I was walking by Square Paul-Painlevé in the Latin Quarter one day when this old French man started talking to my land-lady & I. We had started talking about the new bio-gardens where the plants were left to grow naturally and not maintained. In France, most gardens are maintained to perfection and this new sight was simply odd.
He told us about how he lived during WWII and all the things he witnessed. He then randomly asked us if we have touched Montaigne’s foot. We asked what for?
He went on to explain that the student’s at Sorbonne University, which is right opposite Montaigne’s statue, would touch Montaigne’s foot for good luck before exams. Michel Eyquem de Montaigne was one of the most significant philosophers of the French Renaissance.
Montaigne’s statue was first created in 1933 by Paul Landowski in marble but it suffered from too much hands-on admiration and thus in 1989, had to be replaced with a bronze statue replica that we see today.
As you can see in the photo, people really believe that Montaigne’s foot brings good luck as his right foot is rubbed and the colouring has changed.
Even I touched Montaigne’s foot for good luck and then that week I managed to get a job. But then the week later, my wallet was stolen, so I don’t really know how much I believe in it. I still love the story though.