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Aquaduct in Arcueil-Cachan


aquaduct-1.jpgThose who have already got through the emotions from the Eiffel Tower, wide Parisian boulevards and the view from Montmartre, those who come repeteadly to Paris, maybe will be curious to discover the numerous beauties of the Parisian region.

One of the unique sights which are worth spending couple more minutes in the RER B metro line is the 13km long Médicis aquaduct making the natural border between the towns Arcueil and Cachan on the South of Paris. The inhabitants of Cachan proudly say that aquaduct is located in Cachan and the inhabitants of Arcueil say of course the same about their town. The stationaquaduct-2.jpg of the metro line RER B has a diplomatic name „Arcueil-Cachan“.

The aquaduct was built as a result of an initiative of Henry IV in the years 1613-1623 under the regency of Marie de Médicis. Henry IV was obliged to think about the aquaduct construction because of serious problems with water in Paris (called Lutèce in the past), the bad quality water from polluted wells.

The project was stopped because of the murder of Henry IV in 1610. The widow Marie de Médicis took the project to her hands so that she could fill in the fountains of the Luxembourg garden and its palace which was under the construction. Works, employing about 600 workers, because of frequent rains take much longer than planned, 10 years instead of 3.

The aquaduct takes the water from the Rungis platform to the south of Paris to astronomical observatory. And through the valley of the Bièvre river it goes in the form of an impressive aquaduct bridge, 479 metres long, with 9 arcades 7 to 9 metres high, supported by 17 columns. In the 18th century the inhabitants weraquaduct-3.jpge building their houses directly under the arcades. The present aquaduct goes exactly on the same way of the old Gallo-Roman aquaduct bridge, from which you still can see some remnants, two old columns close to the Music School building.

A curious information is that from the year 1904 till present the water from the aquaduct supplies the lake in the Montsours park in the south of Paris.

When I walk down from the metro station and pass by the stone aquaduct, I look at the windows of the small houses and envy those who look at the sky directly through the sublime arcades of the stone aquaduct. I walk by the castle-like building of the Maquaduct-4.jpgusic and Dansing School of Cachan, I cross the street and climb up the hill towards the kids school, with each step gaining the beautiful overview on this architectonic monument.  Walking by the apartments building by the Music school I check the time on my watch, since I am sure that on the first floor in the window there will be a lady who will shout at me: „Excuse me, is it Tuesday today? And what’s the time?“ The times passes even by the unageing aquaduct bridge. 

Maria Dopjerova-Danthine, Paristep