Place du Chatelet

Place du Chatelet is a square at a location of the former Grand Châtelet fortress, where today, you’ll find the La Fontaine du Palmier, surrounded by sphinx statues.

The square is one of the most famous in Paris, located just north of Pont au Change, near Palais de Justice and Conciergerie buildings…

…at a place, where, until 1810, there was a Grand Châtelet fortress, giving the square its current name.

Place du Chatelet Paris France

PHOTO: Place du Châtelet and its monumental “La Fontaine du Palmier” fountain, a design by François-Jean Bralle.

La Fontaine du Palmier Place du Chatelet Paris France

PHOTO: La Fontaine du Palmier’s base is surrounded by four allegorical sculptures by Louis-Simon Boizot, symbolizing practical wisdom, modesty, justice, and fortitude.

Victoria statue Fontaine du Palmier Place du Chatelet Paris France

PHOTO: A closeup of the statue on top of the fountain column, of ancient Roman goddess of victory, Victoria, holding laurel wreaths in her hands. The character’s pedestal is surrounded by a bas-relief of eagles.

La Fontaine du Palmier Sphinx Place du Chatelet Paris France

PHOTO: Among the monument’s details are the 4 sphinx sculptures, all by Gabriel Davioud, surrounding the column base. These sculptures are allegorical to Napoleon’s military victories in Egypt (and Syria).

Dominant to the square is the central La Fontaine du Palmier (“Palmtree Fountain”), commissioned to be built by Napoleon (in 1806), and designed by François-Jean Bralle.

The fountain, which was added to the square in 1808, celebrates French military victories especially at…

  • Siege of Danzig (1807),
  • Battle of Ulm (1805),
  • Battle of Marengo (1800),
  • Battle of the Pyramids (1798), and
  • Battle of Lod (1796).

The fountain’s palmtree-shaped column has a total height of 18 meters (59 feet), and on the top of it, there is a golden statue for ancient Roman goddess of victory, Victoria, holding in her hands laurel wreaths, allegorically to victory.

There are four sphinx sculptures by Henri-Alfred Jacquemart on the base of the monumental column, which were added to the monument in 1858, to emphasize Napoleon’s military victories in Egypt.