Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Real places, fictional heroes

We’ve just returned from a visit to Amsterdam (lovely despite the rain). My one disappointment was that a museum in Alkmaar dedicated to Hans Brinker, which I had read about in an old travel guide, no longer exists. This got me thinking about cities that honor fictional characters. Philadelphia has its Rocky, Brussels has its Tintin, Copenhagen has its Little Mermaid, and London honors Paddington Bear, Peter Pan and Winnie the Pooh.

Locally, I offer two examples of cities embracing literary figures as their own: Condom’s Musketeers and Bergerac’s Cyrano. Can you think of others?

Cyrano de Bergerac

There really was a Cyrano de Bergerac, but the Cyrano we know is a fictionalized version created by the French poet/playwright Edmond Rostand. Visit the city of Bergerac in the Dordogne department, and you’ll find two large statues of Cyrano, a couple of shops and cafés named for him and plenty of Cyrano souvenirs.

Statue of Cyrano de Bergerac in Bergerac

Another statue of Cyrano de Bergerac in Bergerac

Sign honoring Cyrano de Bergerac and his lady love
Roxanne in Bergerac

Cyrano wooden toys in a shop window in Bergerac

The Three Musketeers

Visit Condom in the Gers department and you can’t miss the lifesize statues of D’Artagnan and his three buddies: Athos, Porthos and Aramis, characters created by Alexandre Dumas. The bronze work by sculptor Zurab Tsereteli was installed in 2010. 

Musketeers statue in Condom

Musketeers statue in Condom

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