Paris Tap Water is Safe to Drink
Can you drink tap water in Paris? Is Paris tap water safe to drink? YES, the water quality in Paris is good, plus it tastes good (compared to other cities). The tap water in Paris is good for everybody: adults, kids, seniors, and pregnant women.
Drinking water in Paris from your apartment in Paris, hotel room, or from the fountains in Paris is good, and if you explore the city with a refillable water bottle in your day bag it also helps to reduce the use of plastic and your Paris daily budget (forget the 1€ water bottles).
It is Safe to Drink Tap Water in Paris (and Encouraged by the City of Paris)
Actually, drinking water in Paris – tap water or from the fountains in Paris – is encouraged by the City of Paris. As soon as you arrive at one of the Paris airports, you will notice that the water fountains have the following quote:
ENJOY A DRINK – À Paris, on vit d’amour et d’eau fraîche
This quote, which could be translated ‘to live on love and cool water’, is a French expression used for somebody who is truly, madly, deeply in love and describes how he feels as if he didn’t need food, friends, family, or anything else but his love and maybe a bit of water to survive.
Here, this French expression is used as jeux de mots, meaning that in Paris, the City of Love, it is totally safe to drink tap water in Paris.
You can Drink Paris Tap Water in the Restaurants and Bistros of Paris
We are not kidding! In Paris, tap water is also free in the restaurants and Parisian bistros. Of course, you can order a bottle of your favorite brand of water, but ordering a bottle of tap water in restaurants is common and will also help to reduce your bill.
In addition to your glass of French wine, you can order a bottle of tap water (une carafe d’eau, s’il vous plaît in French) for free and nobody will strange at you. Actually, in some places, the bottle of tap water usually comes with the menus so you don’t need to ask.
Drinking Water from the Water Fountains in Paris
Drinking water in Paris from the fountains (we mean the water fountains, not the monumental fountains) is totally fine and encouraged. Actually, the first public fountains in Paris appeared in the 13th century!
Since then, the City has developed a huge network of water fountains in Paris and today Paris counts 1,200 drinking water points. All these fountains of Paris are supplied by the same network that serves all the Parisian buildings and therefore you are drinking the same water as in your apartment or hotel room.
Depending on the neighborhoods in which they are located, the water fountains are supplied with groundwater or river water. Whatever its origin, the Paris water quality is good.
Where to Find Drinking Water in Paris
Eau de Paris, the organization that manages the network of drinking water in Paris, has a map with all the drinking water points on its website. The water points are classed by types of fountain and if you click on a specific water point you will get its exact location, the quality of its water, and its status (e.g. available, under maintenance).
The water points not available for any reason are marked in red.
There are also Sparkling Water Fountains in Paris (Paris’ Grand Cru)
Fancy some bubbles? Some fountains in Paris serve sparkling water and you can find these sparkling water fountains in Paris also on the map of water points. Here’s the list of sparkling water fountains in Paris proposing Paris’ grand cru all year round:
- Jardin de Reuilly in Paris 12
- Parc André Citroën in Paris 15
- The Eau de Paris head office at 19 rue Neuve Tolbiac in Paris 13
- Gardens of Éole in Paris 18
- Martin Luther King Park in Paris 1
- ZAC Batignolles in Paris 17
- Séverine Square in Paris 20
- Quai Anatole France in Paris 7
- The banks of the Seine in Paris 4
The Wallace Fountains in Paris
Amongst all the Paris water fountains, the Wallace Fountains are the most iconic. The most popular type of Wallace fountain appears in the form of cast-iron sculptures, and most of which are painted a dark green to blend in with the Parisian streetscape. This model consists of a base and a dome hold by 4 caryatids representing four virtues – kindness, simplicity, charity, and sobriety, with a small steady stream of water flowing continuously from the top of the dome. There is also a wall fountain that is rarer to see (there’s one at rue Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, in Paris 5).
Behind these iconic fountains, there’s Sir Richard Wallace (1818-1890), a rich Englishman who lived most of the time in Paris. Moved by the suffering endured by Parisians during the Franco-Prussian War, which deprived the capital of running water, this wealthy Englishman donated funds to bring free, clean drinking water to Parisians.
You can read more about the Wallace Fountains in a dedicated site by the Society of Wallace Fountains, with the full history and 21 walking tours that cover some of these fountains in Paris.
You Can also Get Prehistoric Drinking Water in Paris
In Ile de France, there’s fossil groundwater covering the entire region. This aquifer over 25,000 years old, is located between 550 and 750 meters deep, and therefore preserved from bacterial or chemical pollution.
To provide its residents with tap water safe to drink in Paris, the City of Paris drilled in 1832 5 artesian wells. Today, only 3 artesian wells remain in Paris 13, Paris 18, and Paris 16. These wells provide spring water of rare purity: slightly ferruginous and naturally rich in fluorine, it remains little mineralized: it is like if we were drinking water from Prehistory!
Where to Learn More about Water in Paris
The Paris Sewer Museum is a fascinating place to explore. There’s an interesting permanent exhibition about the history of water in Paris, from Roman times to our days.
Some sites in our Paris Underground Guide are also related to water in Paris, from Roman times to Renaissance. Explore the Roman sewer system in Paris or some of the medieval regards (inspection sites) of the aqueducts of Paris.