The rectangular Lavoie Square (Le square Louvois) in the 2nd arrondissement of Paris is located between four streets. From the east, Rue de Richelieu limits it, and from the opposite side, Rue Lully approaches it. From the north, Lavoie Street serves as its border, and in the south it ends at Rameau Street.
Pages of History
The square owes its name to its proximity to the old hotel of the Marquis Lavoie. In 1792-1793, the Opera Rue de Richelieu was built on this site, in which Mademoiselle Montasier shone.
In February 1820, not far from its main entrance, the heir to the French crown, the Duke of Berry, Karl Ferdinand d'Artois, was killed by the worker Louis Pierre Louvel. In memory of this tragedy, a chapel of confession was erected on the site of the demolished theater, which lasted only about 10 years.
The chapel was demolished shortly after the victory of the 1830 revolution, and in 1839 it was decided to create a new city square called Le square Richelieu on the vacated space. Under its modern name, it was re-opened on August 15, 1859 after a reconstruction. Together with Place Jacques Bidault, Le square Louvois is still one of the few green spaces in the 2nd district of the capital.
Among the buildings surrounding the Lavoie square, the façade of the Richelieu National Library attracts first of all, but its main attraction is in the center of a small green square. The Lavoie fountain project was developed at the personal request of the Emperor Louis Napoleon by the leading Parisian architect Louis Visconti in 1844.
The lower, large, octagonal fountain pool is set in the middle of a neatly trimmed lawn. In its center there is a square pedestal, on four sides of which there are identical sculptures of tritons trumpeting into shells. They sit astride terrifying sea creatures, with twin fountains of water gushing up from their nostrils.
Above them, on the frieze of the bowl of the second level of the fountain, there are eight mascarons, from whose mouths water jets pour out. Astrological symbols of 12 signs of the zodiac are carved in stone between the masks.
Four low pedestals in the central part of the Lavoie fountain form a regular, equal-pointed cross. On them in 1860, four allegorical female figures, cast from cast iron after models of the sculptor Jean-Baptiste Klagman, were installed, which symbolize the main rivers of France - the Rhone, Seine, Saone and Garonne. The statues of the fountain and its other metal elements were made at the factory of the engineer and industrialist François-Etienne Calla.
Located behind the backs of the sculptures, a square column with pilasters in the corners supports another round bowl of a much smaller fountain. On its frieze, through the masks of animals, numerous jets of water rush into the lower bowl at the foot of the statues.
In the center of the uppermost bowl, on a small pedestal, there is an imitation of an antique queen of water vases - a large hydria. On four sides, satyr mascarons adjoin it, from which streams of water also pour out.
In 1860, a square was laid out around the fountain in the square of the Marquis Lavoie according to the sketches of the landscape architect Gabriel David and the engineer Jean-Charles Alfand. After World War II, a new landmark appeared in it, associated with the tragic events of the occupation of France. In the spring of 2011, a memorial stele was unveiled here with the names of 10 Jewish children from the II arrondissement of Paris, who were sent from here to concentration camps.
Address: 12 Rue de Louvois, Paris 75002.
Metro: Quatre-Septembre, Pyramides, Bourse.
Bus: Sainte-Anne - Petits Champs, Bibliothèque Nationale.