Fontaines des Mers et des Fleuves – Fountains of the Seas and Rivers

Place de la Concorde is one of the key attractions in Paris.

Fountains on Place de la Concorde
Fountains on Place de la Concorde

Tourists flock to see the obelisk, but also the two beautiful fountains that are inspired from those of St. Peter’s Square in Rome.

The construction of these monumental fountains created by Jacques Ignace Hittorff, the architect of the square, was completed in 1840.

They frame the obelisk and are aligned with the Rue Royale, Madeleine Church and Pont de la Concorde.

These fountains are known as Fontaine des Mers and Fontaine des Fleuves.

They are made from cast iron and the bronze sculptures are adorned with bronze coating.

They are identical in form.

Indeed, each fountain consists of two superimposed basins placed in the centre of a large basin.

Their decoration, however, is slightly different as each fountain is based on a specific theme.

Fontaine des Mers and Fontaine des Fleuves

The allegorical sculptural groups that adorn them were indeed created by a dozen renowned sculptors, who worked under the direction of Hittorff.

La Fontaine des Mers is located on the southern side of the square.

It commemorates France’s Maritime Trade and Industry.

Fountains on Place de la Concorde
Fontaine des Fleuves

Its upper basin is therefore decorated with sculptures representing France’s Spirit of Maritime Navigation, Astronomy and Trade.

Its lower basin is supported by allegorical sculptures that symbolise the Mediterranean, the Ocean and Fishing.

La Fontaine des Fleuves is on the northern side.

It commemorates France’s Navigation and River Trade.

Its sculptures therefore represent the Rhine and the Rhone Rivers, as well as Grapes and Wheat Crops.

They symbolise France’s Spirit of Navigation, Agriculture and Industry.

Each of the half-naked sculpted figures is sitting in a boat bow, a reference to the coat of arms of the City of Paris.

Both fountains’ basins are, however, similarly decorated with half naked Tritons or Neriads holding dolphins spraying water from their mouth.

Tritons and Neriads wear necklaces, head ornaments and bracelets representing corals, poisons, shells, flowers, fruits, and beads…

Directions: 8th District
Metro: Concorde on Lines 1, 8, 12
Coordinates: Lat 48.865956 – Long 2.321516

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