Built by Louis XIV, the Latona Fountain’s being restored using three-century-old techniques. Photo: Stephanie Johnston
Built by Louis XIV, the Latona Fountain’s being restored using three-century-old techniques. Photo: Stephanie Johnston

But there’s something about that fountain (or maybe fountains in general) that brings out the worst in certain personalities.

A couple years ago, the concrete structure had to be completely replaced after someone tried to climb it. At least, that’s what police think happened. At any rate, the pedestal was broken and the bowls damaged beyond repair. The village used the $30,000 insurance payment to buy a new one.

This fountain isn’t being repaired because of vandalism. Built over several decades in the mid-1600s, the three-century-old Latona Fountain at the Palace of Versailles outside Paris desperately needed some TLC.

The marble sculptures need restoration, yes; but more important is upgrading what the public can’t see: the infrastructure. The fountain’s hydraulic system “feeds” the 50 (yes: 50) other fountains in the Gardens of Versailles from underground reservoirs. (I should probably also note that the gardens comprise almost 2,000 acres.)

Since many of you are engineers, I thought you’d find this16-month, three-phase project fascinating. I saw it in person a couple weeks ago while attending the Intermat construction trade show in Paris (more about some other time).

I couldn’t find the project cost anywhere, so the French must be more tight-lipped than we in the U.S. At any rate, watch while a fountain engineer goes below the structure to explain the innovative piping that makes this park feature possible (in French with English subtitles).

I can't be the only person who thinks this is extremely cool!