Statue of Nimeno II
Venus of Maillol
Statue of Nimeno II
This lifelike statue of Nimeño II is located next to the Amphitheater in the center of Nimes, France. His real name was Christian Montcouquiol and he was known as the best French bullfighter of all time. His vibrant personality was directly linked to the spectacular rebirth of the love of bullfighting in France towards the end of the 20th Century.
The brother of Alain Montcouquiol, known as “Nimeño I”, he was born in the German town of Spire, into a French military family. He owed his bullfighting nom de guerre to the fact that he lived in Nimes from the age of 18 months. The bullfighting environment in Nimes and the influence of his brother were decisive in his passion for bullfighting.
During the height of his career he appeared in arenas across Spain, France, and Latin America. On May 14, 1989 in Nîmes, Nimeño II and Victor Mendes were scheduled to fight six bulls. Mendes was injured early in the match, and Nimeño II won renown for defeating all six bulls single-handedly.
On September 10, 1989 in Arles, only a few months later Nimeño II was hurled into the air by a bull named Pañolero who weighed 549 kilos. He landed on his head, fracturing his cervical vertebrae and suffered paraplegia as a result of his injuries.
Wounded numerous times, Nimeño II’s body was covered in scars however thanks to his will, he surprised the doctors who had predicted his total paralysis and after long months of fighting his injuries he recovered many of his functions, but never that of his left hand.
Having to accept that he would never set foot in the ring again, to live a life deprived of the bulls, a universe in which he tested his talent and that gave him all his glory, he found no reason to continue living. On November 25, 1991 he committed suicide by hanging himself in his garage at age 37.
The bullfighting arenas of Eauze and Caveirac are named after him and a statue was erected in his honor at the arena in Nîmes where the annual “Trophy Nimeño II” is awarded to the leading junior bullfighters as they set out on their careers.