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"Let them drink alcohol!"

“Let them drink alcohol” said someone (maybe…) 150 years ago.

The Siege of Paris caused mostly the homeless citizens of the city to be in desperate need of clean drinking water. The water being sold by vendors on the street was expensive and was drawn from the contaminated Seine River. It was less risky to drink alcoholic beverages, and so, drunkenness and alcoholism became prevalent among the poor and working-class citizens of Paris – including toddlers.

The solution – Sir Richard Wallace, a British philanthropist and art collector decided to create cast iron drinking fountains to be scattered around Paris and provide clean drinking water for all Parisians and at no cost.

The design – Wallace fountains feature four caryatids, holding up the dome of the fountain. These caryatids each represent a virtue – kindness, simplicity, charity and sobriety.

The legacy – today these fountains may be the only source of clean water for the homeless in Paris. There are 100 of the Wallace Fountains scattered around Paris, and a bunch of them around the world including in Haifa, Israel.

Why Haifa? This Wallace Fountain is in Place de Paris. The square is named after Paris because it is the location of the Carmelit - Israel’s (still) only underground transportation system - and which was designed by a French company 60 years ago.

In 2011 the Place de Paris was remodeled and in honor of the occasion the City of Paris donated Parisian elements including a Wallace Fountain, all manufactured by GHM Sommevoire a company that’s been around since 1840.

The Wallace Fountain in Haifa is one of the newer models intended to save water so instead of having the water run perpetually, it has a button that enables the fountain to provide 40-50 cl of water at a time. I can’t say if anyone actually uses the Haifa Wallace Fountain for the original Parisian purpose, but it’s good to know it’s out there if anyone is stuck without some water 😊

#carmelit #publictransportation #israeltours #haifa #castiron #tourisrael #funicular

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