A scaled-down replica of the Statue of Liberty began its trip from France to the United States on the back of a flat-bed truck on Monday, retracing the journey made over a century ago by its big sister, which now looks out over New York Harbour.
The replica, which stands at 2.83 metres (9.3 ft) tall, is being loaned by a Paris museum to the United States for 10 years to cement Franco-American friendship.
On Monday, workmen used a crane to gently lift the statue off its plinth in Paris. They then laid it on its back on the back of a truck, covered with plastic film for protection and wedged in with foam blocks.
Once in the United States, it will go on display in Washington D.C.
“Franco-American friendship will be marked under the sign of liberty,” said Olivier Faron, general administrator of Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers, the institution which oversees the museum. “A new era in relations between France and the United States will open up, that’s what we want.”
The larger version of the Statue of Liberty was given by France to the United States as a gift, and was completed and assembled in 1886.
The smaller replica was designed in 1878 by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, the same sculptor who – with help from engineer Gustave Eiffel – created the larger version now in New York.