Fontaines Wallace, Paris

4.5
#934 of 2,935 in Things to do in Paris
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
39 reviews
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  • With the heat wave that is raging these days in Paris, there is no need to justify the importance of these fountains for Parisians. They are public drinking water points; there were 120 in 2011. But they are also elements of the cultural and historical heritage of Paris. There are four different models but the two most common are the large (2.71 m height) and the small size (1.32 m). The large-format model (95) is easily identifiable to its four cariatids (statue of a woman wearing a long tunic, supporting a sitonment on her head; thus replacing a column). These allegorical figures represent four virtues as well as the four seasons: simplicity (spring), charity (summer), sobriety (autumn) and goodness (winter). The small model (numbering 21, especially in parks and squares) consists of a simple fire hydrant with a push button. Wallace fountains are made of cast iron and painted green. Newer versions have other colours. Their history dates back to 1872, after France's war against Prussia, which ended in bitter defeat with the loss of Alsace and Lorraine and a general impoverishment of the population. This is where Sir Richard Wallace, a British philanthropist living in Paris, comes in who decides to share a recent legacy with Parisians by providing them with fountains to supply water to different corners of Paris (he funds also building a hospital). Some also associate it with the design of these fountains, while others attribute their authorship to the French sculptor Charles-Auguste Lebourg (1829-1906). These fountains can be found all over the world, including one on St. Paul Street in the beautiful city of Quebec (large format).
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  • This is a nice art work in the center of a nice square. I gave it a quick look while walking by on a tour. It is nice and looks old.  more »
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