Image: France Obama Wax Museum
Michel Euler  /  AP
The hand of a make-up artist, right, is seen putting the final touch to a life-size wax model of U.S. President Barack Obama, during its presentation near the Eiffel Tower in Paris, June 29.
updated 6/29/2009 4:00:41 PM ET 2009-06-29T20:00:41

Complete with new gray hairs and two bodyguards, a wax version of President Barack Obama took a trip Monday to the Eiffel Tower.

After visiting France's most famous monument, the statue traveled to Paris' Musee Grevin wax museum, where it will stand alongside the likenesses of Nicolas Sarkozy, Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin.

Sculptor Eric Saint Chaffray had never seen Obama in person. "The main difficulty is making it without meeting him, from press photos," he said as the statue was unveiled Monday. The hot summer sun at the Eiffel Tower threatened to melt the fake president's face, prompting helpers to shade him with an umbrella.

Saint Chaffray has been creating wax statues for the museum for the past 20 years, and has worked on American presidents in the past.

Dressed in a dark suit, the wax statue of Obama looked very serious. "We're presenting Barack Obama at the Musee Grevin as part of a gathering of heads of state, which is why he has kind of an official attitude, a little bit stiff," Saint Chaffray said.

The resemblance was so uncanny — down to the gray hair Obama is said to have acquired since the beginning of his presidential campaign — that some tourists stopped for a photo opportunity.

"It looks really cool," said American tourist Emily Artes. "Everyone was joking that he was actually here and that we were gonna take pictures with him."

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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