(Center) Jet d'eau, (Geneva, Switzerland) Clockwise from top right (1) Fontaine de Trevi (Rome) (2) Place de la Concorde (Paris) (3) Fountain in the Garden of Versailles (Versailles) (4) Fuente de los Leones, (The Alhambra, Granada) (5) The Hundred Fountains, Villa d'Este, Italy} (6) Fountain in St. Peter's Square (Rome) (7) Samson and the Lion fountain (Peterhof, St. Petersburg, Russia) (8) Dubai Fountain (Dubai)

A fountain (from the Latin "fons" (genitive "fontis"), a source or spring) is a piece of architecture which pours water into a basin or jets it into the air to supply drinking water and/or for a decorative or dramatic effect.

Fountains were originally purely functional, connected to springs or aqueducts and used to provide drinking water and water for bathing and washing to the residents of cities, towns and villages. Until the late 19th century most fountains operated by gravity, and needed a source of water higher than the fountain, such as a reservoir or aqueduct, to make the water flow or jet into the air.

In addition to providing drinking water, fountains were used for decoration and to celebrate their builders. Roman fountains were decorated with bronze or stone masks of animals or heroes. In the Middle Ages, Moorish and Muslim garden designers used fountains to create miniature versions of the gardens of paradise. King Louis XIV of France used fountains in the Gardens of Versailles to illustrate his power over nature. The baroque decorative fountains of Rome in the 17th and 18th centuries marked the arrival point of restored Roman aqueducts and glorified the Popes who built them.[1]

By the end of the 19th century, as indoor plumbing became the main source of drinking water, urban fountains became purely decorative. Mechanical pumps replaced gravity and allowed fountains to recycle water and to force it high into the air. The Jet d'Eau in Lake Geneva, built in 1951, shoots water 140 metres (460 ft) in the air. The highest such fountain in the world is King Fahd's Fountain in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, which spouts water 260 metres (850 ft) above the Red Sea.[2]

Fountains are used today to decorate city parks and squares; to honor individuals or events; for recreation and for entertainment. A Splash pad or spray pool allows city residents to enter, get wet and cool off in summer. The musical fountain combines moving jets of water, colored lights and recorded music, controlled by a computer, for dramatic effects. Drinking fountains provide clean drinking water in public buildings, parks and public spaces.


  • History 1
    • Ancient fountains 1.1
    • Ancient Roman fountains 1.2
    • Medieval fountains 1.3
    • Fountains of the Islamic World 1.4
    • Renaissance fountains (15th–17th centuries) 1.5
    • Baroque fountains (17th–18th century) 1.6
      • Baroque Fountains of Rome 1.6.1
    • Baroque fountains of Rome 1.7
      • Baroque fountains of Versailles 1.7.1
      • Baroque fountains of Peterhof 1.7.2
    • 19th century fountains 1.8
    • 20th century fountains 1.9
    • Contemporary fountains (2001–2011) 1.10
  • Musical fountains 2
  • Splash fountains 3
  • Drinking fountain 4
  • How fountains work 5
  • The tallest fountains in the World 6
  • Gallery of notable fountains around the world 7
  • See also 8
  • Bibliography 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11


Attic Greek vase from South Italy, about 480 B.C.

Ancient fountains

Hellenistic fountain head from the Pergamon museum

Ancient civilizations built stone basins to capture and hold precious drinking water. A carved stone basin, dating to around 2000 BC, was discovered in the ruins of the ancient

