Paris Says Oui to Sparkling-Water Fountains...Should We?

As if any of us needed another reason to visit the City of Light.


Photo by: Ihor_Tailwind


As if any of us needed another reason to visit Paris, the City of Light has just given us one: water fountains that dispense not regular blah old H2O but – ooh la la – sparkling water. For free? Mais oui!

The seltzer fountains – les fontaines pétillantes, in the local parlance – were inspired by a similar effort in Italy and were first introduced in 2010, part of a city initiative to get Parisians to drink more water and reduce plastic waste from bottled water consumption (so they’re noble, in addition to being cool). And the Paris government just announced its intention to ramp up the public-bubbly-water program from the existing eight fountains and offer at least one sparkling-water fountain in each of the city’s 20 arrondissements (districts) by the end of 2018.

“People often told me that they were ready to drink tap water if it was carbonated,” Anne le Strat, then Paris’s deputy mayor and head of the city’s efforts to promote its tap water, told 20 Minutes magazine back in 2010, CityLab reports. “Now they they’ve got no excuse not to.”

Although some of the fountains – which reportedly add CO2 somewhere between the main water line and the fountain itself and serve the water up at a consistent 44 degrees Fahrenheit – may look, at first glance, as unappealing as any other well-used urban water fountain (covered with graffiti and goop and a little hinky), one reporter who tried the sparkling water they dispensed found it to be “a magical surprise. Cool but not icy… extremely fizzy ....”

It’s a genius idea – and one other cities around the world, such as Brussels, Belgium, and Perth, Australia, are also implementing or experimenting with as well.

Should America be next? Would a world in which cool, refreshing sparkling water flows from our urban water fountains be just the thing to keep us all hydrated and healthy? After all, tap water is considered by many to be more healthful – or at least no less so – than bottled water – and it’s certainly better for our environment, not to mention our wallets.

Your move, mayors of America.

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