Breasts upset French mayor
The mayor of a town in France has thrown a patriotic female statue out of his town hall because its breasts were too big, his aides said on Friday.
The terra-cotta bust of Marianne -- the traditional female embodiment of the French Republic in a Phrygian cap -- was an original work by a local artist, installed in 2007 at the town hall in Neuville-en-Ferrain, population 10,000.
"It was making people gossip," said one town hall employee who asked not to be named. "Remarks were made, during weddings for example."
Mayor Gerard Cordon persuaded councilors to approve 900 euros ($1,280) in this year's budget to buy a replacement, a more conventional bust of Marianne modelled on the statuesque French model Laetitia Casta.
The artist who made the rejected bust, Catherine Lamacque, said she gave it outsized breasts deliberately, "to symbolize the generosity of the Republic."
The town hall bought her terra-cotta statue in 2007 for 1,400 euros.
"The mayor has had it under his nose for several years. He chose it from among other designs even before I baked it," she told AFP.
"His decision is absurd. I only hope he will not have it destroyed."
Another town hall official who asked not to be named said he regretted the bust's removal, which was done "not by a joint decision but by the mayor alone."
"It was a unique work," he said. "After all, Marianne is a symbol of motherhood."