Fontaine aux Lions de Nubie, once known as Fontaine du Château d’Eau

The Fontaine aux Lions de Nubie is located by the entrance to the Parc de la Villette in Rue Jean-Jaurès.

Fontaine aux Lions de Nubie with Theatre de la Villette in the background
Fontaine aux Lions de Nubie with Theatre de la Villette in the background

Pierre-Simon Girard, the engineer who designed the Canal de l’Ourcq designed this superb fountain  in 1811.

It adorned the centre of the Place de la République, which was then called Place du Château d’Eau (water tower).

The fountain therefore became commonly known as Fontaine du Château d’Eau, but also Fontaine de Bondy, as it stood by the entrance to Rue de Bondy.

This street was renamed Rue René Boulanger to pay tribute to the French resistant who was shot there in 1944.

The Fontaine du Château d’Eau was ornamental, but was before all a reservoir that supplied water to the Temple and Marais districts.

A larger fountain replaced it when the Place du Château d’Eau was enlarged in 1867.

Fontaine aux Lions de Nubie turned into a cattle trough

The fountain was transferred opposite the Grande Halle de la Villette, Paris former cattle market, where it served as a cattle trough.

The square became known as Place de la Fontaine aux Lions.

Fontaine aux Lions de Nubie with Grande Halle in the background - Parc de la Villette - Paris
Fontaine aux Lions de Nubie with Grande Halle in the background – Parc de la Villette – Paris

It is today delineated by the Cité de la Musique, Grande Halle, Théâtre Paris-Villette, Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris and the Pavillon Janvier.

The fountain consists of a series of interconnected concentric basins overflowing into each other.

It is built from pierre de Château Landon, a soft stone easily carved.

An ornate column with two smaller basins stands in the fountain’s upper section.

Four groups of two lions, represented in the sphinx position with water gushing from their mouths, surrounding the basins.

These cast iron lions were produced in Le Creuset factory; the  brand and  date of fabrication are engraved on their pedestals.

The Fontaine aux Lions de Nubie was listed Historical Monument on March 2, 1979.

Directions: 19th district
Metro: Porte de Pantin on Line 5
Coordinates: Lat 48.889715 – Long 2.392288

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