his trousers and drops a flower in his hat it will bring her enhanced fertility, and a blissful sex life. More specifically - if you want to find a beautiful lover, you should kiss Noir`s lips; if you want to get pregnant, you should touch his right foot; and if you want to have twins, you should touch his left foot. According to the myth, a baby will follow soon after and single ladies will find a husband within the year.
The statue itself is a living proof that people take this myth very seriously. Victor Noir’s lips, groin and shoes are shiny, while the rest of his body has the usual greenish tone of oxidized bronze. That is why in 2004 a fence was placed around the statue of Noir with a warning sign: “Any damage caused by graffiti or indecent rubbing will be prosecuted.” But this agitated so many women that the fence was soon torn down.
Today, women who have fallen pregnant after visiting Victor Noir`s grave return to the cemetery in gratitude and put photos of their children and other objects in the hat near the statue.