Victor Noir, a french journalist, died in Paris 1870. His tomb located in Pere LaChaise Cemetery became a fertility symbol due to a noticeable bulge in his sculpted trousers.
Victor Noir (1848-1870) became famous for the manner of his death and its political consequences. He was shot by Prince Bonaparte, great nephew of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte over an insulting letter published by Noir's boss at the radical newspaper he worked. Noir was sent as a "second" with another reporter where they were to duel with Bonaparte's "seconds," but showed up at the nobleman's door instead. Prince Bonaparte claimed aggression on Noir's part and testified in a highly publicized court battle that his deadly shot was in defense. Prince Bonaparte prevailed.
The sculpture, by the renowned sculptor, Dalou, has a very noticeable bulge in Noir's trousers. This has made it one of the most popular memorials for women to visit in the famous cemetery. 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 oxidized bronze statue are rather well-worn. Some visitors have seen women hike up their skirts and mount the statue as if engaging in intimate congress.
In 2005, a fence was erected around the statue of Noir, to deter people from touching the statue. However, due to the protests of the female population of Paris, it was torn down. Photo: The Urban Snapper, Flickr.