Keys, wallet, phone, water… The continued hot weather adds an extra item to the mental checklist before leaving the house. It’s good to know where you can refill a water bottle too. Paris has over 1200 drinking fountains around the city but they’re not always easy to find. According to the helpful leaflet supplied by Eau de Paris, some 330 drinking fountains are to be found in parks, squares and gardens. The rest are classified as Fontaines de la Rue.
The fountain enthroned in the middle of the double staircase at the end of Rue Rollin has a small plaque fixed alongside. It looks as though it might be an official warning that the water is not fit for drinking. What the plaque actually says is (in approximate translation) ‘this fountain is supplied with treated water from the springs of the Loing and the Voulzie’. Parisians like to know where their water comes from.
There’s been a fountain in Rue Rollin since the sixteenth century but this cast iron street fountain was a nineteenth century installation funded, along with 125 others, by the British philanthropist Richard Wallace.
In recent years Eau de Paris and la Ville de Paris have collaborated on the installation of several new styles of drinking fountain. The design for La Millénaire was the result of a turn of the century design competition. It’s probably quite convenient if you just want a quick mouthful of water but when I passed this fountain by Notre Dame cathedral yesterday a queue was building up while puzzled tourists tried to fill water bottles from the arcing jet.
The stainless steel Totem fountains are very practical for filling water bottles but not so easy if you’re trying to get your head under the tap to drink direct. That wasn’t an option outside the Hôtel de Ville yesterday as the fountain was the wrong side of a temporary fence. Reaching through a fence for water that is out of bounds is simply a matter of bad planning here but in a less fortunate parts of the world it could be an image of the future.
(Click on any photo for a closer view)