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How a Martyred French Journalist's Grave Became the Symbol of Fertility in Paris

Image for representation, Credits: Reuters

Image for representation, Credits: Reuters

Victor Noir, born as Yvan Salman, was a prominent 19th-century French journalist working for La Marseillaise newspaper who was killed by Prince Pierre Bonaparte at the young age of 22.

Paris, aka the city of love, is known for the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre. But, do you know that it also has the world’s most visited cemetery? Pere-Lachaise is the largest cemetery in Paris as well as home to the most notable graves of figures such as Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison, Molière, Frederic Chopin, Théodore Géricault and others. The 110-acre park, located on the northeast side of the city, contains over 70,000 tombs and attracts almost 3 million visitors each year. Among the thousands of renowned memorials, one grave particularly stands out that belongs to a man who led an ordinary life but his demise gave his grave a cult status. Victor Noir, born as Yvan Salman, was a prominent 19th-century French journalist working for La Marseillaise newspaper who was killed by Prince Pierre Bonaparte at the young age of 22.

At the time, the newspaper’s editor Paschal Grousset, and the owner, Henri Rochefort, were in conflict with Prince Bonaparte, the great-nephew of Napoleon, and cousin of the then-ruling Emperor Napoleon III. The reason behind the rivalry was a critical article about Napoleon Bonaparte, the prince’s great-uncle. Prince called the newspaper staff traitors and challenged them for a duel. However, Noir was sent on behalf of the paper but that enraged the prince who after an altercation, shot him to death, reports Daily Mail.

His death became a symbol of imperial injustice as he gained the status of martyr for the Republic. It also angered the public and led to Napoleon III being dethroned.

His grave has become almost like a shrine for women all over the world as his statue has now become the symbol of fertility and sexual happiness, according to European Cemeteries Route. In the year 1891, his body was moved to the cemetery in Paris and a famous sculptor was given the job to make a bronze sculpture of him. Now, the tomb has lost its bronze colour in some areas where females kiss or rub their crotch for a good luck charm and believe that it would improve their relationships and boost fertility.

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In this hope, single ladies while wishing for blissful love life, rub the bulge in its trousers or touch its right foot to get pregnant. Another myth instructs to touch its left foot for twins while it is said that singles will find a lover within a year of following this strange ritual.

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first published:June 22, 2021, 14:12 IST