The most impressive Parisian fountains

Outings | A day in Paris

Discover the many parisian fountains

fontaine-wallace-paris-1160x770_byespritdefrance.pngParis counts more than 200 fountains in its gardens, squares or crossroads. Originally, they allowed access to drinking water for the population. Among the rare fountains of the Ancien Régime which still remain today, the most beautiful one is undoubtedly that of the Saints Innocents, which was built by Pierre Lescot and sculpted by the famous Jean Goujon during the reign of François I; it is currently located in the Halles district in central Paris. This function of providing Parisians with drinking water is still ensured today by the Wallace fountains, which are named after the English philanthropist who financed their construction after the 1870 war. These small dark green cast iron aedicules punctuate our squares: both elegant and discreet, they are decorated with four small caryatids supporting a dome.  

It was also in the 19th century that the large and beautiful prestigious fountains that decorate the capital space were built. The most splendid ones are on the Place de la Concorde, on either side of the obelisk. To the south, the Fountain of the Seas and to the north, the Fountain of the Rivers are practically twins with their high basins, their seated figures and their tritons which propel the water in powerful jets. Their cast iron painted in brown, green and gold gives them a really exceptional shine. More classic but just as monumental are the fountains of the Observatoire and Saint-Sulpice. At the top of the Jardin du Luxembourg, the first one which represents the four parts of the world by allegorical figures (Africa, America, Asia and Europe) supporting a terrestrial globe, was achieved by the great sculptor Carpeaux. The second one, located on the forecourt of the Saint Sulpice church, was designed by the architect Louis Visconti. It has three orthogonal basins supporting a square-based aedicule with four niches housing the figures of great preachers. Mischievously, it is nicknamed the fountain of the four cardinal point(s) because the bishops who adorn it were never named cardinals! 

fontaine_stravinsky_paris_4_jean_tinguely_niki_de_saint_phalle_17_byespritdefrance.jpgThe 20th century has also left us some remarkable fountains. Let’s mention the Trocadéro’s (more exactly called Fountain of Warsaw) which dates from the replacement of the Palais du Trocadéro by the Palais de Chaillot in 1937. Facing the Eiffel Tower, in tiered rectangular basins, it is the most powerful of Parisian fountains with its 20 water cannons having an oblique range of 50 meters and its 68 water columns. But the most eccentric fountain is no doubt the Stravinsky fountain imagined by artists Jean Tinguely and Niki de Saint-Phalle when the Centre Pompidou opened. This creation, located next to the Centre Pompidou, evokes composer Igor Stravinsky’s musical work: it appears as a large pool inhabited by creatures and machines both enigmatic and colorful, which are animated by jets of water. Lined with cafes, this playful work is a delight for all ages!