Paris has long been associated with avant-garde art, even if most of the city’s architecture is firmly rooted in the past. But with some unconventional thinking and a willingness to meld the two, interesting things happen.
The square at La Reunion in the 20th arrondissement of Paris is a rather unremarkable spot on its own, and the fountain at the center of the square would be just another fountain, if it weren’t for the quirky humor of the local Mairie, or neighborhood council.
In 2010 the council had the fountain painted a bright, blazing yellow. Then the local schoolchildren were given free-reign to cover the newly painted bronze with multi-colored “dot” stickers—the kind office workers use to color-code business priorities. From afar the structure looks like a wonderful, colorful mosaic. The statue was repainted and the process repeated again in 2013 to refresh the paint and stickies.
La Place de la Reunion serves the purpose that these squares were built to serve, as a marketplace (currently Thursdays and Sundays). Though back in the day the central fountains were not only decorative but actual water sources for the neighborhood.
Before its unique decoration, this particular fountain was one of many of a similar type and style built by the prolific Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse, under Napoleon III. Carrier-Belleuse produced a significant amount of the decorative bronze statues, fountains, and knick-knacks throughout the city in the late 19th century. Though he was quite well known in his lifetime, one of his pupils, Auguste Rodin, eventually eclipsed him in popular history.