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Place des Terreaux (1e)

Char triomphal de la Garonne - "Fontaine Bartholdi"

Triumphal chariot of the Garonne - "Bartholdi Fountain"

Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi

Lyon /  Char triomphal de la Garonne - "Fontaine Bartholdi"   Lyon /  Char triomphal de la Garonne - "Fontaine Bartholdi"


Fountain with a lead sculpture representing a chariot with four horses, on the chariot sits a woman - the Garonne - and two children with jars from which water spouts. One of the children is the Garonne, the four horses represent the four main tributaries of the Garonne.

Why is there a fountain of the Garonne river on the main square of Lyon? The fountain was Bartholdi's 1857 proposal for the fountain for the Place des Quinconces in Bordeaux. He won the competition, but the fountain was never commissioned by the city of Bordeaux. After the inauguration of Bartholdi's Statue of Liberty in 1886, the city of Bordeaux tries to relaunch the fountain project. Bartholdi had it cast in 1888 by Gaget and Gauthier and presented it at the Universal Exhibition of Paris in 1889 under the title 'The triumphant chariot of the Garonne', inspired by the Char d'Apollon realized between 1668 and 1670 by Jean-Baptiste Tuby in Versailles.
Bordeaux however, not completed the order and the city of Lyon acquired it for a reducted price (from 150,000 to 100,000 francs). The fountain was inaugurated at the Place des Terreaux on 22 September 1891. In 1898, Bartholdi presented at the salon of French artists a quadriga led by an allegory that resembles this fountain and was entitled 'the Saône carrying its tributaries.



Lyon - Char triomphal de la Garonne - "Fontaine Bartholdi"


Sources & Information


Location (N 45°46'3" - E 4°50'0")

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Item Code: frra105; Photograph: 12 August 2018
Of each statue we made photos from various angles and also detail photos of the various texts.
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© Website and photos: René & Peter van der Krogt

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