Paris News

Renewed Glitter for Paris Fountains

Are you someone who uses the Saint-Michel Fountain as a convenient meeting spot that no one can overlook? Do you make a quick stop at a Wallace Fountain to refill your water bottle as you pass by? Or maybe you take a moment on a hot day in the Place Saint-Sulpice to appreciate the water cascading down onto the lions surrounding its central fountain? Fountains play a significant role in the charm of Parisian streets, and some of the most iconic ones are currently undergoing cleaning and renovation as part of the Plan Fontaine initiated by the City of Paris to restore them to their former glory.

The Stravinsky Fountain, located next to the Centre Pompidou, recently underwent a two-year restoration and cleanup, marking the first restoration in its 40-year history. The vibrant sculptures, such as a bright blue clown’s hat and a twisting snake, now gleam as they move and rotate over the water, particularly captivating on sunny days when the 33-meter basin shines. This fountain complements the adjacent Centre Pompidou and provides a striking contrast to the nearby 16th-century Saint Merri Church, attracting both intentional visitors and passing observers.

Stravinsky Fountain. Photo: Marian Jones

The fountain’s design dates back to 1983, shortly after the contemporary Centre Pompidou replaced some of the traditional streets of Les Halles. The whimsical sculptures were placed in a walled rectangular basin to create a colorful and joyful urban environment and serve as a conversation starter.

A meticulous restoration has also been undertaken on the Fontaine des Innocents, a historic landmark in the Les Halles area. This extensive project aimed to restore the fountain, originated in 1549 to commemorate Henri II’s royal entry into Paris, to its former glory, emphasizing its significance in the city’s history.

John-James Chalon (1778-1854). “Le marché et la fontaine des Innocents”. Huile sur toile, 1822. Paris, musée Carnavalet.

The Place de la Concorde is now home to two majestic fountains, Fontaine des Mers and Fontaine des Fleuves, recently restored to their former grandeur. These fountains celebrate the themes of the sea and France’s great rivers, embodying the city’s elegance and historical significance.

Furthermore, other notable fountains in Paris, such as the Fontaine Saint-Michel and the Fontaine Saint-Sulpice, are also scheduled for deep cleaning. These fountains represent historical and cultural significance and add to the city’s aesthetic appeal.

Ultimately, the restoration and maintenance of these fountains contribute to the beauty and heritage of Paris, offering residents and visitors alike the chance to appreciate these historical landmarks while passing through the city.

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