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A fountain with the lion of San Marco
The Esplanade des Invalides links the Hôtel des Invalides to the Alexandre-III bridge. This 8.10 acres (32,800 m²) space extends its lawns and rows of lime trees over 500 metres to the Seine. From 1804 to 1815, a fountain with a 12-metre high pedestal adorned the centre of the esplanade. It was surmounted by a bronze statue, a winged lion, which had been enthroned on one of the two columns of San Marco Square in Venice since the 13th century – taken to France in 1797. After the fall of the Empire, the lion was returned to the Austrians, the new masters of the Veneto. The pedestal was demolished in 1840 to facilitate the passage of Napoleon’s funeral chariot.
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