Monday, 26 December 2011

Sab's Top Ten Paris Wallace Fountains: No.8 ~ "Grey Is The Day"

POSTED IN:  ~ PlacesTop 10 ~ Wallace Fountain

Sab's Top Ten Paris Wallace Fountains
No.8) "Grey Is The Day" ~ 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.8) ~ "Grey Is The Day"

This is not a black and white image. It's in colour. And the feet belong to one of the four caryatids representing charity, kindness, simplicity and, appropriately, sobriety.

In case you're wondering, they are all slightly different (being different dames), most notably by the position of their legs and the tucks of their tunics. Check them out for yourself and see!

So anyway, grey. I was amazed to find this one, just around the corner from where I used to live, on the other side of the périphérique ringroad and hence not strictly speaking in Paris, but good enough for me.

You couldn't have plonked her in a less flattering situation, right next to some miserable old industrial building, as grey and grim as she's become. It's a shame, but it throws all her other, more colourful sisters into gay relief in comparison. Hey, maybe that's what being in Paris does to you, as opposed to the blighted banlieue (suburbs). I reckon it's turned me grey anyway!

I wasn't going to tell you this was in the suburbs and see if you could guess where it is, but it's too late now. Having said that, I'm not going to tell you exactly which suburb it's in, for you puzzle-lovers out there, but the last picture below gives you a clue, if you're on for it. And when I say 'suburbs', we're talking, literally, a stone's throw from the périphérique. Well, let's say a block at most, so don't go roaming too far out without a guide, now will you?

To the best of my knowledge, this one doesn't even work, and is perched up on an awkward to access plinth which is annoying, because if there's something these structures are intended to be, it's accessible and above all useful to all.

What would old Wallace think, I wonder, to see one of his utterly utilitarian creations stuck up here in the middle of nowhere and not even functioning. Disappointment I assume.

Luckily there are plenty of these artistic items all over the city for us to enjoy and, as ever, variety is the spice of life.

And just as an afterthought, I have a theory about its location. Just a teeny-weeny, watery little theory, you understand. And this might give its location away for once and for all.

Because just another stone's throw away (because we already threw our first one at the périphérique, remember?) lies a rather strange strip of land. A long green strip of land not seeming to serve any purpose at all at all. Only it does. Because underneath that mysterious carpet of verdigris (strangely similar to the colour of four more outward-facing statues on that there distant church, methinks...) runs a river... of sorts.

Curiouser and curiouser. Could there be a link? Well yes, there could. In the city of light there's not much more important than water. Just check out my Top 10 Paris Boat Symbols if you need convincing!

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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