© Gregory Mathelot
The Singe du Grand-Garde (Guardhouse Monkey) is a little cast-iron statue of a monkey sitting on the outside wall of the Hôtel de Ville. It is a famous good-luck charm and a symbol of the city. Passersby will stop to stroke its head (always with their left hand) to bring them luck or make a wish come true. Anyone can do it. No-one seems to know the source of the monkey and quite how it got here. One story claims that it was a kind of pillory to which naughty children could be tied and publicly humiliated. The mystery is part of its magic and its charm, of course.