A replica of the Statue of Liberty, smaller but based on the original plaster cast of its big sister on Ellis Island, a gift from France, was given a send-off ahead of a trip to the United States where it will be displayed for Independence Day.
The nearly three-metre-high (nearly 10-foot high) bronze will make a nine-day trip across the Atlantic Ocean later this month, sailing out aboard a container ship from the French port of Le Havre to Baltimore.
It will then be transported to Ellis Island, arriving in time for July 4 celebrations.
The mini-Lady Liberty is then set to go on display in the gardens of the French Embassy in Washington DC, arriving there in time for France’s Bastille Day celebration on July 14.
The statue will stay there for the next decade.
The monumental Statue of Liberty in New York’s harbour, by sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, symbolises the United States’ welcoming to its shores of immigrants seeking refuge and freedom.
A gift to the US in 1885, it also serves as a monument to enduring French-American friendship.
The Statue of Liberty “is like our Eiffel Tower”, said US Embassy representative Liam Wasley at the send-off ceremony, calling it an icon that symbolises not just liberty but “the richness of our relationship” with France.
The smaller version heading to the US had been displayed in Paris at the Musee des Arts et Metiers.