Stop 4: The Monument to France
The Monument to France was designed by Carlos Thays, a French immigrant whose work played a considerable role in the urban renewal of Buenos Aires during this period. Erected on the Plaza Francia, the monument symbolizes the republicanism that France supposedly had gifted to Argentina.
On the four sides of the monument are iconic scenes of French and Argentinian History: The Storming of the Bastille (figure 1), San Martín crossing the Andes (figure 2), the Tennis Court Oath (1789) (figure 3), and the Congress of Tucumán (figure 4).
Three female figures and a child holding books are visible at the very top of the monument. One of the female shapes represents Argentina while the winged figure that guides it with a torch symbolizes republicanism or France itself. Another reference to the bond between the two nations and their pursuit of republican values can be noticed: the child and the third woman are wearing a Phrygian cap, a symbol of liberty born with the French Revolution. The Phrygian cap first appeared in Argentina in 1813 in the Seal of the Constituent Assembly.
The designer, Thays, played a major role in redesigning the Bosques de Palermo area around the present-day Avenida del Libertador, where the French, German, and Spanish monuments were built. He also designed the nearby Botanical Garden (inaugurated in 1898 and that bears his name) in which the Austro-Hungarian Meteorological Column was erected (the other 1910 monument).