Fountains in Paris

Few cities can boast as many beautiful and spectacular fountains as Paris. There are several hundred fountains in Paris proper, and there are an additional fifty at the Versailles Palace and yet more in the banlieues (suburbs) of Paris.

Below a sample of some of the most interesting and impressive fountains in Paris and environs, listed alphabetically.

Listed alphabetically
Fontaine Alfred de Musset

This fountain stands in a small garden near the Grand Palais. It was created in 1910 by the sculptor Alphone Moncel in homage to the French poet Alfred de Musset. The fountain, which has been dubbed ‘Rêve du poête’ (Dream of the poet), shows a large relief in white marble flanked by ornamental Corinthian columns.

Fontaine Apollon

The Apollo Fountain is one of several spectacular fountains in the gardens of the Versailles Palace, just outside Paris. The bronze fountain shows Apollo in a chariot drawn by four horses and accompanied by Tritons. The fountain was created in the 17th century by sculptor Jean-Baptiste Tuby as the centerpiece of the Grand Canal.

Fontaine aux Lions

This fountain, created by Gabriel Davioud, is also known as the Fontaine du Château d’eau. It was originally installed at the Place de la République, where it formed a compliment to the Fontaine aux Lions de Nubie. Today, the fountain stands at the center of the Place Félix-Éboué.

Fontaine aux Lions de Nubie

The Fountaine aux Lions de Nubie (Nubian Lions Fountain) is located at the south end of the Parc de la Villette, a large modern park in the 19th arrondissement. The fountain is named for the water-spouting lion sculptures in Egyptian style. The fountain was designed in 1811 by engineer Pierre Girard and placed here in 1867.

Fontaine Charlemagne

The Fontaine Charlemagne, located in the Rue Charlemagne, behind the St. Paul – St. Louis church, shows a small child holding a shell. It stands on top of a basin that is supported by large fish. The fountain is set inside a niche decorated with flower motifs. The pediment on top of the niche shows the emblem of Paris. Right below, on the frieze, is an inscription that shows the year it was built: 1840.

Fontaine Cuvier

The Cuvier fountain was built in 1840 by architect Alphonse Vigoureux in honor of Georges Cuvier, a prominent French anatomist. The fountain is located in the 5th arrondissement, just outside the Jardin des Plantes. The central female figure, sculpted by Jean-Jacques Feuchère, is an allegorical representation of natural history.

Fontaine de Diane

The Fontaine de Diane, also known as the Fontaine Le Doyen, is one of several fountains in the Jardins des Champs-Élysées that border the famous avenue of the same name. It was designed by Jacques Hittorff, the architect who also created the fountains on the nearby Place de la Concorde. The fountain was installed here in 1840.

Fontaine de l’Archevêché

The Fountain of the Archbishopric, also known as the Fontaine de la Vierge (Fountain of the Virgin Mary), is a small fountain located right behind the Notre-Dame Cathedral. The fountain was created in 1843 by sculptor Louis-Parfait Merlieux. It is designed like a tall church spire, in which stands a statue of a Madonna and Child.

Fontaine de l’Observatoire

The Fontaine de l’Observatoire, in the Jardins de l’Observatoire, is one of the most magnificent fountains in Paris. It was designed in 1873 and shows allegorical figures representing Europe, Asia, Africa and America, all created by sculptor Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux. The female figures support a large globe with a ribbon decorated with zodiac signs. In the large basin are more sculptures of horses, turtles and fish.

Fontaine de la Baleine bleue

The frivolous Fontaine de la Baleine Bleue (Fountain of the Blue Whale) was created in 1982 by Michel Le Corru and Gabrielle Brechon. The fountain, rarely visited by tourists but a hit with children in the neighborhood, shows a large whale decorated with colorful mosaic tiles surrounded by small water spouting jets.

Fontaine de la Grille du Coq

The Fontaine de la Grille du Coq is a fountain in the gardens of the Champs-Élysées, near the Élysée (the Residence of the French President). Its design is almost identical to that of the Fontaine de Diane nearby in the same garden, the main difference being the absence of a statue. This is no coincidence: both were made by the same architect: Jacques Hittorff.

Fontaine de la Paix

The Fontaine de la Paix (Fountain of Peace) was created in 1810 to commemorate the Treaty of Amiens, a peace treaty between the French Republic and the United Kingdom. The fountains is decorated with garlands and marble bas-reliefs that symbolize Peace, Science and the Arts, Commerce and Agriculture.

