The original statue was commissioned by the French government after the defeat of the country in the 1870 Franco-Prussian War. It is the only public commission of the state from 1870 to 1914, called the Golden Age of statuary in Paris, the other statues were funded by private subscriptions.
The sculptor took as his model Aimée Girod (1856–1937), a young woman from Domrémy, Joan of Arc’s village in Lorraine.
The statue was inaugurated in 1874. The pedestal was designed by the architect Paul Abadie.
The artist, who made another version of the monument for the city of Nancy in 1889, replaced the horse of the Parisian monument 10 years later by a copy of the smaller Nancy one, which earned him criticism.
The monument was classified as a historic monument on March 31, 1992.