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Fontaine des Quatre Parties du Monde monumental water fountain in Paris

This is one of the well known monumental fountains in Paris that is often referred to at the Carpeaux Fountain or the Fontaine de l’Observatoire, and was designed in the 1860s to represent the four parts of the world with a celestial globe, and this is located within the Jardin des Grands Explorateurs in the extension of the Luxembourg Gardens.

About the Fontaine des Quatre Parties du Monde

The Fontaine de l’Observatoire, or Fontaine des Quatre Parties du Monde as it is also called, was commissioned by Baron Haussmann during the redesign of the city in the 1800s, which was when the Avenue de l’Observatoire was being constructed on the meridian line and perspective from the Palais du Luxembourg through to the Observatoire de Paris.
And way back in 1867, in conjunction with Gabriel Davioud who was in charge of fountains, gardens and parks in Paris, the artist chosen for the main part of the ornamental design was Jean Baptiste Carpeaux, which is why the fountain is often also referred to as the Carpeaux Fountain.

The sculptor decided to use four female figures as allegories, dancing around supporting a celestial sphere to represent the four parts of the world, and these were to represent Europe, Asia with a long hair braid, America with feathers, and Africa that has a broken chain around the ankle as a symbol of the abolition of slavery.

Jean Baptiste Carpeaux had once been a pupil of Francois Rude, who produced a famous sculpture group on the Arc de Triomphe, yet Carpeaux was more contemporary than the traditional neoclassical style for statues seen previously, and even his sculptures on the facade of the Palais Garnier initially caused a stir, but he received lots of commissions for public works.

But the Fontaine des Quatre Parties du Monde, or Fontaine de l’Observatoire, was produced by more than one artist, and it was Eugene Legrain, who was a pupil of Carpeaux produced the sphere itself with the zodiac signs going around the globe.

Yet it was the sculptor Emmanuel Fremiet, who was the nephew and a pupil of Francois Rude, that produced the horses, dolphins and turtles located within the basin at the bottom of the statue, whereas the garlands located around the pedestal were produced by Louis Villeminot.

And although work started on this monumental fountain in Paris back in 1867, it was halted due to the 1870 Franco-Prussian War, and it was not until 1872 that plaster cast models were first presented, one of which, can still be seen today within the Musee d’Orsay.

So, the Fontaine des Quatre Parties du Monde was not finally completed in bronze and installed within the garden until 1874, which was the year before Carpeaux died, but is still there in all its glory for all to enjoy today.

Visiting the Fontaine des Quatre Parties du Monde Fountain in Paris

As you no doubt read earlier, the Fontaine de l’Observatoire is located at the southern end of the Jardin Marco Polo, within the Jardin des Grands Explorateurs, along the Avenue de l’Observatoire, which is located in the 6th Arrondissement.

Now the garden itself is accessible to the disabled in most areas and you can see the fountain in all its glory, even if you are in a wheelchair, however, we would like to point out that the garden normally opens at around 8am on weekdays and 9am at weekends.  But the closing times vary depending upon the time of year, which can be from as early as 5.30pm in winter or as late as 9pm in the summer.

And when it comes to getting to the garden and the Fontaine des Quatre Parties du Monde, or Carpeaux Fountain, via public transport in Paris, the nearest RER station is the Port Royal stop serving line B, yet the nearest Metro station is the Raspail stop serving lines 4 and 6.  Yet you will find that the bus lines 38, 83 and 91 will also get you close by, plus there are also three different Velib stations within walking distance as well.

Related information on Jardin des Grands Explorateurs

  -  Jardin des Grands Explorateurs
  -  Jardin Marco Polo
     -  l'Aurore statue
     -  Le Jour statue
  -  Jardin Robert Cavelier de la Salle
     -  La Nuit statue
     -  Le Crepuscule statue

Related information on Luxembourg gardens

  -  Photos of Jardin du Luxembourg
  -  Jardin du Luxembourg
  -  History of Jardin du Luxembourg
  -  Palais du Luxembourg
  -  History of Palais du Luxembourg
  -  Le Petit Luxembourg Palace
  -  History of Le Petit Luxembourg Palace
  -  Fontaine Medicis
  -  Fontaine de Leda
  -  Theatre des Marionnettes du Jardin du Luxembourg
  -  Eugene Delacroix water fountain
  -  Musee du Luxembourg
  -  History of Musee du Luxembourg
  -  Pavillon Davioud
  -  L’Orangerie du Jardin du Luxembourg
  -  Photos Rose Garden
  -  Photos of flowers in Luxembourg Gardens

Address Details

Fontaine des Quatre Parties du Monde
Jardin Marco Polo
Jardin des Grands Explorateurs
Avenue de l’Observatoire
Ile de France

Tourist attractions close by

  -  Musee Zadkine
  -  Musee du Service de Sante des Armees
  -  The Pantheon
  -  La Closerie des Lilas
  -  Musee Curie
  -  Maison d’Auguste Comte
  -  Musee de Cluny
  -  Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain
  -  Catacombes de Paris

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Carpeaux Fountain
Fontaine Des Quatre Parties Du Monde Globe
Fontaine Des Quatre Parties Du Monde Turtles
Fontaine Des Quatre Parties Du Monde
Fontaine Des Quatre Parties Du Monde Horses
Fontaine De l Observatoire Paris