Built in 1845 by architect Louis-Jacques Armengol and sculptor Augustin Dumont, this imposing structure stands at an impressive 42 meters high and is a symbol of Lille’s rich history.
The Column of the Goddess was built as a tribute to Napoleon Bonaparte, who had been victorious in his conquest over Austria during the War of Austrian Succession. The monument features four bronze statues that represent Victory, Strength, Prudence and Justice – all virtues attributed to Napoleon himself. At its peak sits a gold statue representing Liberty, which faces east towards Paris – where Napoleon made his triumphant return after victory at Austerlitz.
At its base lie two plaques inscribed with Latin inscriptions dedicated to both Napoleonic victories: “To Emperor Napoleon I for defeating Austria” and “To Emperor Napoleon III for liberating Italy from foreign domination”. These plaques are flanked by two sculptures depicting soldiers from each war respectively; these sculptures were later added in 1871 by architect Jules de Mérindol on behalf of King Louis-Philippe I who wished to commemorate France’s military successes under both Emperors’ leaderships.
Today, visitors can enjoy breathtaking views from atop the column while admiring its intricate stone carvings that depict scenes from classical mythology such as Hercules battling Cerberus or Neptune taming horses – all symbols meant to glorify imperial power through artistry and craftsmanship.