Wallace fountains are public drinking fountains that appear in the form of small cast-iron sculptures scattered throughout the city of Paris, France. mainly along the most-frequented sidewalks. They are named after the Englishman Richard Wallace, who financed their construction. A great aesthetic success, they are recognized worldwide as one of the symbols of Paris.
Art - Sculpture
Most of the fountains still present in the city still work, and distribute, contrary to popular belief, perfectly potable water. They are the rare points of free water in the city to the great relief of the homeless for whom they are a life-source and the thirst of passers-by which the fountains often quench. Sir Richard Wallace has achieved his goal and probably fulfilled his hopes, although the number of the destitute still on Parisian streets would probably disappoint him 120 years after his actions.
The fountains work from March 15 to November 15 (the risk of freezing during the months of winter would imperil the internal plumbing), are regularly maintained, and repainted every two years.
They are an integral part of the Parisian landscape, typical and picturesque, of the same importance as the Eiffel Tower or the street urchins of Montmartre, as their creators would have wished. In Amélie, the cinegraphic piece about the glory of Parisian folklore, Jean-Pierre Jeunet baptised a personality Madeleine Wallace (she cried like a madeleine, or like a Wallace fountain), although the English subtitled version renamed the character of Madeleine, to Madeleine Wells for cultural understanding.
For more than a century they have been in place, and these monuments have never had to suffer criticism. They were always respected, even by the Nazis who had melted a number of statues to make arms. However, curiously, they are not classified as "historic monuments".