September 23rd, 2010

Paris Sparkles

The New York Times reported this week that the city of Paris is now offering residents free sparkling water. While the program is ostensibly designed to wean Parisiennes off a popular guilty pleasure (red wine) we’re charmed that they’ve chosen the humble water fountain as the delivery method of choice for their efforts.

Let them drink water! (Wait, it’s SPARKLING water !) Eau de Paris, the local water utility, offers free sparkling water at a public fountain in Reuilly Gardens. The fountain is a way to encourage Parisiennes to kick the bottled water habit.

It’s no secret that the French have elevated the simple act of living to a high art, and this project is no exception. In contrast to pricey food and fashion, there is something decidedly égalitaire about this program which will save 2,300 plastic bottles of 1.5 liters each day while delivering free, environmentally-friendly bubbly water to thirsty Parisiennes.

We also can’t help but note that this service is being offered by Paris’s new public water agency, which recently replaced the troubled, privately owned Veolia as the city’s water provider. Hopefully these fountains are the first of many reforms for Paris’s water system.

Finally, we’d like to tip our berets to the Parisiennes for celebrating affordable, safe, tap water with such aplomb. We hope to some day to see water fountains used and appreciated in such a manner here in the U.S.

-Kate Fried

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