Created by the 19th century designer Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, La Fontaine Bartholdi is the pride and joy of Lyon’s magnetising square, the lovely Place des Terreaux. It’s one of those French squares where you can sit back and say to yourself, “this is France at its most charming”. And apart from the surrounding Hôtel de Ville de Lyon and the Musée des Beaux-Arts, it really is La Foutaine Bartholdi that contributes the most in making the charisma just so.
But the fountain was not always so well loved. Designed by Bartholdi when he was just 23 – back in the mid 19th century – the project commission was originally rejected by Bordeaux; I guess Bordeaux weren’t rocked to their boots by the concept of the fountain, which depicts France as a female figure controlling the reigns of four horses (the four horses represent the four major rivers of France, and our Lady France has a tight hold over all of them). But it was also a matter of cash that stopped Bordeaux commissioning the project, so the project was snapped up by Lyon, who were quite taken with the idea of Lady France and her powerful presence and, being one of the richest cities in France, Lyon had enough of the readies to cover the cost of the expensive project. And aren’t they glad they did! Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi went on to make quite a name for himself, primarily as the chief designer of the Statue of Liberty; the universally known symbol of “Liberty Enlightening the World”. So I think a tribute to the designer was quite justified at this year’s Fête des Lumières, and to spread the tribute around, here’s a snippet of the light projection show that illuminated the work of Bartholdi, one of France’s – and the world’s – most visionary creators:
A Tribute to Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi
Article, photography and video by Emma Muldoon.
Photography and Video Copyright Emma Muldoon. All Rights Reserved.