Place Francoise Rude, Dijon
The old part of Dijon is full of gorgeous old half-timbered buildings, twisty narrow streets, grandiose mansions, and attractive squares where these all come together. One such is the Place Rude.
Francois Rude (Born Dijon January 1784-died Paris November 1855) was a French sculptor best known for his social art, or art that inspires and captures the interest of a broad public.
Place Rude is a square a couple of blocks along Rue de la Liberté, a pedestrianized shopping street that runs from Place Darcy to the Ducal Palace on Place de la Libération. It was constructed in 1904 after the demolition of a block of old houses. It was named after this famous Dijon sculptor, who was born a stone’s throw from here.
Rude was the creator of The Departure of the Volunteers of 1792, better known as “La Marseillaise”, the famous bas-relief, sculpted on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. He was also commissioned to do all the sculptural frieze ornamentation for the Arc de Triomphe.
Among other famous works of Rude’s that we’ve personally seen are: Mercury Fastening His Sandals in the Louvre; the Jeanne d’Arc statue in the Luxembourg Gardens, Paris; and the Hebe and the Eagle of Jupiter in the Musee des Beaux Arts, in the Ducal Palace in Dijon. There are plaster-cast models of many of his works in the Rude Museum (see upcoming post).
Local people also call this square “Place du Bareuzai” because of the statue of the grape harvester placed above the fountain in the center of the square. In years gone by wine growers would tread the grapes by foot, and would come out with “red stockings” (“bas rosés”).
It’s a lovely square, lined with many cafes, bars and restaurants, and shops (many sell Dijon mustard, a famous speciality). We’ve eaten at a couple of them and stopped for a drink at Restaurant O’Bareuzai, and all were good. There’s a popular carrousel from 1900 and the inevitable pigeons, which people seem to feed! It also has a large contemporary sculpture of a head made of leaves (see in a post to come).