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Thomas Jefferson in Paris – Pic of the Week

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I was recently in Paris for my friends’ wedding and thought it might be a great opportunity to find something to photograph for a pic of the week.  I recalled that we previously posted a pic of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, so that option was out.  Then, during a walk around the city, I noticed a statue of Thomas Jefferson and knew that was it!

From the front of the base: Thomas Jefferson, 1743-1826
In Jefferson's hand: Drawing by Th. Jefferson First draft Monticello
From Jefferson’s hand:
Drawing by Th. Jefferson
First draft Monticello

The statue, installed on July 4, 2006, is right along the Seine River and across from the Musée d’Orsay.  It is also across street from the Hotel de Salm.

I noticed a drawing of Monticello in Jefferson’s hand (see photo on the right).  It was only later that I learned that the Hotel de Salm served as inspiration for an update to Jefferson’s home.  I found a blog post that compares the two, using the picture of Monticello on the back of the nickel and a photo of the Hotel de Salm.

I have spent years working on the federal legislative information website THOMAS, named after Thomas Jefferson (by the way, after typing THOMAS all these years it is rather difficult for me to type the name in lowercase), and of course the Library of Congress has a lot of wonderful material related to him, including:

From the side of the base: Tribute to Thomas Jefferson, President of the United States of America 1801-1809, Ambassador to Paris 1785-1789
From the side of the base:
Tribute to Thomas Jefferson
President of the United States of America 1801-1809
Ambassador to Paris 1785-1789

When researching this post I noticed many resources that relate to Jefferson’s time in Paris, including a few websites and some books I may need to add to my “to read” list.


  1. I was in Paris last week (for the first time), and I saw this statue across from the Musee D’Orsay. Mr. Jefferson has been blindfolded! There is a red blindfold on him. Do you have an idea whether this is just a prank, or is this possibly a political statement — the latter seems likely to me. I have been looking for references referring to a blindfolded Jefferson with no luck, although there is a quote of his which might be relevant: “Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.”

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