Fodor's Expert Review Manneken Pis
Despite drawing sightseers for centuries and launching a countless number of tchotchkes, the minuscule statue of the peeing boy may leave you underwhelmed. The first mention of the Manneken dates from 1377, and he's said to symbolize what Belgians think of the authorities, especially those of occupying forces. The present version was commissioned from noted sculptor Jerome Duquesnoy in 1619. It is a copy; the original was seized by French soldiers in 1747. In restitution, King Louis XV of France was the first to present Manneken Pis with a gold-embroidered suit. The statue now has more than 800 other costumes for ceremonial occasions, an ever-increasing collection whose list of benefactors include John Malkovich and the late Dennis Hopper, and his own personal dresser. On one or two days of the year, he spouts wine or beer, rather than water. A female version set up by an enterprising restaurateur, the Jeanneke Pis, can be found off the rue des Bouchers.