Drinking Water in Paris🚰 👍🏻 Everything you need to know

Drinking Water in Paris is safe and it’s easy to stay hydrated for free. This handy guide is here to help you find and learn everything you need to about drinking water in Paris.

Eau de Paris encourages both locals and visitors to ditch plastic bottles and opt for refillable ones. You don’t need to drink bottled water here, just bring a bottle on your next trip and fill it up for free from iconic historic fountains. Quench your thirst on the go by tapping into the city’s free-flowing fountain water – a refreshing way to save a few extra euros!

Picture of man drinking water in paris from a fountain

How can you be sure that drinking water is safe in Paris?

The Eau de Paris laboratory meticulously analyzes over 300 microbiological and physico-chemical parameters of the water in Paris. This rigorous process ensures continuous health monitoring and upholds the impeccable quality of the water supplied to the people of Paris.

Eau de Paris is the municipal organisation set up in 2009 to protect, what the Parisians consider their comun resource, Parisian drinking water. Their mission is to protect our drinking water and run an organisation that embodies the values of the public interest. Serving 3 million people, they test and regulate the supply of water throughout the city. Their website is a treasure trove of drinking water facts.

Eau de Paris's mission statementTranslated into english it isChoosing Eau de Paris
Means preserving and passing on our heritage,
Protecting and cultivating our biodiversity,
and making a daily commitment to
for the environment.Choosing Eau de Paris,
means choosing proximity and solidarity,
quality, transparency
and responsibility.The choice of sustainable management that puts the expertise
of its 900 men and women to serve
of living beings and people.

Translated mission statement;

Choose water from Paris,
is to choose natural, affordable water,
healthy and balanced
Water that we respect, that we share
and that brings people together,

Choosing Paris water,
means choosing water that we take care of
and that takes care of us,
Water that embodies the values of the common good.

Translation continues

Choosing Eau de Paris
Means preserving and passing on our heritage,
Protecting and cultivating our biodiversity,
and making a daily commitment to
for the environment.

Choosing Eau de Paris,
means choosing proximity and solidarity,
quality, transparency
and responsibility.

The choice of sustainable management that puts the expertise
of its 900 men and women to serve
of living beings and people.

How many water fountains are there in Paris?

Today you will find more than 1200 free drinking water fountains throughout Paris. These fountains can be found on Google Maps or if you prefer to be more in the know, here is a brilliant interactive map of all of the fountains you can find throughout Paris.

A map of all the drinking water fountains in Paris

Why are there so many drinking water fountains in Paris?

The Parisians are incredibly proud of the free drinking water throughout the city. This is due to the long history of Drinking water here in Paris. The town hall and the municipality pays for the instalation and upkeep of the 1200 free water fountains throughout Paris as it’s an integral part of our culture, and your human rights.

You will drinking water fountains that do far more than just serve you water. Some of Paris’s drinking water fountains also serve sparkling water (for free), have misters attached to help you cool down on a hot day and some that act as free showers including the soap you may need to take a wash.

As a Food Tour Guide, I often tell the nice little story about why these water fountains are so important and to help you enjoy the city by saving yourself some money.

Drawing of the roman aquaduct supplying water to Paris. Reconstitution of Lutèce, the gallo-romain aquaduct. Drawing, Paris, musée Carnavalet | ©Musée Carnavalet / Roger-Viollet
Reconstitution of Lutèce, the gallo-romain aquaduct. Drawing, Paris, musée Carnavalet | ©Musée Carnavalet / Roger-Viollet

The History of Drinking Water Fountains in Paris

Free Drinking Water in Paris really started with the whimsical tale of Sir Richard Wallace, an Englishman enchanted by the magic of Paris. Living most of his life in the City of Lights, Wallace, a character caught between the realms of generosity and possibly a touch of guilt from his huge inherited wealth, embarked on a peculiar quest. In the late 19th century, during the aftermath of the Franco-Prussian War and the Commune era, Wallace witnessed the city’s struggles, notably the dire state of drinking habits among the poor.

Our hero, armed with a desire for temperance and perhaps a dash of altruism, hatched a plan – free, clean drinking water for all! Thus, the Wallace Fountains were born, scattered like enchanted artifacts across Paris. These whimsical cast-iron sculptures, four grand models standing tall and proud, became symbols of kindness, simplicity, charity, and sobriety. Picture them as the guardians of hydration, holding up the dome of the fountain, ensuring Parisians sipped from the cup of health.

But why the fascination with water, you ask? Well, during the tumultuous times of siege and unrest, alcohol flowed freely, turning the streets into a chaotic sea of inebriation. In a city deprived of clean water, Wallace saw little ones sipping on wine-soaked bread and suffering from various ailments. Determined to save Paris from the clutches of intoxication, he unleashed his masterpieces.

With a touch of genius, Wallace collaborated with sculptor Charles-Auguste Lebourg, sketching out designs that were both practical and symbolic. The fountains, a marriage of art and utility, became a beacon of hope and a reminder to adopt the virtues of humanity. As the caryatids stood tall, they prevented horses from making the fountains watering troughs and kept stray dogs at bay. Oh, and let’s not forget the tin cups – left to dance in the basin, rinsed by the perpetual flow, a quirky ritual from days gone by.

