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A Wallace fountain outside the Musée Carnavalet, a museum dedicated to the history of Paris. The sculptural drinking fountains are celebrating their 150th anniversary this year. 

A Wallace fountain outside the Musée Carnavalet, a museum dedicated to the history of Paris. The sculptural drinking fountains are celebrating their 150th anniversary this year. 

Photographer: Joséphine Brueder/Ville de Paris
CityLab
Design

Paris’s Iconic Wallace Fountains Get a Second Life

On their 150th anniversary, many of the historic drinking fountains will be outfitted with a misting function, as the city looks to prepare residents for more intense urban heat. 

When Richard Wallace’s green cast-iron fountains were first installed in Paris 150 years ago, crowds of people, mostly working class, flocked toward them in search of free, clean drinking water. Today, their original purpose has largely been eclipsed by their aesthetic appeal as icons of the Parisian landscape. Though the fountains release a constant light flow of potable water during warmer months, they’re hardly being used for drinking.

Now, the city hopes to lure passersby with a new function: a spray to cool off in the summer.