External links

  1. ^ Philippe Prévot, Histoire des jardins, Editions Sud Ouest, Bordeaux, 2006.
  2. ^ SAMIRAD (Saudi Arabia Market Information Resource Directory)
  3. ^
  4. ^ Herodotus, The Histories, 1.59
  5. ^ a b Louis Plantier, Fontaines de Provence et de la Côte d'Azur, Édisud, Aix-en-Provence, 2007
  6. ^ Frontin, Les Aqueducs de la ville de Rome, translation and commentary by Pierre Grimal, Société d'édition Les Belles Lettres, Paris, 1944.
  7. ^ Philippe Prevot, pg. 20
  8. ^ Philippe Prevot, pg. 21
  9. ^ Psalms 36:9; Proverbs 13:14; Revelation 22:1; Dante's Paradisio XXV 1–9.
  10. ^ Molina, Nathalie, 1999: Le Thoronet Abbey, Monum – Éditions du patrimoine.
  11. ^ Marilyn Simmes, Fountains, Splash and Spectacle. pg.63
  12. ^ Allain and Christiany, L'Art des jardins en Europe This type of "water joke" later became popular in Renaissance and baroque gardens.
  13. ^ Yves-Marie Allain and Janine Christiany, L'Art des jardins en Europe, Citadelles & Mazenod, Paris, 2006
  14. ^ According to the Qu'ran, the dead going to paradise would be given water from the spring Salsabil: "And there they will be given a cup whose mixture is of Zanjabil (ginger). A fountain there, called Salsabil." (76:17–18)
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ Yves Porter and Arthur Thevenart, Palais et Jardins de Perse, pg. 40.
  18. ^ Azraqi, H. Massé, Anthologie persane, pg. 44. English translation of excerpt by D.R. Siefkin.
  19. ^ See the official site of the Alhambra complex for the history of the fountains
  20. ^ Allain and Christiany, L'art des jardins en Europe . See also See the official site of the Alhambra complex for the history of the fountains
  21. ^ Naomi Miller, Fountains as Metaphor, in Fountains- Splash and Spectacle -Water and Design from the Renaissance to the Present, edited by Marilyn Symmes, London, 1998.
  22. ^ Helena Attlee, Italian Gardens, A Cultural History, pp. 11–12
  23. ^ Pinto, John A. The Trevi Fountain. Yale University Press, New Haven, 1986.
  24. ^ The fountain in Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere originally had two upper basins, but the water pressure in the early Renaissance was so low that the water was unable to reach the upper basin, so the top basin was removed.
  25. ^ cited in Helena Attlee, Italian Gardens, a Cultural History, p. 21
  26. ^ Symmes, Fountains – Splash and Spectacle, pg. 126
  27. ^ Marilyn Symmes, Fountains- Splash and Spectacle- Water and Design from the Renaissance to the Present. pg. 78
  28. ^ Helena Attlee, Italian Gardens – A Cultural History, p. 30
  29. ^ a b Helena Attlee, Italian Gardens – A Cultural History
  30. ^ Marion Boudon, "La Fontaine des Innocents", in Paris et ses fontaines, de la Renaissance à nos jours, 1995.
  31. ^ Le Guide du Patrimoine en France, Éditions du Patrimoine, Centre des Monuments Nationaux, 2009
  32. ^ A. Muesset, Les Francinis, Paris, 1930, cited in Luigi Gallo, La Présence italienne au 17e siècle, in Paris et ses fontaines de la Renaissance à nos jours, Collection Paris et son patrimoine, (1995).
  33. ^ Luigi Gallo, La Présence italienne au 17e siècle, in Paris et ses fontaines de la Renaissance à nos jours, Collection Paris et son patrimoine,
  34. ^ Katherine Wentworth Rinne, The Fall and Rise of the Waters of Rome, collected in Marilyn Symmes, Fountains- Splash and Spectacle. (pg. 54).
  35. ^ Wentworth Rinne, The Fall and Rise of the Waters of Rome, collected in Marilyn Symmes, Fountains- Splash and Spectacle. (pg. 54).
  36. ^ a b c Maria Ann Conneli and Marilyn Symmes, Fountains as propaganda, in Fountains, Splash and Spectacle – Water and Design from the Renaissance to the Present. Edited by Marilyn Symmes. Thames and Hudson, London
  37. ^ Conelli and Symmes, p. 90
  38. ^ Allain and Christiany, L'art des jardins en Europe
  39. ^ Robert W. Berger, The Chateau of Louis XIV, University Park, PA. 1985, and Gerald van der Kemp, Versailles, New York, 1978.
  40. ^ Alexandre Orloff and Dimitri Chvidkovski, Saint-Petersbourg, l'architecture des tsars Editions Place des Victoires, Paris, 2000.
  41. ^ Katia Frey, L'enterprise napoléonienne, in Paris et ses fontaines, p. 104.
  42. ^ Beatrice Lamoitier, L'Essor des fontaines monumentales, in Paris et ses fontaines. pg. 171.
  43. ^ Beatrice LaMoitier, "Le Règne de Davioud", in Paris et ses fontaines, pg. 180
  44. ^ Ric Burns and James Sanders, New York, an Illustrated History, Alfred Knopf, New Yorkm, 1999, pg. 78–79.
  45. ^ a b Stephen Astley, The Fountains in Trafalagar Square, in Fountains- Splash and Spectacle – Water and Design from the Renaissance to the Present, edited by Marilyn Symmes, 1998.
  46. ^ Virginie Grandval, Fontaines éphéméres, in Paris et ses fontaines, pg. 209–247
  47. ^ Figures cited by Pauline Prevost-Marcilhacy, Doctor of the History of Art at the University of Paris IV- Sorbonne, in her essay on fountains, 1900-1940- Entre tradition et modernité, in Paris et ses fontaines, pg. 257.
  48. ^ Halprin, Lawrence, Notebooks 1959-1971, Cambridge Massachusetts (1972)
  49. ^ From the label on the fountain displayed at the Moscow bienalle of contemporary art, October 2009. To see a short documentary about Bit.Fall, BitFall project
  50. ^ a b
  51. ^
  52. ^
  53. ^
  54. ^
  55. ^ Montaigne, M. E.. de, Journal de voyage en Italie, Le Livre de poche, 1974.
  56. ^ Fontaines éphéméres, in Paris et ses fontaines, pg. 209–247
  57. ^ Virginie Grandval, pg. 229
  58. ^
  59. ^ Marilyn Symmes, "Fountains as Propaganda," in "Fountains, Splash and Spectacle," pp. 82–83
  60. ^ SAMIRAD (Saudi Arabia Market Information Resource Directory)


