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Fontaine Saint-Michel

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Fontaine Saint-Michel | Turning point of Paris

Published by Kriya Vij — 3 years ago

Paris is a beautiful city. But there was a point where it all began. Fontaine Saint-Michel is an icon for that change as it is one of the first sites that were renovated. Today, other than the modern buildings, all the buildings of Paris are coherent. This gives the city of Paris its unique appearance.

The Old city of Paris

The old city of Paris was not nearly as impressive as it is now. Amost every city in the world has gone through changes in its appearance and so has Paris. On this page in Wikipedia, you can read about the old city of Paris and even find some pictures of the places that now you will find unrecognizable! Even the crime rates and the general condition of the city was contrasting before and after the “renovation of Paris”. Particularly, the “center of Paris” was the focus of this campaign.


Tourists enjoying and clicking pictures near Fontaine-Saint Michel.

The campaign commissioned by Napoleon

President Louis Napoleon Bonaparte (not to be confused with the famous military leader Napoleon Bonaparte) commissioned the “renovation of Paris”. It was a full-fledged attempt to modernize and renovate the city. Haussman is given the credit of being in-charge of this campaign as he was assigned this responsibility by the President.

The campaign was divided in 3 phases. The first phase, which was largely a network of boulevards like the second phase, included Boulevard Saint-Michel. The construction of this boulevard was marked by the construction of Fontaine-Saint Michel.

Renovation of Paris

This series of typical Parisian buildings started with the construction of Fontaine-Saint Michel. There are more than 20 places and monuments in France whose names are or contain the words "Saint Michel". Fontaine-Saint Michel is one of the, but the word "fontaine" (which means "fountain") distinguishes it.

Originally, a boulevard was build which was a large open space. To make it more beautiful and appealing, a fountain was constructed and so were buildings on both the sides of it. However, to hide the end of those buildings, a wall was constructed behind the fountain.

Left incomplete with the third phase due to severe criticism, the project today can be credited with many beautiful places all over the city of Paris. In fact, it is amazing how one campaign eventually led to one of the most beautiful cities of the world.

Location of Fontaine-Saint Michel


A part of Île de La Cité as seen from the front of Fontaine-Saint Michel

To reach this landmark fountain, you can choose to take the metro to the stationSaint-Michel - Notre-Dame. It is on metro line 4. You can choose other modes of transport as per your convinience and depending on your starting location. But the Saint-Michel Notre-Dame station is right in front of the Fountain and all you have to do to reach the destination spot is to exit the metro station.


Image credit : Google maps screenshot M4 station near Fontaine-Saint Michel

Fontaine-Saint Michel is located in the 5th arrondissement of Paris. The fountain is also very close to Île de la Cité, which is another amazing place to relive the history of France as it has the ancient kingdom Palais de la Cité.


A small cruise on the river Seine with Île de la Cité in the background, as seen from a bridge connecting Île de la Cité to the area near Fontaine-Saint Michel.

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