Victor Noir

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Sculpture of Noir showing the genital area polished from centuries of rubbing by women.

Victor Noir (27 July 1848 – 11 January 1870) was a French journalist. After he was shot and killed by Prince Pierre Bonaparte, a cousin of the French Emperor Napoleon III (r. 1852–1870), Noir became a symbol of opposition to the imperial regime. His tomb in Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris has become a fertility symbol.

A life-sized bronze statue was sculpted by Jules Dalou to mark his grave, portrayed in a realistic style as though he had just fallen on the street, dropping his hat which is depicted beside him.

The sculpture has a very noticeable protuberance in Noir's trousers. This has made it one of the most popular memorials for women to visit in the famous cemetery. The myth says that placing a flower in the upturned top hat after kissing the statue on the lips and rubbing its genital area will enhance fertility, bring a blissful sex life, or, in some versions, a husband within the year. As a result of the legend, those particular components of the otherwise verdigris (grey-green oxidized bronze) statue are rather well-worn and shiny, as are the tips of the boots.

In 2004 a fence was erected around the statue of Noir, to deter superstitious people from touching the statue. However, due to supposed protests from the "female population of Paris", in fact led by French TV anchor Péri Cochin, it was torn down again.