If you go to Vernet-les-Bains, look out for the ‘Entente Cordiale’ monument next to the mairie, the only one of its kind in France. Two white marble statues representing France and Britain perch upon the Canigou granite base, sculpted by Roussillon sculptor Gustave Violet. Proposed in 1912, it was originally to be built in honour of the wealthy Brits who frequented the fashionable spa town.
Work quickly started on the monument, as ox drawn carts dragged granite from the bed of the River St-Vincent. The outbreak of WW1 brought the project to an end and it wasn’t until August 1920 that the decision was made to continue the monument, dedicated both to the Entente Cordiale and to the memory of those killed during the war. When the monument was completed, it bore the following dedication:
“To the Entente Cordiale between France and Britain. To the glory of the Allied Nations. To the memory of soldiers from Vernet who died for their country”