Fontaine de la Porte Dorée

In the 12th arrondissement at the place Édouard-Renard, near the border of Paris proper, stands the Fontaine de la Porte Dorée. The fountain consists of a series of cascades with at the top a gilded statue of the goddess Pallas Athena who is dressed as a warrior. The statue was created in 1931 by Léon-Ernest Drivier for the Colonial exposition. The accompanying fountain was created later, in 1935, by Louis Madeline.

Fontaine de Latone

One of the largest and possibly the most famous of the many fountains in the gardens of Versailles – the grand palace built just outside Paris by King Louis XIV – is the Latona Fountain. The marble fountain in wedding-cake style depicts a mythical scene. It was created in the 17th century by the brothers Gaspard and Balthazar Marsy.

Fontaine de Léda

One of Paris’s most famous fountains is the Médicis Fountain in the Luxembourg Garden. What most people don’t realize is that at the back of this fountain, there is another large fountain: the ‘Fontaine de Léda’. It was originally created in 1806 by sculptor Achille Valois. A relief shows Leda, the Queen of Sparta, near the water with the god Zeus disguised as a swan.

Fontaine de Mars

Also known as the Fontaine du Gros-Caillou, the Fontaine de Mars is a Neoclassical fountain in the rue Saint-Dominique in the 7th arrondissement, not far from the Eiffel Tower. The fountain was created in the early 19th century by François-Jean Bralle and Pierre-Nicolas Beauvalet. The side facing the street shows the mythical figures of Mars and Hygieia.

Fontaine de Pelletier et Caventou

This fountain on the Boulevard Saint-Michel honors the 19th-century pharmacists Joseph Bienaimé Caventou and Pierre Joseph Pelletier. It consists of a large base emblazoned with two medallions, and an allegorical statue of ‘Fever’ lying on top. The fountain was installed here in 1951 and replaced a bronze monument that was melted down during WWII.

Fontaine de Varsovie

Thanks to its location close to the Eiffel Tower the Fontaine de Varsovie – often called Fontaine du Trocadéro – is one of the most photographed fountains in Paris. The fountain was built in front of the Chaillot Palace for the Universal Exposition of 1937. It consists of a series of terraced basins with twenty water canons and 68 water jets that create a quite spectacular water show.

Fontaine Delacroix

This fountain was erected in honor of the French painter Eugène Delacroix. It was created in 1890 by Jules Dalou and installed in the Luxembourg garden. At the top is a bust of Delacroix; the dynamic statues below represent the Genius of Time and History, Arts, and Glory.

Fontaine des Arts et Métiers

This fountain is located on a square in front of the ‘Conservatoire national des arts et métiers’ (National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts), hence its name. In fact, it’s a collection of two fountains: the one on the north side shows allegorical figures of Industry and Agriculture; the one on the south side, Mercury and Music.

Fontaine des Fleuves

The Fontaine des Fleuves (Fountain of the Rivers) is one of two almost identical fountains at the Place de La Concorde. The fountain is located at the north side of the square, the one on the south end of the square is known as the Fontaine des Mers. The Fontaine des Fleuves was created in the mid 19th century by Jacques Ignace Hittorff and shows allegorical figures representing, among others, the rivers Seine and Rhône.

The Fontaine des Innocents is a large fountain located near the Forum des Halles at the site of a former cemetery. The fountain was built in the mid 19th century after a design by architect Jean Goujon, who also worked on the Louvre Palace. Originally the fountain was placed against a wall but in 1788 it was relocated to its current position at the center of the Square des Innocents.

Fontaine des Mers

The Fountain of the Sea, sometimes also called Maritime Fountain, is located at the south side of the Place de la Concorde opposite the central obelisk from the similar Fountain of the Rivers (Fontaine des Fleuves). The fountain is adorned with large statues of allegorical figures symbolizing seas. In the basin are mythological statues of Tritons and sea nymphs.

Fontaine des Quatre Points Cardinaux

This impressive fountain is located at the center of the Place St-Sulpice, in front of the St. Sulpice church and is also known by the name of Fontaine St-Sulpice. The fountain was built in the mid-19th century and was designed by architect Louis Visconti. The three-tiered fountain is surrounded by lion statues. At the center are four niches with statues of 17th-century bishops.

Fontaine des Quatre Saisons

The Monumental Fontaine des Quatre Saisons (Fountain of the four seasons) was built between 1739 and 1745 against a wall at the rue de Grenelle. The fountain is one of the largest in Paris. It consists of a neoclassical front with two large wings decorated with statues and reliefs that symbolize the four seasons of the year. At the center is an allegorical statue of Paris.