Fast forward to today, where over a century later, Wallace’s legacy lives on. Parisians, rich and poor, still gather at these magical fountains. The water, once a lifesaving elixir, now serves as a reminder of Wallace’s quirky philanthropy. Eau de Paris, the city’s water guardian, ensures the fountains stay true to their purpose, even experimenting with a touch of modernity – a stainless-steel push button dispensing water on demand.

And so, the story of Sir Richard Wallace, the whimsical water wizard, ends with a splash – his legacy, an enduring symbol of beauty, practicality, and the eternal quest for free, clean hydration in the heart of Paris. Cheers to you, Sir Wallace, for quenching the city’s thirst with a touch of magic! 🌊🏰✨

Cover of the Wallace Fountain Guide book

Can the famous Wallace drinking fountains of Paris serve as a model for finding solutions to human needs stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic? – Read the article

Enjoy all of the Wallace Fountain History, plus more details about the fountains in this excellent guidebook or from the Wallace Fountain Foundation website

a 19th century of an etching of a woman and her child drinking at a wallace fountain

How to Get Free Drinking Water in Bars and Restaurants?

Navigating the waters of dining in France need not sink your budget, especially when it comes to quenching your thirst. You will notice that no Parisian orders spring water at the table, instead they will ask for a jug of tap water. This is something that is always free here in Paris thanks to the history of having access to free water.

Here’s a nifty trick – forget the fancy terms like de l’eau plate or gazeuse. Instead, channel your inner French flair and confidently request, “une carafe d’eau, s’il vous plaît.” Translation? It’s your golden ticket to a free pitcher of the good stuff – straight from the tap, no less! Sip smart, savvy traveler, and let the carafe flow! 🚰🇫🇷

Some Bars and Cafe’s take it even further to help you stay hydrated. Look for one of the 800 eco-friendly businesses in the ‘Ici, je choisis l’eau de Paris’ network. Spot them by the cool blue sticker at their entrance. They happily fill up your water bottle for free – just ask!

Which Water Should you not Drink in Paris?

To much of the dismay of my more eco-minded friends, here in Paris we use drinking water in our toilets and in our showers. Now, I clearly don’t recommend drinking the water from the toilet but you could if you were stuck.

The water that you should not drink here in Paris is always clearly Labeled with a sign saying “Eau Non Potable” this means that this is not water you can drink. You will find it on most of the ornemental Fountains, ponds, canals around Paris. Please don’t drink this water!

A Fun Water Themed Scavenger Game to Play in Paris

Now you know everything you need to know about the drinking water in Paris. Here is a fun water themed scavenger hunt if you are visiting Paris with kids, or just a big kid at heart. Printable version coming soon!

  • Order free water at Bar or Restaurant in Paris.
  • Spot an Eau de Paris Sign in a Cafe or Bar.
  • Find a “Eau Non Potable” Sign.
  • Fill up your water bottle from;
    • A Fountain Painted Green
    • An Original Wallace Fountain
    • A sparkling water fountain
    • A fountain with an excellent view
    • A fountain that could be considered Art
  • Find a misting fountain (best on a hot day)
  • Find an Aqueduct
  • Find the oldest water fountain in Paris
  • Spot the street cleaning trucks that use Paris water to clean the streets
  • Spot water being used to clean the gutters

Don’t say Cheers with just Water in your glass!

Yet, of course I will say cheers to you if you made it this far. I would love to hear how you got on with the scavanger hunt and look forward to hearing how you go on drinking one of Paris’s unsung gastronomic treats. Leave a comment or sharing this with someone helps us grow and provide more free food tour guide’s for you!

Chef Tris Portrait Eat Like The French! February 27, 2024
Food Tour Guide
From the bustling streets of Paris to the quiet moments at home, my journey is one of passion, resilience, and a deep love for French cuisine. As Chef Tris, my transformation from a culinary expert and tech recruiter to a local food tour guide in Paris has been a delicious turn of events, blending my professional skills with my personal story of renewal.

Drinking Water in Paris FAQ

Is tap water safe to drink in Paris?

Absolutely! The tap water in Paris is meticulously tested and monitored by Eau de Paris, ensuring it meets all health and safety standards. There’s no need to buy bottled water—just fill up your reusable bottle from any of the city’s numerous drinking fountains.

Where can I find drinking water fountains in Paris?

Paris boasts over 1,200 drinking water fountains scattered throughout the city. You can locate them using Google Maps or the interactive map provided by Eau de Paris here.

Are there any free sparkling water fountains in Paris?

Yes, some of Paris’s drinking water fountains also dispense sparkling water for free. These fountains are part of the city’s effort to promote sustainable and eco-friendly hydration options.

Can I ask for free tap water in Parisian restaurants and cafes?

Indeed, you can. Simply ask for “une carafe d’eau” (a jug of tap water) in any restaurant or café, and they will provide it free of charge.

What type of water should I avoid drinking in Paris?

Avoid drinking from water sources labeled “Eau Non Potable,” which means the water is not safe for consumption. This label is typically found on ornamental fountains, ponds, and canals.

Can I fill my bottle from any public restroom tap?

While the water is generally safe, it’s best to use designated drinking fountains or taps to ensure the highest quality.

Is bottled water better than tap water in Paris?

Not necessarily. Parisian tap water is of excellent quality and more environmentally friendly than bottled water. However, if you prefer bottled water, it’s widely available.

How does the quality of Paris tap water compare to bottled water?

Paris tap water undergoes rigorous testing and often surpasses bottled water in quality standards. It contains essential minerals and is regularly monitored for safety.

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