Chateaux d’eau... from simple to castles in the air

It is the name that’s so endearing. Chateau d’eau sounds so much more dignified than the common English term “water tower”. But it’s not just that. It’s the huge variety and versatility of these structures that characterise the French landscape.

There are an estimated 16,000 of them, either still in use or serving purposes other than the storage and supply of water. Some have been converted into homes or holiday accommodation, exhibition spaces and tourist information offices.

Wherever you are, there always seems to be one not far away, on a ridge, mound or hilltop.

They are distinctive landmarks and some have even been adopted as icons of a particular town or city.

They come in a bewildering number of shapes: cylinder, Martini glass, champagne cork, globe on a stalk, parabolic curves, hourglass, chanterelle mushroom and many others.

Most are, by their nature, conspicuous but some are hidden from view on a wooded hillside and are noticed only when you hear the sound of flowing water.

Many of them are starkly, unpretentiously modern but more than a dozen have been classified as ancient monuments. All form part of ...

To read the remaining 85% of this article, you need to either

Subscribe now to The Connexion and benefit from access to our archived articles since 2006

1 Year Subscription (12 editions) (Our best value offer)

1 year of great reading in print and online

Subscription automatically renews so you don't miss an edition (but you can switch this off at any time!).

Freedom Subscription

Pay every three months. Our most flexible subscription

Subscription automatically renews so you don't miss an edition (but you can switch this off at any time!)

More articles from Explore France
More articles from Connexion France
Other articles that may interest you

Loading some business profiles...

Loading some classifieds...