The Medici fountain is one of the most beautiful fountains in Paris. A monument which was however not intended to become the current fountain.
Marie de Médicis no longer supported the Louvre
The Medici fountain is one of the most important decorative elements of the Luxembourg Gardens. Few people know that it is to the widow of Henri IV, Marie de Medici, that we owe this beautiful piece of architecture then called “Luxembourg Cave“. Over the centuries, the cave underwent several transformations, the main one consisting, in the 19th century, of its pure and simple relocation. After the assassination of Henri IV (1610), Marie de Médicis no longer supported the Louvre; nor its court intrigues, nor the pestilential odors of garbage that come from the Seine. She therefore decided to have a palace built on the edge of the capital, at the foot of Montagne Sainte-Geneviève (the current Senate). Marie de Medici had envisaged for the decoration of the garden of the palace that she had just built in Paris, in the Faubourg Saint-Germain-des-Prés, a number of caves, fountains, ponds and terraces with water features. Today, only the Medici fountain bears witness to the achievements desired by the queen.
To rediscover the atmospher of her Italian gardens
The queen wanted to rediscover the atmosphere of the nymphaea and fountains of the Italian gardens of her childhood, in particular that of the Buontalenti grotto in the Boboli gardens in Florence. She entrusted its creation to the Florentine engineer Thomas Francine, whom she had also charged with transporting the waters of Rungis to Paris. It was probably he who, around 1630, drew the plans for the cave and not Salomon de Brosse, the architect responsible for the construction of the Luxembourg Palace. What, initially, was just a portico has often been reworked throughout its history and was even moved in 1861. Alphonse de Gisors then added a 50 meter long water basin, bordered by a avenue of plane trees which gives it its magical appearance. The current sculpture, one of the most beautiful in Paris, is the work of Auguste Ottin. This is a representation of Polyphemus surprising the nymph Galatea in the arms of the shepherd Acis. During this redevelopment, the Léda fountain, formerly located at the corner of rue du Regard and rue de Vaugirard, was moved up against the rear side.