  • Helen Attlee, Italian Gardens – A Cultural History. Frances Lincoln Limited, London, 2006.
  • Paris et ses Fontaines, del la Renaissance a nos jours, edited by Béatrice de Andia, Dominique Massounie, Pauline Prevost-Marcilhacy and Daniel Rabreau, from the Collection Paris et son Patrimoine, Paris, 1995.
  • Les Aqueducs de la ville de Rome, translation and commentary by Pierre Grimal, Société d'édition Les Belles Lettres, Paris, 1944.
  • Louis Plantier, Fontaines de Provence et de la Côte d'Azur, Édisud, Aix-en-Provence, 2007
  • Frédérick Cope and Tazartes Maurizia, Les Fontaines de Rome, Éditions Citadelles et Mazenod, 2004
  • André Jean Tardy, Fontaines toulonnaises, Les Éditions de la Nerthe, 2001. ISBN 2-913483-24-0
  • Hortense Lyon, La Fontaine Stravinsky, Collection Baccalauréat arts plastiques 2004, Centre national de documentation pédagogique
  • Marilyn Symmes (editor), Fountains-Splash and Spectacle- Water and Design from the Renaissance to the Present. Thames and Hudson, in cooperation with the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum of the Smithsonian Institution. (1998).
  • Yves Porter et Arthur Thévenart, Palais et Jardins de Perse, Flammarion, Paris (2002). (ISBN 9-782080-108388).


  • Wishing well, for the practice of dropping coins into fountains

See also

Gallery of notable fountains around the world

  • King Fahd's Fountain (1985) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The fountain jets water 853 feet (260 m) above the Red Sea[60] and is currently the highest continually-running fountain in the world.
  • The World Cup Fountain in the Han-gang River in Seoul, Korea (2002), advertises a height of 202 meters (663 feet).
  • The Gateway Geyser (1995), next to the Mississippi River in St. Louis, Missouri, shoots water 192 meters (630 feet) in the air. It is the tallest fountain in the United States.
  • Port Fountain (2006) in Karachi, Pakistan, rises to height of 190 meters (620 feet) making it the fourth tallest fountain.
  • Fountain Park, Fountain Hills, Arizona (1970). Can reach 171 meters (561 feet) every hour when all three pumps are operating, but normally runs at 91 meters, or 300 feet.
  • The Dubai Fountain, opened in 2009 next to Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building. The fountain performs once every half hour to recorded music, and shoots water to height of 73 meters, or 240 feet. The fountain also has extreme shooters, not used in every show, which can reach 150 meters, or 492 feet.
  • The Captain Cook Memorial Jet in Canberra (1970), 147 meters
  • The Jet d'eau, in Geneva (1951),140 meters (459 feet)
King Fahd's Fountain

The tallest fountains in the World

The pumps, filter, electrical switch box and plumbing controls are often housed in a "plant room". Low-voltage lighting, typically 12 volt direct current, is used to minimise electrical hazards. Lighting is often submerged and must be suitably designed. High wattage lighting (incandescent and halogen) either as submerged lighting or accent lighting on waterwall fountains have been implicated in every documented Legionnaires' disease outbreak associated with fountains. This is detailed in the "Guidelines for Control of Legionella in Ornamental Features" Floating fountains are also popular for ponds and lakes they consist of a float pump nozzle and water chamber.

