2022, “the year of fountains” in Paris






© KEYSTONE/AP/JACQUES BRINON


The year 2022 will be “the year of fountains” in Paris, between the 150th anniversary of the Wallace fountains and the start of the restoration of the Stravinsky fountain, famous for the sculptures of Niki de Saint Phalle, estimated Friday the assistant to the heritage.

Located near the Palais-Royal, the Molière fountain, created by the architect Louis Visconti in 1844, will be restored between March and June, announced Karen Taïeb, heritage assistant to the mayor (PS) of Paris Anne Hidalgo, during a press conference to present its priority projects.

A timely restoration for the playwright’s 400th birthday, whose bronze statue and its monumental base will be protected by anti-pigeon material and anti-graffiti gel.

Another anniversary, that of the Wallace fountains, the first having been installed in August 1872 on the boulevard de la Villette (19th century). Originally funded by British philanthropist Richard Wallace and still produced by the Val-d’Osne foundry, there are now 106 in the capital, only two of which are classified as Historic Monuments.

“Some fountains were made in the time of Wallace, others since,” recalled Karen Taïeb. The Wallace fountains will be honored at the end of September during a weekend of entertainment offered by their manager, Eau de Paris, and during an exhibition on the Champs-Elysées.

Sculptures by Niki de Saint Phalle and Tinguely

Located opposite the Center Pompidou, the Stravinsky fountain, inaugurated in 1983 and now degraded, will be restored between September and spring 2023 for 1.6 million euros. What in particular to restore the 16 sculptures of Niki de Saint Phalle and Jean Tinguely.

As for the Fountain of the Innocents, a 16th century monument located on a very busy square near Les Halles, some of its bas-reliefs will be removed for study before the restoration planned from mid-2023 to mid-2024 for a budget of five million euros.

Ms. Taïeb told AFP that a scientific committee has proposed to put these works in safety at the Louvre, with other sculptures by their author Jean Goujon, and to replace them with copies.

churches

But the vast majority of the assistant’s restoration budget (32.5 million) will again this year be dedicated to religious buildings (28.8 million), she said.

“There has been no delay due to the Covid on the construction sites” and 2022 will be a “very good year, with a large number of deliveries and construction sites starting”, she welcomed.

Among the 85 churches in the capital that it must maintain, the City wants to deliver seven projects during the year. Five others will start, including the restoration of the facade of Saint-Eustache, facing Les Halles, for nearly nine million euros, and four will continue, including that of the Madeleine (8th), which should be completed in mid-2023 for ten million.

Fragile Voltaire

Removed from a square in Saint-Germain-des-Prés after being “repeatedly sprayed with paint”, a statue of Voltaire belonging to the State will be installed under the arcades of the Faculty of Medicine, not far away, in order to to be visible from the street but protected from deliberate damage and rain, its stone being fragile.

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