Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Sab's Top Ten Paris Wallace Fountains: No.4 ~ "Call Me Mellow Yellow"

POSTED IN:  ~ PlacesTop 10 ~ Wallace Fountain

Sab's Top Ten Paris Wallace Fountains
No.4) "Call Me Mellow Yellow" ~ Introduction 
by Sab Will,  wannabe offbeat Paris street guru

Me and Wallace, we're like that you know - practically brothers. Will - Willace - Wallace; you see, family, more or less.

It's true that as a Scot I feel more than a passing affinity with the so-called philanthropist who gave a bucketful of these fountains to my adopted city in a wild and utterly un-Scottish display of largesse if you believe the old cliché about the mean old Scots. My theory's that he'd had a few too many wee drams and was letting the whisky get in the way of wiser choices at the signing of the contract.

Whatever the truth of the matter, the fact is that there are now Wallace Fountains on practically every street corner.

They've now become so symbolic of the Parisian cityscape that they grace guide book covers and no Parisian photo essay would be complete without at least one picture of these emblematic watering holes, originally intended for the poor and thirsty in search of clean liquid refreshment.

They're generally green. But not always. There aren't enough colour variations to fill an entire Paris Top Ten, but if you'll allow me a little personal indulgence I'll try to supply you with ten Wallace Fountains which all offer you their own personal story, interwoven with mine. Santé!

Sab's Top Ten Paris Wallace Fountains
No.6) ~ "Call Me Mellow Yellow"

'Mellow's a misnomer actually. We're talking rich saffron, in-yer-face, head-jerking, jaw-dropping yellow here, especially when we're so used to the extremely sober bottle-green edifices we all know and love.

This is one of the very rare Wallace fountains temporarily repainted as part of a symbolic nod to the regeneration of one of the city's developing areas down in the south-west corner.

As well as this one there's a... oh, well you'll just have to read some of the other entries in my Top 10 Paris Wallace Fountains to find that out, won't you?

Whilst I bemoan the lack of a bright purple or blue version, I can offer myself some pale consolation with the very unofficial spray paint which has been illicitly applied to the yellow one shown here.

I strongly object to objects of art being mindlessly defaced, in the form of the pointless black marker pen graffiti we can see here above the ladies' hands. As for the blue spray paint, I don't 'like' it on principle, but having said that, it's only one of the sides and it's kind of added a new way of looking at things.

I have this recurring thought of creeping out at night and spraying one of these things a colour it was never meant to be.

Some of the obvious choices have now been dealt with as here, but I'm still hankering after a violent purple Wallace fountain, and even something as seemingly banal as black, white or even orange hasn't yet been seen in this city to my knowledge.

As I've probably mentioned elsewhere, other cities around the world have some far fancier Wallace fountains than ours, with different parts painted in different zappy colours and all sorts. I content myself with what lies within (and occasionally just without) the sacred city boundaries to remain faithful to my theme, but I can't tell you how excited I get when I see that even this hallowed institution can let its hair down from time to time.

Last Sunday saw me heading off on a wild goose chase having been tipped off to a multicoloured Wallace fountain right across from the Père Lachaise cemetery.

My hopes were high and the anticipation palpable as I turned the corner into the Boulevard du Ménilmontant and headed down past the necropolis' main entrance to discover... just another standard old green watering spout.

Disgruntled? Well, I could only laugh wryly. Apparently it had been brightly coloured by a whole bunch of graffiti, but these things are pretty closely surveyed and I arrived just a week or so after it had been given a resounding lick of richly dark green paint.

I'm telling myself it wouldn't have counted as a 'real' Wallace fountain with a difference, but I'd like to have seen it anyway. That area is renowned for its spectacular street art, especially as you head further into Belleville, so it could have been honourable.

Such are the ups and outs of a street rover's life and there will always be another surprise around the next corner, or maybe the next. As I write we're one week away from the Chinese new year, which might give you a hint as to the colour of another of the weird and wonderful Wallace fountains I've found not to far from this one. Can you guess?

Discover all my Paris Wallace Fountains 

* Sab Will runs Photo and Curios Tours in Paris, and also manages a variety of Paris and photography-themed sites and blogs. He writes an illustrated Paris Chronicle every day, runs a Meetup group for Paris lovers, interviews Paris personalities and reviews Paris books (on this blog), and even contributes to the city's street art (shh), so feel free to browse some of the links below and in the right-hand column to find out more about what he gets up to out there...

© 2012 Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free - Suggestions, questions, requests and offers always welcome!

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