The La Fontaine de Bartholdi has always had a special place in my heart. Perhaps because I have always loved fountains. Even as a child I loved playing with the cool water of the Singing Fountain in Marienbad. Dipping my arms as deep as I could without raising my mother’s attention and without falling in.
La Fontaine de Bartholdi as you, I am sure, guessed is not in Marienbad, but it is also not in Paris?
It is in Lyon, the same city all our beloved scarves are from.
The fountain is the creation of Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, who is most famous for the Statue of Liberty.
Inspired by the Apollo Fountain at Versailles (Jean-Baptise Tuby), the Bartholdi showcases a woman, France, bridling four wild stallions, which are supposed to represent France’s four great rivers; the Seine, the Loire, the Rhône and the Dordogne.
The fountain was originally commission by the city of Bordeaux but because of high costs, the project was turned down but resurrected thirty years later. After its completion, the fountain was presented at the Paris Universal Exhibition of 1889. It is there that the mayor of Lyon saw the fountain and fell in love with it. The Fountain was sold to Lyon, where it has taken center stage since at the Place des Terreaux.
The fountain has just completed its full restoration that was both lengthy and quite costly, approximately 3.58 million Euros.
On a side note: there is a Bartholdi fountain in the US. A very different from its Lyon namesake. Originally called Fountain of Light and Water, but now named after its designer, Monsieur Bartholdi. Made for the city of Philadelphia, the US Bartholdi Fountain is located on Grounds of the Capitol in Washington DC.
But let’s now get back to Vladimir Rybaltchenko’s creation, La Fontaine de Bartholdi!