A Free and Refreshing Way to Wet Your Whistle in Paris

 
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While visiting Paris, on your wanderings through the city, you may have passed by some of these gems in public parks, in the streets and squares throughout the neighborhoods of Paris and not have realized that they are there for you to use. Today there are 120 of these cast iron, elegant beauties, mostly colored forest green, but you will spot some in more avant-garde colors in bold red, pink, blue and yellow, located in the 13th district in the south west of Paris.

PLEASE NOTE

The fountains only have running water from March 15th to November 15th, because of the risk freezing and damage to the pipes during the winter months.

These are the Wallace Fountains, the most iconic of all the drinking fountains in Paris. The main model you will see is free standing with four caryatids representing Kindness, Simplicity, Charity and Sobriety. Their water is pure and drinkable. It is free for all Parisians and tourists alike to enjoy so don’t hesitate to top up your water bottle if passing one on a warm summer day. One is situated across from the Original Flavors of Paris food tour meeting point at the Saint-Germain-des-Prés church and sometimes we will stop there for a fill up.

Eau de Paris is the name of the municipal service that is responsible for the protection of the city’s drinking water. Paris takes great pride in the quality of its drinking water. This department is responsible for providing free quality drinking water. It maintains and monitors 1200 drinking fountains (the Wallace Fountains included) throughout the city, even making sure that the water is chilled to a pleasant 6 degrees celsius, and they have plans to add more drinking points.

Keep your eye out for these beauties. They are all around Paris and there is a list of addresses of all of the Wallace Fountains on the official Wallace Fountain website. They even have self-guided walking tours so you can learn more about them while you visit Paris.

Why are they called the “Wallace” Fountains?

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DID YOU KNOW?

The Wallace Fountains are only a portion of 1,200 fresh water fountains in Paris, and that 15 of them have sparkling water! The sparkling water fountains look like large metal water coolers and are called “fontaines pétillante”.

No need to worry about getting parched during your strolls through the city. Eau de Paris has an official map with 1140 drinking fountains so you can find one near you.

You may be thinking that the name Wallace doesn’t sound particularly French and you would be right. The Wallace Fountains are named after the wealthy art collector and philanthropist Sir Richard Wallace, Baronet (1818 - 1890).

Sir Wallace moved to Paris from London in 1870 after inheriting a large fortune from his father. This wasn’t the best time to move to Paris as this was the same time that the Franco/Prussian war was initiated by Napoleon III, and he wasn’t nearly as cunning as his famous uncle. Needless to say, it didn’t go well for the French. The military losses were huge, the city of Paris was devastated, and the people suffered shortages of food and water. The folks were so starved that they were driven to eat every animal in the city, including pets, zoo animals and even rats from the sewers. 

Wallace was a great humanitarian. At this time the city’s infrastructure was in ruins and its suffering citizens were expected to pay exorbitant prices for water so he gifted 50 fountains with clean drinking water to the city in 1871 during its reconstruction. Prior to that, he started a hospital to treat war casualties, he funded a commission to provide new ambulances, and personally distributed provisions to people in need. 

Sir Richard Wallace had a soft spot for Paris and remained there until his death in 1890. Actually, he still resides here posthumously. You will find his grave in the famous Père-Lachaise Cemetery in the east end of the city.

Paris prides itself on the purity of its drinking water, so don’t hesitate to take a cool and refreshing drink from one of its Wallace Fountains, and remember the super nice guy who put them there, back in 1871.

Where To Beat the Heat and Eat in Paris

Cafe de Flore , 172 boulevard Saint Germain, 75006

Cafe de Flore, 172 boulevard Saint Germain, 75006

The French, it seems, are not big on air conditioning, nor fans for that matter. Before I moved permanently to Paris, I would rent apartments in the city and during the summer months I often had to make a special request of the owner to purchase a fan for the apartment because there was never one to be found on the premises. They owners thought of it as a rather unusual request, like I was asking for a baby dinosaur shaped tea infuser, (Yes. They do exist), but ultimately they did kindly oblige.

I was talking with the cheese-monger one day at the local, covered farmers market. It gets super hot for the folks working behind the stall because there are currents of hot air exiting from the motors of the refrigerators that keep the cheeses on display cool. I asked him why they didn’t have any fans and he made the typical French pouty lip and expressed that, “fans just blow the hot air around.” Obviously, the French are not convinced about the efficacy of fans. I however, am a true believer in them and I have no less than three of them in my little studio apartment here in Paris.

Air conditioning here in Paris is also not that common, although it is becoming more so, and finding an air conditioned restaurant.

We are already experiencing a second heatwave so far this summer, and there are more hot days to come so Flavors of Paris has sussed out for you, some restaurants around Paris where you can escape the heat and enjoy a good meal.

 
 

1st

ENGLISH BAR AT HOTEL REGINA €€€
Open everyday from 10.30am to 12am

2 Place des Pyramides, 75001

Tel. +33 (0)1 42 60 31 10

4th

BOFINGER €€€

French restaurant

Open every day.

5-7 Rue de la Bastille, 75004

Tel. +33 (0)1 42 72 87 82

6th

CAFE DE FLORE (upstairs) €€€

Classic, French cafe and menu.

Open every day.

172 boulevard Saint Germain, 75006

Tel. +33 (0) 1 45 48 55 26

UN DIMANCHE A PARIS €€€€

French European

Open every day.

4 Cour du Commerce Saint Andre, 75006

Tel. +33 (0)1 56 81 18 18

LA CLOSERIE DE LILAS €€€

Restaurant, French cuisine

Open every day.

171 Boulevard du Montparnasse, 75006

Tel. +33 (0)1 40 51 34 50

LES EDITEURS

Open every day.

4 Carrefour de l’Odeon, 75006

Tel. +33 (0)1 43 26 67 76

11th

THE BLUE ELEPHANT €€€€

Thai restaurant

Open every day.

45 Rue de la Roquette, 75011

Tel. +33 (0)1 47 00 42 00

 

5th

ASSIETTES AUX FROMAGES €€-€€€

Savoyards specialties

Open every day.

25 rue Mouffetard, 75005

Tel. +33 (0)1 43 36 91 59

7th

DOMAINE D’OLLEAC €€-€€€

Traditional cuisine from the French Pyrenese mountains.

Open every day.

20 rue Rousselet , 75007

Tel. +33 (0)1 45 66 88 23

8th

L’AVENUE €€€€

Restaurant

Good variety of dishes.

Open every day.

41 Avenue Montaigne, 75008

Tel +33 (0)1 40 70 14 91

LES COCOTTES ARC DE TRIOMPHE €€€

Michelin rated restaurant

2 Avenue Bertie Albrecht, 75008

Tel. +33 (0)1 53 89 50 53

MAISON BLANCHE €€€€

Michelin rated. French/European cuisine.

Open every day.

15 Avenue Montaigne, 75008

Tel, +33 (0)1 47 23 55 99

14th

CAFE BOHEME €€-€€€

Open every day.

Casual. Good burgers.

19 Boulevard Edgar Quinet, 75014

Tel. +33 (0)1 43 27 01 33

 

Escape the heat and eat tips:

  1. Higher end hotels often have restaurants that have air conditioning so they are often a good option.

  2. The larger Monoprix’, a chain of grocery stores in Paris, have a section with sandwiches, salads, sushi, pastries, and other food items for purchase and a place to eat are all air conditioned. It’s an option for a quick low-cost lunch in an air-conditioned space.

  3. Please note that we at Flavors of Paris do our best to give you the most current information, whoever, we recommend that you call or check the websites of the recommended restaurants before your visit to confirm availability and business hours.