Fountain of the Innocents

Paris, France

Fountain of the Innocents


The Fontaine des Innocents is a monumental public fountain located on the place Joachim-du-Bellay in the Les Halles district in the 1st arrondissement of Paris, France. Originally called the Fountain of the Nymphs, it was constructed between 1547 and 1550 by architect Pierre Lescot and sculptor Jean Goujon in the new style of the French Renaissance. It is the oldest monumental fountain in Paris.

The fountain was commissioned as part of the decoration of the city to commemorate the solemn royal entry of King Henry II into Paris in 1549. Artists were commissioned to construct elaborate monuments, mostly temporary, along his route, from the Port Saint-Denis to the Palais de la Cit茅, passing by le Ch芒telet, the Pont Notre-Dame and the Cathedral. The fountain was placed on the site of an earlier fountain dating to the reign of Philip II of France, against the wall of the Saints Innocents Cemetery, at the corner of rue Saint Denis (where the King's procession passed) and rue aux Fers (today's rue Berger), with two fa莽ades on one street, one fa莽ade on the other. It was to serve as a fountain as well as a grand reviewing stand for local notables; it resembled the walls of a large residence, with water taps along the street at the street level, and a stairway to the loggia on the upper level, where officials stood on the balcony to greet the King. Its original name was the Fountain of the Nymphs.

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