The Fontaine des Innocents restored for the Olympics, soon to be unveiled

Published by My de Sortiraparis · Published on March 5th, 2024 at 11:31 a.m.
The Fontaine des Innocents, the jewel in the crown of Paris's Les Halles district, is set to unveil its restored splendor in June 2024, just before the Olympic Games. This emblematic monument, witness to Parisian history since the 16th century, has benefited from a major restoration, marking its rebirth in the heart of the capital.

The Fontaine des Innocents in Paris's 1st arrondissement will soon reveal its newfound beauty. Located in the dynamic Les Halles district, this Renaissance work of art, hidden behind scaffolding for far too long, will finally be brought back to life. The restoration of this historic monument, which has cost the City of Paris almost 4 million euros, promises to restore the site to its former grandeur.

The process of restoring the Fontaine des Innocents has not been without its pitfalls. Despite a budget allocated back in 2014, the actual start of work was delayed, causing concern among local residents and Parisian heritage enthusiasts. However, under the impetus of the mayor's office and after several preparatory stages, the worksite has finally taken shape. Today, just a few months away from completion, the monument is preparing to be restored to its former glory, before the eager eyes of Parisians and visitors from all over the world.

The Fontaine des Innocents is more than just an architectural structure; it's a living piece of Paris history. Named after the church and cemetery of the Saints-Innocents that once stood on its site, it carries with it tales of a distant past, from the biblical massacre of the Innocents to its central role in the daily life of medieval Paris. Its restoration is therefore more than an aesthetic issue; it's about preserving a priceless cultural and historical heritage.

La Fontaine des Innocents restaurée pour les JO, bientôt dévoiléeLa Fontaine des Innocents restaurée pour les JO, bientôt dévoiléeLa Fontaine des Innocents restaurée pour les JO, bientôt dévoiléeLa Fontaine des Innocents restaurée pour les JO, bientôt dévoilée

Between 1784 and 1785, the church and cemetery of the Innocents were dismantled for sanitary reasons, but the Fountain of the Innocents was preserved. The latter was relocated to the heart of the newly developed site, which became the site of the Innocents market. The architects responsible undertook a renovation of the fountain, giving it a square pavilion structure and adding a fourth façade.

The ornamentation was enhanced by the addition of three naiads (two on the south façade and one on the west-left side) and four lions at the corners. The former underpinnings are replaced by basins. Augustin Pajou was commissioned to forge these sculptural additions.

The Marché des Innocents, immortalized in 1839 by A.P. Martial, testifies to the commercial effervescence of the period. However, with the construction of Victor Baltard's Halles, the market ceased to operate.

In 1860, the fountain was moved just a few meters to its current location, following a reorganization of the square that included the construction of new buildings to the west and a square to the east. A project by Victor Baltard had even envisaged relocating the fountain to the corner of rue Montorgueil and rue Montmartre, although this never materialized.

With the restoration and lighting of the Fontaine des Innocents scheduled for June 2024, a new chapter in the fountain's history is about to begin. This renewal, coinciding with the arrival of the Olympic Games in Paris, symbolizes the unbreakable link between the city's past, present and future. More than just a monument, the fountain will become a meeting point, a place of memory and a source of inspiration for generations to come.

The restoration is accompanied by an exceptional exhibition at the Musée Carnavalet, offering a unique opportunity to discover the details and secrets of this monument. Works by Augustin Pajou and Jean Goujon, notably the famous nymphs, will be featured, allowing visitors to appreciate the skill of Renaissance artists and the dedication of modern restorers.

Exposition De pierre et d’eau - Histoires de la fontaine des Innocents au Musée CarnavaletExposition De pierre et d’eau - Histoires de la fontaine des Innocents au Musée CarnavaletExposition De pierre et d’eau - Histoires de la fontaine des Innocents au Musée CarnavaletExposition De pierre et d’eau - Histoires de la fontaine des Innocents au Musée Carnavalet De pierre et d'eau - Histoires de la fontaine des Innocents exhibition at the Musée Carnavalet
The Musée Carnavalet is devoting an exhibition to the history of the Innocents fountain, entitled De pierre et d'eau, from April 24 to August 25, 2024. [Read more]

The Fontaine des Innocents, with its rich history and rediscovered beauty, is ready to reclaim its place in the heart of Paris. We can't wait to see it back in action!

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43 Rue St Denis
75001 Paris 1

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