diamond geezer

 Thursday, July 12, 2018

À PARIS: la pétillante

The most brilliantly Parisian thing I saw during my trip to Paris was a sparkling water drinking fountain. There are currently ten across the city, sparsely scattered, with the aim of installing one in every arrondissement by 2020. At present the only central site is on the rive Gauche, near the Pont de la Concorde, the others being sited nowhere the average tourist would look. The original can be found in Jardin de Reuilly, a modern park out east in the XIIe, which I stumbled upon late in the day when my own water bottle was nigh empty.

It's no ordinary tap, more a small pavilion, indeed the first time I saw the fountain I wondered if it might be a pissoir. Its bulk is necessary to shield the gadgetry within, including a coiled coolant unit and a large canister of CO2 for injecting into one of the outputs. Punters have the option of ambient temperature or chilled, and if the latter then still or sparkling. I didn't see anybody opting for anything other than fizzy. Rest your bottle on the gauze, press, and a stream of approximately one third of a litre flows forth.

It's popular too, not least with residents from the surrounding area who turn up with bagfuls of bottles which they proceed to fill one by one. Wouldn't you, if this facility were freely available in your local park? Not only does it promote the use of reusable containers, but it must save vast amounts of money buying expensive bottled water daily from the shops. I eventually got my turn, and filled just the once, and blimey if the chilled liquid didn't taste just great. Oh to have 1200 municipal water fountains back in London, several of which sparkle, rather than a piddly handful.

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