Ecoute – Place René Cassin

Ecoute – The Listener is the name of a sculpture located Place on René Cassin, next to Les Halles.

Ecoute - the Listener with Eustache Church in the background
Ecoute – the Listener with Eustache Church in the background

The Place René Cassin is the former square of Saint Eustache Church.

René Cassin was one of the fathers of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 and the founder of the UNESCO.

He received the 1968 Nobel Prize for Peace.

The square was originally paved with stones laid out in circles.

It led to a series of inter connected basins and mini waterfalls, which delineated the church and its square from the gardens of the Forum des Halles.

The Place René Cassin has since been redesigned and re-laid out during the redevelopment of Les Halles.

The Listener sculpture

The square has, however, recovered its centerpiece, the monumental sculpture known as Ecoute.

This sculpture was indeed tucked away for months behind the building site’s protective fences.

The French artist Henri Miller sculpted Ecoute in 1986.

Ecoute - the Listener
Ecoute – the Listener

The 70-ton sculpture in sandstone from Burgundy represents a giant’s sleepy head resting and leaning on a hand.

The head has a peaceful expression; it smiles and ‘listens’ to the surrounding world.

It encourages passers-by who are in a hurry to stop for a moment and listen to those around them…

L’Ecoute therefore sits directly on the ground.

It has no pedestal and is accessible and close to all.

Children (and adults) can climb into the hand and sit next to the ear.

You can clearly see the artist’s signature on one side:

‘Henry Miller in 1986’.

No need to say that this unusual sculpture triggered much controversy, and still does.

Directions: 1st district
Metro: Les Halles on Line 4
Coordinates: Lat 48.863393 – Long 2.345099

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