VOL. 18 NO. 3
|The Independent Traveler's Newsletter|
"It is life, I think, to watch the water. A man can learn so many
Nicholas Sparks - American screenwriter, novelist, producer
IN THIS ISSUE:
not wine, in Paris?
Ici et Là
Renewing One's Vows in Paris
by Arthur Gillette
by Jo Anne Marquardt
Water, not Wine in Paris? A Tale of the Wallace Fountains
by Arthur Gillette
If you’ve ever been
to Paris, even if only via photos, you
cannot not have noticed one of these fountains.
For Parisians and visitors to their city, a typical feature found pretty much everywhere in the French capital (120 still exist) is the public water fountains of which this is but an example.
The Franco-Prussian War of 1870 left much of Paris severely damaged and one of its major casualties was the aqueducts that supplied the city with drinking water. The post-war shortage was so severe, and the price of water so high, that alcohol was increasingly consumed, leading to rampant alcoholism.
Post-war reconstruction involved many philanthropic interventions, such as those by the recently created French branches of the Red Cross and the Salvation Army. This atmosphere – and the danger of mass alcoholism - prompted a Francophile British philanthropist, Sir Richard Wallace, to fund the design and construction of some fifty public drinking water fountains.
To be easily
recognizable they all followed a unique
(Wallace was an art-lover) and were all painted green; to be readily
each was equipped with a cup-on-chain.
The newly burgeoning
Parisian Middle Class did not need the Wallace Fountains and even
mocked them. Here is an 1873 caricature of Richard Wallce with/as
one of his fountains.
not only to supply a basic need, each fountain offers a message via its
four graceful caryatides symbolizing goodness, charity, simplicity and,
of course, sobriety.
Artefacts that have come to
symbolize Paris - and perhaps its unexpected ability to drink water as
well as wine - fountain replicas are today found in several other
French cities as well as in Brazil, Canada, Great Britain, Israel,
Jordan, Mozambique, South Africa and Spain - not to forget New Orleans.
The next time you are in Paris
(hopefully not just via photos), feel free to quench an H²O thirst
at one of the Wallace Fountains. Almost a century and a half
after their creation, and much to the relief of today's homeless street
dwellers who use them, they are still bubbling away and free of charge.
No doubt fittingly, Wallace is
buried in the major Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris. I
doubt, however, that (shunning a French custom) his casket contains a
bottle of wine.
inside. . .
with a click
> to explain why Napoléon's statue is now missing from Pari's Hôtel des Invalides: Une Nouvelle Campagne pour Napoléon
> if you can't find that favorite wine you loved years ago ~ the label tells you it is the same, but your palate tells you otherwise ~ Alice Feiring will explain if you visit The Bookshelf.
> for a few travel tips to make flying better and the process of getting to your destination more pleasant.
to enjoy French cuisine with Jo Anne Marquardt as she relates her
dining experiences from her recent visit to France ~ Bon Appétit!
hope that you will enjoy
TONGUES . . .
by Arthur Gillette
Welcome to Twisted Tongues, a French word game everyone can play. See if you can come up with the correct translation of the phrase in question. You may be quite surprised by how it differs from what you first thought it meant.
Answer from our Spring issue: "Tirer ses grègues" = "Pull up one's socks?" No. It actually means to "skidaddle away."
Phrase: "Filer à l 'anglaise". Does it mean "to spin (fabric) in an English style"? Not only that ... look for the answer next time!
Gillette to take advantage of his amazing knowledge of Paris
SPONSORING THIS ISSUE
Online French Video ImmersionYabla French is an online video magazine for French learners
who wish to improve their language skills.
Authentic French videos include television programs, music videos,
interviews, documentaries, and travel.
Click on the banner to sign up or learn more!