It’s Spring time! In this beautiful weather, we’re introducing a refreshing new adventure that will have you traveling to far lands without leaving your home! Join us as we explore the exotic fountains in Paris that call to our wanderlust! Let’s check out our trip with five spectacular fountains!
Egypt: the Fellah fountain In Paris
Our adventure begins in 1806. In order to supply Paris with water, the Saint-Cloud decree-law planned to build 15 news fountains in Paris. Unfortunately, only five survived into the baron Haussmann urbanisation period, but the Fellah fountain, at 42 rue de Sèvres is one you shouldn’t miss.
Even the title of this work of art (a fellah in North African countries is a farmer) invites us to travel. The statue of this Parisian fountain reminds us of antique Egyptian sculptures, both in its posture and outfit. A marble copy that embodies the lover of the Roman emperor Hadrian named Antinous, but in the guise of Osiris. As it happened to the god, the handsome Ephebe perished drowned in the Nile river. Inconsolable, Hadrian divinized his late lover.
Why would he take inspiration from Egypt? Even the Imperial eagle on top of Antinous-Osiris statue spread out its wings in an Egyptian way. Well, after Napoleon’s expedition to the land of Pharaohs (1789 to 1801) a true Egyptianism expanded in France. The artists and craftspersons drew inspiration from this civilisation that gave a name to a style called Retour d’Egypte (Return trip from Egypt in French). Moreover, among the five imperial fountains from the Saint-Cloud decree-law that still exist, the one Place du Châtelet with its sphinxes also belongs to this artistic movement.
The Fellah fountain, 42 rue de Sèvres, 75006 – Booster2Success©
Fountains in Paris from Leda and Medicis: Greece and Italy
Of the Saint-Cloud decree-law that still exists, like the Mars fountain in the 7th district or the Peace one in the district 6th district, we are focusing on the beautiful Leda fountain, dating from 1807. Initially located on the rue du Regard, the fountain moved during the Haussmann construction and public works. Since 1862 Parisians and world visitors can admire it at the Luxembourg garden.
As you admire the relief on the fountain you can see Leda’s legend unfolding in front of you. The beautiful Spartan princess was lounging along a river when, trying to seduce her, the powerful god Zeus turned her into… a swan! Look for Cupid, the Roman God of love, to appear and is ready to strike!
On the other side of the relief is the marvelous Medicis fountain! It was initially a portico constructed in 1630, that evokes the Italian artificial caves for Henri the 4th wife during her childhood. In 1862 this work of art also moved because of the Baron Haussmann construction. It was transformed into a fountain by the sculptor Auguste Ottin that added a group of statues that relates the legend of Acis and Galatea:
“The delightful nymph Galatea fell in love with the beautiful Acis. Alas, the monstrous Cyclops Polyphemus was burning with desire for Galatea… When he surprised the two lovers in each other’s arms, the jealous creature, drunk with anger, grabbed a rock and crushed Acis! But by the gods! Why choose such a morbid legend as a subject for a fountain? Because Acis was transformed into a river by the gods in which Galatea bathed!“
Fountain in Paris from le marché des Blancs-Manteaux: travel to Assyria
Let’s fly back to the First French Empire. In 1813 a new mark saw the light of day rue Vieille-du-Temple, at the exact location of the former Saint-Gervais hospice. For hygienic reasons, the Pavillon de la viande (Meat pavilion in French) was constructed.
Inaugurated in 1823, the butcher’s shop had two fountains on its facade evoking its function: two bronze bull’s mouths inspired by Assyrian art. This Parisian fountain bears witness to the orientalism in vogue in the 19th century, but also to the rediscovery of Assyrian civilization at that time.
Liked with many other Eastern civilizations, the European artists were filled with enthusiasm with Assyrians. Mixing imagination and history, the sculptor Edmé Gaulle created a fanciful artwork. The two cows are wearing tiaras and their hair is braided in the manner of ancient oriental rulers. These powerful bullocks seem ready for a terrible pagan sacrifice!
Since then, the market has been replaced by a school. However, you can still admire these two bull mascarons during this treasure hunt for adults in the Marais district by Booster2Success! Come join us!
Fountains with bull’s muths located behind the Blancs-Manteaux covered market, Booster2Success©
Quebec: Parisian fountain of the embâcle
We will now leave the fountains in Paris that evokes sunny regions, heading to the Far North as we jump ahead in time to arrive in 1980.
The square place du Quebec, located close to Saint-Germain-des-Prés metro station, had just been inaugurated. In 1984, the artist from Quebec Charles Daudelin created a curious fountain on the square called Emblâcle, reminding him of his homeland. In order to pay tribute to his gorgeous province, the sculptor did not represent gods, heroes, nor a few animals. Instead, he preferred to illustrate through his work the natural phenomenon that strikes the St. Lawrence River.
But, what actually is an embâcle? Well, during the spring thaw, massive blocks of ice break off and are washed away. When these blocks pile up on top of each other and block the waterways, they form an embâcle. So, from now on you will know, while visiting the place du Québec in Paris, what represents these anarchically rising slabs under which the water rises!
You will be able to discover this fountain for yourself in Paris before or after the adult scavenger hunt team building: the Islands of Notre Dame, which is close by. Join us for an afternoon of discovery!
China in Paris: dance of the emerging fountain
To end our refreshing around-the-world trip let’s head to the 13th district of Paris (which is the Chinese district). In 1999, Paris commissioned a work of art to the artist Chen-Zhen in order to decorate the Augusta Holmes Square. Unfortunately, Chen-Zhen died a year later so his widow Xu Min finished the work based upon the sketches.
The aquatic work was inaugurated in 2008. It represents a dragon with part of its body buried in the ground and others emerging from the cobblestones. Under the transparent tubes, you will be able to see pressurized water moving along the wall. At night, this fountain takes on hues as fabulous as Chinese dragons! Absolutely a must-see!
The last recent example shows us that new wonders are still seeing the light of day in the beautiful city of Paris. What will be the next fountains in Paris that will take us on a trip to the other end of the world? Join Booster2Success and we’ll discover it together!
Cover Photo credit: Booster2Success
Booster2Success helps you to travel through its team building and adult scavenger hunt in Paris.
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