Monday, 26 December 2011

Sab's Top Ten Paris Wallace Fountains: No.6 ~ "Pretty In Pink"

POSTED IN:  ~ PlacesTop 10 ~ Wallace Fountain

Sab's Top Ten Paris Wallace Fountains
No.6) "Pretty In Pink" ~ 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) ~ "Pretty In Pink"

The Psychedelic Furs said it first (Pretty In Pink) and this gets me to wondering what people think of this totally outrageous relooking of Wallace's masterpiece.

I love it coz it's different. And, what's more, the plan is for the red, pink and yellow Wallace fountains to be returned to their original, and now in comparison drab and dreary bottle green once the various revamps and regenerations in the 13th have been completed.

Maybe we'll see petitions calling for these freaky coloured monuments to be left alone, people having grown used to and fond of them. Or perhaps the local community will heave a collective sigh of relief as things get back to normal at last.

The weirdest thing for me is that I didn't spot this one until someone told me about it (thanks Melissa!) despite passing it (on the other side of the road) every week since the summer. I can't believe it. Then again, I have an excuse. The competition for my searching gaze was pretty strong, as there lies one of Paris' most unique buildings exactly across from Pinky.

If you look carefully at the pictures below you can see what I'm talking about peeking through between the damsels' drapes, and if you don't know what it is you really should, and I've written about it plenty of times elsewhere and shall no doubt continue to do so. In another life I'd like to have an 'enclosure' there (anywhere with purple railings would be a cool place to live in my book)...

There is something that's worrying me about all this chromatic manipulation of our heritage. If you look closely at the first picture above, the one with the spider beauty spot, for example, you can see that the successive layers of paint are starting to blur the edges of her lips and the detail of her hair, for example.

I hope that before they apply any more coats they use some sort of benign process to strip all the existing paint off without damaging the cast iron below, so that we can once again see the full glory of the sculpture. Much as I love what they've done here, the delicious ladies are in danger of resembling nothing more than big marshmallows if something isn't done about the painting and maintenance process.

Apparently the fountains are repainted every couple of years, and the result is that we are losing the precision and detail the sculptor Charles-Auguste Lebourg was renowned for.

It would be interesting to hear what you readers think of all this malarkey. Would you  take the red, yellow and pink ones back to bottle green or leave them to brighten up the cityscape for the foreseeable future?

Looking around a bit, there are Wallace fountains in other cities around France and even other countries around the world, and there are quite a few variations on colour out there. I'm obviously restricting myself to Paris here, but I'd love to see a bit more adventurousness like this, and with metro signs it would be cool too.

I'm getting fed up with all those big illuminated yellow 'M's which remind me of nothing more than McDonalds, which isn't really what I'm looking for as I wander the city streets. I've written about that elsewhere but for now here's probably the craziest Wallace fountain of the all, but wouldn't it be more appropriately situated in the Marais somewhere?;~S

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...

© 2011 Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free - Suggestions, questions, requests and offers always welcome!

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