"Infotainment? What the hell are you talking about?"

Where we get water!

Ok, it's not a toilet for once, but it looks so nice. It is actually an old drinking water fountain found in many public green areas in Paris, and dates back to the good old Second Empire days, when Prefect Haussmann launched his big urbanization campains, consisting in putting more green spaces into Paris, and uniformizing the 'urban furniture', such as park benches or streetlights and such... the more you know!
(And, yes, we actually DO HAVE running water in our houses! Thank god we don't have to queue up for hours in front of theese anymore, just to take a shower...)
Behind the Petit Palais

These ones are called Wallace Fountains, They are named after the Englishman philanthropist Sir Richard Wallace, who financed their construction after the Franco-Prussina War and the resulting siege, that left Paris without its water aqueducts and high water prices. Wallace decided to design and finance the creation of a large number of fountains to give everyone access to cean drinking water.

The four caryatids represent kindness, simplicity, charity and sobriety.

In order to make distribution easier, two tin-plated, iron cups attached to the fountain by a small chain were at the drinker's desire, staying always submerged for more cleanliness. These cups were removed in 1952 "for Hygiene reasons" by demand of the Council of Public Hygiene of the old Department of the Seine. So now, everyone wets himself by trying to get a handfull of water...

Most of the fountains still present in the city still work, and distribute, contrary to popular belief, perfectly potable water. They are the rare points of free water in the city to the great relief of the homeless for whom they are a life-source and the thirst of passers-by which the fountains often quench. Sir Richard Wallace has achieved his goal and probably fulfilled his hopes, although the number of the destitute still on Parisian streets would probably disappoint him 120 years after his actions.

The fountains work from March 15 to November 15 (risk of freezing during the months of winter would imperil the plumbing), are regularly maintained, and repainted every two years.

I think this was enough info for one post! Go drink yourself stupid!


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    I am Cedric, discoverer of things that would go unnoticed in the streets of Paris, historic haven of fashionistas and city of lights ('lights' as in 'enlightenment', not street lights).
    But seriously: I'm an expat from Luxembourg (the country, not the garden), living in the center of Paris (hence 'Paris 2nd arrondissement'), and currenlty studying architectural history...

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