Early work of a talented French sculptor
Frédéric Bartholdi designed this powerful fountain when he was only 23 years old. Initially all interested bidders considered it too expensive to build. But that changed when the young artist gained world-renown for another creation: The Statue of Liberty that rises from America’s New York Harbor. Lyon purchased the fountain, and it has graced the city’s Place de Terreaux since 1892.
Vive La France
The images in the Bartholdi Fountain are as patriotic for France as those in the Statue of Liberty are for the United States. The artist depicted France as a young woman riding a chariot, wrangling four fearsome horses. Those horses represent the four great rivers of France, galloping through picturesque water plants.
Because it sits in the middle of a public square, the fountain is always free to visit. However, the city occasionally removes it for restoration. Lyon is obligated to take good care of it–the city named the fountain a historical monument in 1995.