Fontaine Dragon (Emerging Fountain)

Officially entitled “Danse de la Fontaine Émergente” (Dance of the Emerging Fountain), this modern fountain was created in 2000 by the French-Chinese artist Chen Zhen for the new neighborhood that was being developed near the modern National Library. The snake-like dragon rises out of a wall and dives into the ground towards the Seine river.

Fontaine Dragon (Versailles)

Another Dragon Fountain, but this time a monumental version found in the gardens of the Versailles Palace. It shows Python, the mythical dragon that was killed by Apollo. The water spouting monster is surrounded by ferocious looking sea creatures and swan-riding cupids armed with bows.

Fontaine du Cirque

In 1836-1840, when Jacques-Ignace Hittorf redeveloped the Champs-Élysées and the Place de la Concorde, he also laid out the Jardins des Champs-Élysées. Hittorf himself designed three new fountains for the gardens, including this one, which shows four small children supporting a basin. The fountain is also known as the ‘Fontaine des Quatre Saisons’ (Fountain of the Four Seasons).

Fontaine du Fellah

The Fontaine du Fellah is one of the most exotic fountains in Paris. The Egyptian-style fountain was built during the reign of Napoleon, and commemorates the emperor’s military campaign in Egypt. The design of the fountain is presumably based on a Roman statue of Antinous dressed as the Egyptian god Osiris. The fountain is located right near the Vaneau metro entrance.

Fontaine du Jardin des Plantes

Opposite the Fontaine Cuvier, right past the entrance to the Jardin de Plantes, visitors to the botanical garden can see a fountain that is partially overgrown with plants. The fountain, created in 1857, consists of an exedra with a water spouting mascaron. On top of the fountain are two monumental bronze lion statues.

Fontaine du Jardin Villemin

This cast-iron fountain was designed by the French sculptor Marie Auguste Martin. It shows two Tritons who support a vase. In the vase sit a dolphin and a child. The fountain was created in 1846 and was originally installed in the rue du Faubourg-Saint-Martin. Today it sits in the Jardin Villemin, a garden in the 10th arrondissement.

Fontaine du Palmier

Also known as the Fontaine du Châtelet or Fontaine de la Victoire, this fountain was – similarly to the Fontaine du Fellah – created to commemorate some of Napoleon’s successful campaigns. At the center of the fountain stands a tall column with a gilded statue of Victory. The statues of sphinxes at the basin below represent famous battles of the Napoleonic Wars.

Fontaine du Triomphe de Bacchus

In the Jardin des Serres d’Auteuil, a botanical garden at the southern edge of the Bois de Boulogne, stands a fountain with a beautiful relief sculpture created in the late 19th century by French sculptor Aime Jules Dalou. The relief sculpture is entitled Triumph of Bacchus and shows a scene of a Bacchanal, an orgy-like drinking festival in honor of the god Bacchus.

Fontaine François Ier

This fountain was designed in 1865 by architect Gabriel Davioud, who also designed the Fontaine St-Michel and several other fountains in Paris. The Fontaine François Ier was initially installed at the square in front of the Madeleine, but since it hindered traffic, it was moved to its current location in a posh neighborhood at the Place François Ier.

Fontaine Gaillon

The Fontaine Gaillon is an elegant fountain at the corner of Rue Gaillon and Rue Saint-Augustin in the 2nd arrondissement. The fountain was originally created in 1707 by architect Jean Beausire. In 1827, it was rebuilt by Louis Visconti. The fountain consists of a basin with a small putto riding a large fish while aiming with his trident.

Fontaine Gambetta

In the middle of the Place Gambetta, in front of the Mairie of the 20th arrondissement, stands a monumental fountain made of glass and steel. The fountain was created in 1992 by architect Alfred Gindre in cooperation with sculptor Jean Dixmier and Jean-Lous Rousselet, a master glassmaker.

Fontaine Jacob

In 1978 a small fountain was placed at the center of a tiny garden in the rue Jacob. It is probably the most elegant of all modern fountains in Paris. The fountain, created by sculptor Guy Lartigue, consists of marble plates that form a sphere. Water flows from the top of the sphere into a basin.

Fontaine Jussieu

Paris has more than just historical fountains, the city also boasts plenty of modern fountains such as the Jussieu fountain which is located in the fifth arrondissement, near the entrance of the Jussieu campus of the Paris Diderot University. The fountain was created in 1994 by sculptor Guy Larrigue, who dubs it La Bouche de la Vérité (Mouth of Truth).

