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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 November, 2004, 16:42 GMT
'Lewd rubbing' shuts Paris statue
The statue of 19th Century journalist known as Victor Noir
Officials were concerned about damage to the effigy's groin area
Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris has fenced off a famous tomb to prevent lewd acts being performed on a statue.

The effigy of 19th Century journalist known as Victor Noir has long been popular with women visitors.

This is partly due to his reputation as a romantic figure, and partly because of the effigy's design.

Officials concerned about damage to the icon's groin area have erected a fence around the grave, and a sign prohibiting indecent rubbing.

Noir - whose real name was Yvan Salman - was killed by Pierre Bonaparte, a great-nephew of the Emperor Napoleon, after bearing him a challenge to a duel.

According to the story, he was due to get married the day after he was killed.

The statue shows Noir in a frock coat and trousers lying flat on his back, with a distinct enlargement in the groin.

The effigy has been held as an aid to love or fertility.

It is said that a woman who kisses the lips of the prostrate statue and slips a flower into the upturned top hat will find a husband by the end of the year.

The new sign warns: "Any damage caused by graffiti or indecent rubbing will be prosecuted."


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