Fountain of the Innocents
It is a shame that this beautiful fountain, dating from the 16th century is so damaged by tags and rubbish. The basement of the fountain is crumbling certainly under the action of time. But, the damage is also caused by
the skateboarders, less sensitive to the art of the Renaissance, and enjoying more the spot for its long steps and curbs ... Hopefully restoration work is planned for 2021, thanks to the action from the locals.
the space between rue des Innocents, rue Saint-Denis and rue Berger was occupied in the past by the Holy Innocents cemetery (cimetière des Innocents). Where the fountain is today, there was a large mass grave. The first fountain was leaning
against the Church of the Innocents, once located at the corner of rue aux Fers (now rue Berger) and rue Saint-Denis.
The fountain was also different. It was completely rebuilt to celebrate the royal entry of King Henry
II into Paris, on June 1549. Renowned artists were commissioned. Pierre Lescot designed the fountain which had initially only three arcades, forming a sort of loggia from which local notables could greet the king. Jean Gougeon did the sculpture
of the arcades, two opened onto rue Saint-Denis and the other one onto the rue aux Fers.
Due to sanitary reasons, it was decided in 1780 to close and destroy the Holy Innocents cemetery. This is how millions of bones were
moved into the old quarries of the Tomb of Issoire, transforming them into the Catacombs.
When the cemetery was converted
into a new market, it was decided to install the fountain in the centre of the square. The fountain was dismantled, reconstructed stone by stone, and a fourth facade carved by Pajou, in line with the three original arcades.
To make way for the new Baltard
pavilions, the fountain was moved few metres, to its current location, with a new stepped based designed by Davioud.