In modern fountains a water filter, typically a media filter, removes particles from the water—this filter requires its own pump to force water through it and plumbing to remove the water from the pool to the filter and then back to the pool. The water may need chlorination or anti-algal treatment, or may use biological methods to filter and clean water.

Beginning in the 19th century, fountains ceased to be used for drinking water and became purely ornamental. By the beginning of the 20th century, cities began using steam pumps and later electric pumps to send water to the city fountains. Later in the 20th century, urban fountains began to recycle their water through a closed recirculating system. An electric pump, often placed under the water, pushes the water through the pipes. The water must be regularly topped up to offset water lost to evaporation, and allowance must be made to handle overflow after heavy rain.

In Germany, some courts and palace gardens were situated in flat areas, thus fountains depending on pumped pressurized water were developed at a fairly early point in history. The Great Fountain in Nymphenburg Palace initially were fed by water pumped to water towers, but as from 1803 were operated by the water powered Nymphenburg Pumping Stations which are still working.

The architects of the fountains at Versailles designed specially-shaped nozzles, or tuyaux, to form the water into different shapes, such as fans, bouquests, and umbrellas.

The fountains of Versailles depended upon water from reservoirs just above the fountains. As King Louis XIV built more fountains, he was forced to construct an enormous complex of pumps, called the Machine de Marly, with fourteen water wheels and 220 pumps, to raise water 162 meters above the Seine River to the reservoirs to keep his fountains flowing. Even with the Machine de Marly, the fountains used so much water that they could not be all turned on at the same time. Fontainiers watched the progress of the King when he toured the gardens and turned on each fountain just before he arrived.[59]

The most famous fountains of the Renaissance, at the Villa d'Este in Tivoli, were located on a steep slope near a river; the builders ran a channel from the river to a large fountain at top of the garden, which then fed other fountains and basins on the levels below. The fountains of Rome, built from the Renaissance through the 18th century, took their water from rebuilt Roman aqueducts which brought water from lakes and rivers at a higher elevation than the fountains. Those fountains with a high source of water, such as the Triton Fountain, could shoot water 16 feet (4.9 m) in air. Fountains with a lower source, such as the Trevi Fountain, could only have water pour downwards. The architect of the Trevi Fountain placed it below street level to make the flow of water seem more dramatic.

In cities and towns, residents filled vessels or jars of water jets from the canons of the fountain or paid a water porter to bring the water to their home. Horses and domestic animals could drink the water in the basin below the fountain. The water not used often flowed into a separate series of basins, a lavoir, used for washing and rinsing clothes. After being used for washing, the same water then ran through a channel to the town's kitchen garden. In Provence, since clothes were washed with ashes, the water that flowed into the garden contained potassium, and was valuable as fertilizer.[5]

From the Middle Ages onwards, fountains in villages or towns were connected to springs, or to channels which brought water from lakes or rivers. In Provence, a typical village fountain consisted of a pipe or underground duct from a spring at a higher elevation than the fountain. The water from the spring flowed down to the fountain, then up a tube into a bulb-shaped stone vessel, like a large vase with a cover on top. The inside of the vase, called the bassin de répartition, was filled with water up to a level just above the mouths of the canons, or spouts, which slanted downwards. The water poured down through the canons, creating a siphon, so that the fountain ran continually.

In Roman cities, water for fountains came from lakes and rivers and springs in the hills, brought into city in aqueducts and then distributed to fountains through a system of lead pipes.

From Roman times until the end of the 19th century, fountains operated by gravity, requiring a source of water higher than the fountain itself to make the water flow. The greater the difference between the elevation of the source of water and the fountain, the higher the water would go upwards from the fountain.

The book "The Theory and Practice of Gardening" by Dezallier d'Argenville (1709) showed different types of fountain nozzles which would create different shapes of water, from bouquets to fans.
Illuminated fountain
Water fountain

How fountains work

In 1859, The Metropolitan Drinking Fountain and Cattle Trough Association was established to promote the provision of drinking water for people and animals in the United Kingdom and overseas. More recently, in 2010, the FindaFountain campaign was launched in the UK to encourage people to use drinking fountains instead of environmentally damaging bottled water. A map showing the location of UK drinking water fountains is published on the FindaFountain website.

