Later, I wondered who in the world this bronze guy was meant to be*.
One of the many reasons to rejoice in having survived until this point in human history: this website here, which lists all the sculptures that can be found on the streets and public gardens of the City of Light. Sorted and searchable by area, by subject, by artist, et cetera. With links.
I know, I know -- the internet offers so many surprises and pleasant diversions, but Jupiter! A listing of public art for a whole city? A really complete listing? Because, as the site explains, unhappily (perhaps my favorite word in French: "malheuresement"), visitors and passers-by might not know the names and artists of the many many pieces of art that grace the streets of Paris.
That's just crazy cool. Nerdy amazing. In a different decade, I'd have to give up the idea of identifying it until a return trip. If I could find it again. If I went again. If it were labeled.
*The sculpture is called "Hommage à Georges Pompidou." It's in Les jardins de Champs Elysées and was made by Louis Derbré in 1985. Pompidou was of course a former president of France, and I stand by my initial assessment of the sculpture. He looks a little spooky.