The fountains of Paris


A little unusual fact that some of you may not know about the fair French capital is that it has over 350 fountains! Rosie Khdir discovers the water features of Paris…

When they were originally constructed the fountains of Paris had a more practical purpose; they provided drinking water for residents of the city.

There are simply too many of the beauties to mention every one in this blog so here is a selection to keep your eyes peeled for when wandering around the City of Light.

One of the oldest fountains in the city is the Fountaine des Innocents, which was built in 1549 to welcome King Henry II into Paris and is currently located in the Marché des Innocents.

The very impressive Medici Fountain, situated in the Jardin du Luxembourg is another of Paris’s golden oldies and was built by a community of artists from Florence for Marie de Marie de Médicis.

Skipping from the earliest of fountain masterpieces to one of the most recent creations, the Stravinsky Fountain next to the Centre Pompidou is definitely a site to behold. It was built by sculptors Jean Tinguely and Niki de Saint Phalle and 1983 and contains 16 colourful modern sculptures that represent things such as love, life and the musical key of G.

The Fontaine de la Victoire is set in the centre of Place du Châtelet, this fountain with its four sphinxes was built in homage to Napoleon’s military victories. The Fountain Saint-Michel is another one to note; it was created in the 19th century by Gabriel Davioud and is the landmark of the Latin Quarter.

The water feature at the Jardin du Trocadéro is a popular place to cool off during the summer months. Nicely positioned beneath the Eiffel Tower these 20 cannons, called “Les grand eaux” are often lit up to create an entertaining show for tourists.

On your travels around Paris you are more than likely to come across more than one Wallace Fountain. There are 66 cast-iron fountains, created by the British industrialist and temperance activist Sir Richard Wallace and 9 small model ones.

As you can see Parisian fountains have been understated and underrated for too long. From the wall fountain of the Poissoniére to the grandeur of the Place de la Concorde you will be amazed at the detail and elegance of these aquatic masterpieces.

P&O Ferries makes up to 25 crossings a day from Dover to Calais. Prices start at just £30 for a car and up to nine people.

Image credit: belgianchocolate

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