A water fountain or drinking fountain is designed to provide drinking water and has a basin arrangement with either continuously running water or a tap. The drinker bends down to the stream of water and swallows water directly from the stream. Modern indoor drinking fountains may incorporate filters to remove impurities from the water and chillers to reduce its temperature. In some regional dialects, water fountains are called bubblers. Water fountains are usually found in public places, like schools, rest areas, libraries, and grocery stores. Many jurisdictions require water fountains to be wheelchair accessible (by sticking out horizontally from the wall), and to include an additional unit of a lower height for children and short adults. The design that this replaced often had one spout atop a refrigeration unit.

Drinking fountain

A splash fountain or bathing fountain is intended for people to come in and cool off on hot summer days. These fountains are also referred to as interactive fountains. These fountains are designed to allow easy access, and feature nonslip surfaces, and have no standing water, to eliminate possible drowning hazards, so that no lifeguards or supervision is required. These splash pads are often located in public pools, public parks, or public playgrounds (known as "spraygrounds"). In some splash fountains, such as Dundas Square in Toronto, Canada, the water is heated by solar energy captured by the special dark colored granite slabs. The fountain at Dunas Square features 600 ground nozzles arranged in groups of 30 (3 rows of 10 nozzles). Each group of 30 nozzles is located beneath a stainless steel grille. Twenty such grilles are arranged in two rows of 10, in the middle of the main walkway through Dundas Square.

The Splash Fountain in Krasnodar, Russia.

Splash fountains

Today some of the best-known musical fountains in the world are the are at the Bellagio Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, (2009); the Dubai Fountain in the United Arab Emirates; the World of Color at Disney California Adventure Park (2010) and Aquanura at the Efteling in the Netherlands (2012).

The great international expositions held in Philadelphia, London and Paris featured the ancestors of the modern musical fountain. They introduced the first fountains illuminated by gas lights (Philadelphia in 1876); and the first fountains illuminated by electric lights (London in 1884 and Paris in 1889).[56] The Exposition Universelle (1900) in Paris featured fountains illuminated by colored lights controlled by a keyboard.[57] The Paris Colonial Exposition of 1931 presented the Théâtre d'eau, or water theater, located in a lake, with performance of dancing water. The Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne (1937) had combined arches and columns of water from fountains in the Seine with light, and with music from loudspeakers on eleven rafts anchored in the river, playing the music of the leading composers of the time. (See International Exposition Fountains, above.)

Louis XIV created the idea of the modern musical fountain by staging spectacles in the Gardens of Versailles, using music and fireworks to accompany the flow of the fountains.

The Organ Fountain fell into ruins, but it was recently restored and plays music again. [55] During the

Musical fountains were first described in the 1st century AD by the Greek scientist and engineer Hero of Alexandria in his book Pneumatics. Hero described and provided drawings of "A bird made to whistle by flowing water," "A Trumpet sounded by flowing water," and "BIrds made to sing and be silent alternately by flowing water." In Hero's descriptions, water pushed air through musical instruments to make sounds. It is not known if Hero made working models of any of his designs.[54]

Musical fountains create a theatrical spectacle with music, light and water, usually employing a variety of programmable spouts and water jets controlled by a computer.

Musical fountains

The fountain is in three parts. A bas-relief of the dragon is fixed on the wall of the structure of the water-supply plant, and the dragon seems to be emerging from the wall and plunging underground. This part of the dragon is opaque. The second and third parts depict the arch of the dragon's back coming out of the pavement. These parts of the dragon are transparent, and water under pressure flows within, and is illuminated at night.

La Danse de la fontaine emergente, Place Augusta-Holmes, Paris (13th arrondissement) (2008), is the newest fountain in Paris. The fountain is designed to resemble a dragon winding its way around the square, emerging and submerging from the pavement. The skin of the dragon is transparent, showing the water flowing within. The water flowing within the dragon is under pressure and is illuminated at night. It is constructed of stainless steel, glass, and plastic. It was designed by the French-Chinese sculptor Chen Zhen (1955–2000)

Crown Fountain is an interactive fountain and video sculpture feature in Chicago's Millennium Park. Designed by Catalan artist Jaume Plensa, it opened in July 2004.[50][51] The fountain is composed of a black granite reflecting pool placed between a pair of glass brick towers. The towers are 50 feet (15 m) tall,[50] and they use light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to display digital videos on their inward faces. Construction and design of the Crown Fountain cost US$17 million.[52] Weather permitting, the water operates from May to October,[53] intermittently cascading down the two towers and spouting through a nozzle on each tower's front face.

