Fontaine aux Lions de Nubie water fountain in Parc de la Villette Paris

The Fontaine aux Lions is one of the historical fountains in Paris, but is located within an area that was only redesigned in the 1980s, yet this is not the only lion fountain in Paris.

A bit of history

The monumental fountain was designed by the engineer Pierre-Simon Girard in 1811 as a water feature for the Place du Chateau d’Eau, however, during the reign of Napoleon III and under the influence Baron Haussmann for the major works undertaken by the city of Paris, this square got enlarged dramatically.
Fontaine aux Lions de Nubie in Park Villette
This new square was renamed the Place de la Republique in 1867, but at that time it was felt the Fontaine aux Lions de Nubie was not grand enough and far too small for the new square of the Place de la Republique, and a new fountain was designed.

Yet this particular fountain was not destroyed, it was just relocated to a different part of the city in front of the Grande Halle, which was one of the slaughterhouse buildings for the cattle market in the Villette area.

The Fontaine aux Lions de Nubie was then ultimately used as drinking water for cattle prior to being led to the cattle market or the slaughterhouse, and this remained the case until eventually the cattle market ceased and the whole got redeveloped into what we now know as the Parc de la Villette.

About the Fontaine aux Lions de Nubie Fountain

Sometimes referred to as the Fontaine du Chateau d'Eau de Pierre-Simon Girard, even though the official name is the Fontaine aux Lions du Nubie, it is located close to the entrance of the Parc de la Villette right opposite the Grande Halle, which is the historical slaughterhouse that has been fully restored and is classed as a historical monument in Paris.
However, even this lion fountain is also now regarded as a historical monument, and the name itself refers to the fact that the water spouting lions sculptures were produced in an Egyptian style.

And these cast iron lions that adorn the outside of the fountain also refer to the Napoleonic expeditions, but as you will see from one one of the plaques located in the basin itself, the water is not suitable as drinking water, nor is anyone or animal allowed to bathe in it any more.

But, while we were visiting the Parc de la Villette, we discovered that there was also a modern sculpture added to the top of this, which was only to be there for a short period of time, and was related to one of the temporary themed exhibitions that are held within this enormous park in Paris.

Visiting the Fontaine aux Lions Fountain

As we have mentioned before, the Fontaine aux Lions de Nubie is located within the Parc de la Villette, which is within the 19th Arrondissement of the city, close to many of its other tourist attractions including the Cite de la Musique and its museum.
Lion statues on Fontaine aux Lions de Nubie
Cascading water on the Fontaine aux Lions de Nubie
It is positioned in the large square at the southern end of the park by the tourist information centre and in front of the historical former slaughterhouse, now home to an exhibition and cultural centre called the Grande Halle.

You will find that when it comes to public transport in Paris, the nearest Metro station is the Port de Pantin stop via line 5 located at the Avenue Jean Jaures, however, there is also the more recent Tramway service via line T3b located nearby.

For those of you who have your own vehicle, there is a secure car park with its foot passage entrance and exit right by the fountain that is underneath the Cite de la Music, with the vehicle entrance being on the Avenue Jean Jaures, however, we would like to point out that there is a height restriction for this car park.

Other options for public transport include the Bus lines 75, 139, 150,151, 152 and 330 along with the Noctilien Night Bus Service via Lines N13, N41, N42, N45 and N140, plus there is another Metro station located at the opposite end of this large park called the Porte de la Villette stop, by the museum called the Cite des Sciences et de l'Industrie, and this serves the Metro Line 7.