French Friday – Medici Fountain

medici fountains (Large)
Spring in the Jardin du Luxembourg and the Medici Fountain looking rather sumptuous.

The ubiquitious Parisian pleasure grounds, the Jardin du Luxembourg was in fact modeled on the Boboli Gardens in Florence to remind the formidable Marie de Medici of her native home and the palace she had built in the gardens was also modeled after the Pallazzo Pitti in Florence. So we see here the influence that the Italian style had on French architecture during the late 16th and early 17th centuries.

The Medici fountain we see today next to the palace, while charming, is greatly altered from the original. After the style went out of fashion in the 18th Century the fountain was neglected and fell into disrepair. Bits of it disappeared and eventually it was restored with new additions the most notable being a marble Venus in her bath. Then, when Haussmann was remodelling Paris the whole fountain was shifted 30 metres to make way for the new rue de Medicis and the big basin was added in the front.

What most people do not know is that on the back of the fountain is another fountain relocated from another part of Paris. The fontaine de Léda was created in the First Empire and was at threat of destruction during the Haussmann renovations and was stuck to the back of the Medici fountain where it now rests, mostly forgotten and hidden.

Next time you are in the Jardin du Luxembourg to take a peek behind, check out Leda dallying with her swan and remember to ask anyone else “Have you seen the Leda Fountain in the Jardin du Luxembourg?” and smile smugly to yourself when they say “No”.

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13 Comments

  1. Oh these romantic reasons for building gardens… 🙂 The Hanging Gardens of Babylon too supposedly were built to ease the homesickness of Nebuchadnezzar II’s Mede wife by reminding her of the mountains of her homeland!

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    1. It would be rather nice to be able to turn up somewhere and say “I feel a tad homesick” and then have palaces and gardens instantly provided to make up for the loss. I am lucky to get an “Awww poor you!” if I whine about my problems. 🙂

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    1. I am glad they were so we can enjoy them today but it certainly boggles the mind that single people could have such astonishing wealth. Mind you, there still seem to be plenty of Billionaires out there. Sigh… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Me too I can assure you. I hope to be in Paris again later in the year but I will see it in Winter which I have never done before. It should be wonderful in a new way. Bon weekend!

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      1. All I’m hearing is “I love Paris in the springtime….” (can’t recall the artist). Bon weekend to you as well! I hope I’ve not missed a household haiku challenge–seems awhile since I did one…

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Ah…you are on the money. I have just put up the next thrilling installment and you are first up on the contributors last week. Hope you like this one! 🙂

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