During the Revolution, the Place des Victoires was a royal square: it was dedicated to King Louis XIV. Inaugurated in 1686 at the same time as the square, the statue sculpted by Desjardins represented the Sun King on foot and not on horseback like he is today. A sight that, as they say, was an “insult” to the sans-culottes after the monarchy fell (August 10, 1792). On August 11th, a large crowd toppled the statue from its pedestal. Kings no longer had their place in the streets of Paris.
The goal of the sans-culottes was not to destroy for destruction’s sake. Above all else, they no longer wanted to see figures of kings in their daily space: they reminded them too much of suffering and injustice. The recuperated metal was then recycled and melted again in order to make cannons, thereby participating in the war effort. The statue of Louis XIV was replaced with a wooden pyramid, called the “Column of Liberty and Equality,” bearing the names of the victims from the storming of the royal Tuileries castle (August 10, 1792). Quickly destroyed, it was one of the first commemorative monuments of the French Republic. The current statue of Louis XIV on horseback dates from 1822.