Crocodile Fountain

Location: Concarneau, Brittany, France

The historical town of Concarneau was once a centre for shipbuilding and today is a large fishing port. Part of the town is behind a walled fortification which has been in existence since the 17th century. Known as the Ville Close it sits on an island in the harbour which is reached via a drawbridge.

Within the Ville Close at the  is a drinking fountain which was erected in 1856 to provide drinking water to the inhabitants. It was originally erected on the mainland at Pénéroff Place Saint-Guénoléquay where fishermen utilized it before heading out to sea. The fountain was relocated behind the walled town sometime between the post-war period and the1960s.

The fountain approximately 8 feet high is seated on an octagonal granite basin base designed by the famous architect Joseph Bigot. The drinking fountain is cast iron and is the work of the sculptor Jean-Baptiste Claude Eugène Guillaume.

The rectangular column with attic base has a square foundation with chamfered corners and is surmounted by a lamp. On two sides a shield contains sculptured water lilies and bulrushes. The alternate sides containing the drinking fountains are more elaborate.

Floral relief is visible at the base of the shield which contains a human mask. A brass tap emerges from the mouth of the mask to release drinking water which then flows into a drain in the granite base. Two winged cherubs holding ribbons of flowers are seated above the panel. An acroter with chamfered corners supports statuary of a turtle and an otter in the company of a crocodile with head raised and mouth open. A fish is held between its teeth. The lamp terminal is surmounted on the fish.

The square and drinking fountain were restored in 2011.


  • Acroter, flat base
  • Attic base, A column base with two rings
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

Image Sources



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