Paris - Ile De France Section
Saint Sulpice Fountain by Louis Visconti
Place Saint Sulpice
The square, Place Saint Sulpice, was developed in 1754 on the site of the old seminary.
Servandoni, the church's architect, initially wanted to create a semi-circular square framed by a series of identical buildings.
However, this never materialized, but the square is nonetheless one of the most attractive in Paris!
The foliage of the horse chestnuts planted all around it indeed change colours with the seasons.
They provide excellent shade if you want to sit on one of the many benches placed here and there and watch the world go by!
The square's major feature, though, is the magnificent fountain that marks its centre.
Saint Sulpice Fountain, a French Renaissance masterpiece
In 1848, Visconti designed the 12m high monumental Saint Sulpice Fountain, which is considered a masterpiece of French Renaissance architecture.
This fountain consists of a sculptural group sheltered by a canopy-roof topped with a pinnacle turret.
It rests on a base composed of three octagonal basins arranged in a pyramid.
A system of water-overflow creates waterfalls in the two upper basins.
Their corners are adorned with four elaborate bowls and four lions holding Paris' coat-of-arms between their front legs.
Each side of Saint Sulpice Fountain is orientated towards one of the cardinal points of the compass (points cardinaux).
The statues of Fénélon, Bossuet, FléchierandMassillon are placed in four alcoves framed with pilasters.
The four bishops and preachers are represented seated under their respective coat-of-arms.
Saint Sulpice Fountain's orientation towards the cardinal points led a French word game.
The fountain is indeed nicknamed Fontaines des Point(s) Cardinaux - Fountain of the non Cardinals (point means none) as none of the four preachers ever became a cardinal.
Saint Sulpice Fountain was Historical Monument in 1926.
Directions: 6th district
Metro: Saint-Sulpice on Line 4
Coordinates: Lat 48.850964 - Long 2.333263