The fountain called Bit. Fall by German artist Julius Popp (2005) uses digital technologies to spell out words with water. The fountain is run by a statistical program which selects words at random from news stories on the Internet. It then recodes these words into pictures. Then 320 nozzles inject the water into electromagnetic valves. The program uses rasterization and bitmap technologies to synchronize the valves so drops of water form an image of the words as they fall. According to Popp, the sheet of water is "a metaphor for the constant flow of information from which we cannot escape."[49]

The new Trafalgar Square fountains in London, with new pumps and lighting, opened in June 2009

Contemporary fountains (2001–2011)

It also saw the increasing popularity of the musical fountain, which combined water, music and light, choreographed by computers. (See Musical fountain below).

The end of the 20th century the development of high-shooting fountains, beginning with the Jet d'eau in Geneva in 1951, and followed by taller and taller fountains in the United States and the Middle East. The highest fountain today in the King Fahd's Fountain in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

After World War II, fountains in the United States became more varied in form. Some, like the Vaillancourt Fountain in San Francisco (1971), were pure works of sculpture. Other fountains, like the Frankin Roosevelt Memorial Waterfall (1997), by architect Lawrence Halprin, were designed as landscapes to illustrate themes. This fountain is part of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington D.C., which has four outdoor "rooms" illustrating his Presidency. Each "room" contains a cascade or waterfall; the cascade in the third room illustrates the turbulence of the years of the World War II. Halprin wrote at an early stage of the design; "the whole environment of the memorial becomes sculpture: to touch, feel, hear and contact - with all the senses."[48]

The Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park in Chicago was one of the first American fountains to use powerful modern pumps to shoot water as high as 150 feet (46 meters) into the air. The Fountain of Prometheus, built at Rockefeller Center in New York City in 1933, was the first American fountain in the Art-Deco style.

Fountains built in the United States between 1900 and 1950 mostly followed European models and classical styles. The Samuel Francis Dupont Memorial Fountain, in Dupont Circle, Washington D.C., was designed and created by Henry Bacon and Daniel Chester French, the architect and sculptor of the Lincoln Memorial, in 1921, in a pure neoclassical style.

Few new fountains have been built in Paris since 2000. The most notable is La Danse de la fontaine emergente (2008), located on Place Augusta-Holmes, rue Paul Klee, in the 13th arrondissement. It was designed by the French-Chinese sculptor Chen Zhen (1955–2000), shortly before his death in 2000, and finished through the efforts of his spouse and collaborator. It shows a dragon, in stainless steel, glass and plastic, emerging and submerging from the pavement of the square. Water under pressure flows through the transparent skin of the dragon.

Between 1981 and 1995, during the terms of President François Mitterrand and Culture Minister Jack Lang, and of Mitterrand's bitter political rival, Paris Mayor Jacques Chirac (Mayor from 1977 until 1995), the city experienced a program of monumental fountain building that exceeded that of Napoleon Bonaparte or Louis Philippe. More than one hundred fountains were built in Paris in the 1980s, mostly in the neighborhoods outside the center of Paris, where there had been few fountains before These included the Fontaine Cristaux,, homage to Béla Bartók by Jean-Yves Lechevallier (1980); the Stravinsky Fountain next to the Pompidou Center, by sculptors Niki de Saint Phalle and Jean Tinguely (1983); the fountain of the Pyramid of the Louvre by I.M. Pei, (1989), the Buren Fountain by sculptor Daniel Buren, Les Sphérades fountain, both in the Palais-Royal, and the fountains of Parc André-Citroën. The Mitterrand-Chirac fountains had no single style or theme. Many of the fountains were designed by famous sculptors or architects, such as Jean Tinguely, I.M. Pei, Claes Oldenburg and Daniel Buren, who had radically different ideas of what a fountain should be. Some were solemn, and others were whimsical. Most made little effort to blend with their surroundings - they were designed to attract attention.

Only a handful of fountains were built in Paris between 1940 and 1980. The most important ones built during that period were on the edges of the city, on the west, just outside the city limits, at La Défense, and to the east at the Bois de Vincennes.

The biggest fountains of the period were those built for the International Expositions of 1900, 1925 and 1937, and for the Colonial Exposition of 1931. Of those, only the fountains from the 1937 exposition at the Palais de Chaillot still exist. (See Fountains of International Expositions).

Paris fountains in the 20th century no longer had to supply drinking water - they were purely decorative; and, since their water usually came from the river and not from the city aqueducts, their water was no longer drinkable. Twenty-eight new fountains were built in Paris between 1900 and 1940; nine new fountains between 1900 and 1910; four between 1920 and 1930; and fifteen between 1930 and 1940.[47]