Fontaine du Soleil (The Sun Fountain) - Atlas Obscura

Fontaine du Soleil (The Sun Fountain)

This saucy statue once caused outrage among locals. 


In 1956, the French sculptor Alfred Janniot created a statue of the Greek god Apollo. The 23-foot-tall stone figure was surrounded by five bronze statues representing Earth, Mars, Venus, Mercury, and Saturn. 

The unveiling of the unique center sculpture caused an outcry among locals. Firstly, Apollo had four statues of horses on his head. The makeshift crown was an ode to his mythological task of carrying the sun across the sky each day via chariot. This headpiece earned the statue the nickname “the four horsepower statue,” in reference to a nickname for the Renault 4CV, a popular car at the time of unveiling.

It also didn’t help that the Apollo sculpture was created completely naked, and according to some disgruntled spectators, too well endowed. Despite Janniot taking a chisel to his controversial creation, the statue was still deemed obscene. It was removed in the 1970s, and relegated to a new location behind the Charles Erhmann Stadium.

On July 20, 2011, Apollo found his new place in the center of a large pool, surrounded by his five bronze figures as part of the Fontaine du Soleil at the edge of Place Masséna, where he remains today. 

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