This Wallace Fountain is one that I’m sure I have overlooked a few times, because in the afternoons and evenings (weather permitting) it is surrounded by the tables and chairs and customers and waiters of the nearby café and restaurant. In the mornings, however, it is out in the open.
The name of the restaurant is Le Clou de Paris, meaning ‘The Highlight of Paris’.
On the base of the fountain are the words Val d’Osne (Valley of the Osne), the Osne being a river halfway between Paris and Strasbourg in the former region of Champagne-Ardenne, now part of the new region Grand Est. Val d’Osne is also the name of the iron foundry where the original Wallace Fountains were made, from 1872 to 1931.
What happened in 1931 was that the Val d’Osne foundry was bought by a competing company, GHM Sommevoire, which still has the original molds and still produces Wallace Fountains and replacement parts.
The Val d’Osne foundry is still operational, but now seems to be run mainly as a tourist attraction, to show how cast-iron artworks used to be made in the 19th century.
The public square Place St-André-des-Arts is directly adjacent to Place Saint Michel. It is only ever this empty in the mornings. Otherwise it is full of tables, chairs and people. From here, a street called Rue St-André-des-Arts leads off to the west, towards Rue de Buci in the Saint-Germain-des-Près quarter.
Saint André (Saint Andrew in English) was one of the twelve apostles, along with his brother Saint Peter.
The current square St-André-des-Arts was formerly the site of a church of the same name, but the church was severely damaged during the French Revolution and its remains were demolished a few years later.
Originally, the name Saint-André-des-Arts had nothing to do with the Arts, but was derived from Saint-André-des-Arcs. This was the name of the church in the 13th century, because some of the parishioners were merchants of Arcs (= bows, the kind used for shooting arrows) — in other words, they were weapons dealers.
After bows and arrows became obsolete, the name Arcs was gradually changed to Arts. Apparently there is still an old statue, at the corner of rue Mazet and rue Saint-André-des-Arts, on which Saint André is identified as the patron of arcs, not the arts.
My photos and text in this post are from 2023.