Fontaine l’Embâcle

The Fontaine l’Embâcle is a modern fountain created in 1984 by the Québécois artist Charles Daudelin. It was aptly installed on the Place du Québec, hence it is also known as the ‘Fontaine du Québec’. The fountain was made of curved metal plates that make it seem like the fountain erupted out of the ground.

Fontaine Levassor

This stone monument was originally a fountain made in honor of Émile Levassor, a French pioneer of the automobile industry. It was created in 1907 by architect Gustave Rives and sculptor Camille Lefevre, and was installed in the Bois de Boulogne. Today it stands a bit forlorn near the Porte-Maillot, one of the main vehicular access points into the center of Paris.

Fontaine Louvois

The Fontaine Louvois is a huge fountain created in 1844 by architect Louis Visconti and sculptor Jean-Baptiste Klagmann. The four large allegorical statues represent four rivers of France: the Seine, the Loire, the Garonne and the Saône. Below are statues of dolphin-riding putti with tridents.

This romantic fountain was created in 1620 for Marie de’ Medici, widow of King Henry IV. It is located in the popular Luxembourg Garden. The cave-like fountain was originally known as the Grotte du Luxembourg. The statues of Polyphemus and the lovers Acis and Galatea were added much later, in 1866.

Fontaine Molière

Molière, one of the greatest French playwrights in history, is honored with a large fountain. The monumental fountain was created in the 19th century by Louis Visconti. The bronze seated statue of Molière, created by sculptor Bernard-Gabriel Seurre is perched upon a large pedestal flanked by marble female figures, allegorical representations of Light Comedy and Serious Comedy. Molière lived nearby, in the Rue de Richelieu.

Fontaine Pastorale

The Fontaine Pastorale is located near the side of the Church of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. The fountain was installed here in 1925. It consists of a stone base from which three jets spout water into a basin. Above the base is a large mural created by the sculptor Félix-Alexandre Desruelles that depicts a bucolic scene.

The Fontaine Saint-Michel is one of the most monumental fountains in Paris. The fountain dominates the Place St Michel, a public square in the Latin Quarter. The fountain was created in the mid-19th century by architect Gabriel Davioud and shows a central bronze statue of St. Michael and the devil.

The Stravinsky Fountain, situated near the Centre Pompidou, is the most colorful fountain in Paris. The fountain consists of mechanical and water spouting sculptures set in a large rectangular basin. Musical pieces of the Russian composer Igor Stravinsky were the inspiration for the 16 different sculptures.

Fontaines de la Trinité

Integrated into the balustrade in front of the Trinité church in the ninth arrondissement are three fountains, each surmounted with an allegorical statue: from left to right they represent Faith, Charity and Hope. Below those statues are cascading bowls along which water flows into a single large basin. The fountain was created in 1864-1865 by the architect Adolphe Alphand.

Fontaines du Théâtre Français

In 1874 two similar fountains were installed at the Place André Malraux, close to the Louvre and Palais Royal. They were created by Gabriel Davioud, who also built the monumental St. Michel Fountain. Both fountains are adorned with a statue of a nymph. The one on the fountain near the Comédie Française is known as the Nymphe Fluviale while the other is called Nymphe Marine.

Fontaines Laveran

The two identical fountains opposite the impressive Val-de-Grâce church were installed in 1995. Water flows from a central basin into smaller rectangular and semicircular basins. The fountains are named after the small Alphonse-Laveran square, which in turn is named in honor of a French Nobel Prize winner.

Fontaines Wallace

In 1872 Richard Wallace, a wealthy British art collector, donated 50 drinking fountains to the city of Paris. The green-colored fountains can be found all over the city. The elegant wrought iron fountains were designed by sculptor Charles-Auguste Lebourg. The fountains are easily recognizable thanks to the four small caryatids that support a small roof covering the fountain’s water jet.

Jeux d’eau Parc André Citroën

The Jeux d’eau in the late 20th-century Park Citroën is a modern fountain with 120 jets spouting water, with each of the jets rhythmically changing height. They are a big hit with children who like to walk and run in the fountain on hot summer days.

Petite Fontaine des Innocents

This is Paris’s version of Brussels’s Manneken Pis and Copenhagen’s Caritas Fountain. It shows a woman holding a little peeing boy. The fountain is located in Montmartre, in the southwest corner of the Square Louise Michel, at the foot of the Sacré-Coeur. The fountain was created in 1906 by the French sculptor Émile Derré.

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