Eber’s water towers – France

The leading trade journal in Sweden, VA-tidskriften Cirkulation has since 1998 an article series under the heading Ebers vattentorn (Eber’s water towers), where Eber Ohlsson with text and photo presents interesting water towers in the world (except Scania and Sweden). Below is a free translation to English of these texts.

Eber’s water towers in Cirkulation 1/2022

A free translation to English:

In the military-politically important city of Metz in Lorraine, Germany, at the beginning of the last century, the Germans built a magnificent railway station with an associated water tower on the old Vauban fortifications. As Metz was only 17 km from the French border, the city was marked by the military, where the water tower would solve the water supply to both steam locomotives and the military’s horses during the troop movements.

The 38-meter-high water tower, designed in neo-Romanesque style by Kröger in Berlin and built in 1907-08, had a reservoir of 300 m3. In 1919, the city became French and the capital of the Lorraine region.

Published 2023-04-19

Eber’s water towers in Cirkulation 1/2022

A free translation to English:

For the miners’ families to be able to wash their work clothes, a laundry room was built next to the new water tower in the small town of Potigny in French Normandy. The miners worked in the adjacent 1907 opened iron ore mine of Soumont-Saint-Quentin.

It was a 20 meter deep well that delivered the water to the community and the water tower. At the top of the tower, built in 1912, a windmill was installed for the water pumping. In 2004, after the mine was shut down in 1989, the municipality decided to restore towers and laundry facilities. These buildings are now beautifully illuminated in the evening.

Published 2022-02-09

Eber’s water towers in Cirkulation 1/2020

A free translation to English:

In marketing a product or service, it is important to create positive values and good recognition. In that respect, the brand “The laughing cow” has succeeded. It was the founder Leon Bel, who himself designed the first version in the early 1900s.

The version that is best known today, however, is the illustrator Benjamin Rabier’s version from 1924 with the red cow and the round cheeses as earrings. When you pass the relatively anonymous factory in Lons-le-Saunier in the French Jura mountains near Switzerland and see the brand on the factory’s standard water tower, then you understand what is manufactured here.

Published 2020-03-24

Eber’s water towers in Cirkulation 1/2020

A free translation to English:

Charles-Édouard Jeanneret was born in 1887 in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. He became a self-taught architect, who in 1916 moved to Paris. The following year he was commissioned by a friend who owned the castle Château Chavat on the river Garonne to draw a water tower for the castle’s water supply in the town of Podensac, 3 km south of Bordeaux.

It became a 25 m high tower, which under the 80 m³ reservoir was given a room with high French windows. The water tower was taken out of operation in 1940, but still stands today, now adjacent to a larger and higher municipal water tower. Charles-Edouard is more known by the artist name Le Corbusier.

Published 2020-02-05

Eber’s water towers in Cirkulation 1/2019

A free translation to English:

When you open your water tap, you want that the water shall have a good pressure, not too high and not too low. This may require a more complex water pipeline network, if it is in topography with high altitude variation. One common way to solve this is to create several pressure zones, and if there is a need for water towers, build several towers.

It does not prevent these water towers from being found in the same place, even if, like the suburb of the French city of Arras, Saint-Laurent-Blangy, they build the water tower on top of each other. More normal is to create reservoirs at different heights in the same water tower.

Published 2019-02-05

Eber’s water towers in Cirkulation 4/2018

A free translation to English:

Champagne is a province in the north of France, but also a drink that is produced there. The drink consists mainly of carbonated water and alcohol, a little sugar, and many flavors. But much more expensive than water.

In the town of Epernay there is champagne firm Castellane, that 1906 at its facility built a 66 m high richly decorated tower of reinforced concrete. A water tower, which also was an advertising space for the company, not least towards the nearby railway line Paris-Strasbourg. Tower architect considered to be Toudoire Marius, who also designed the Gare de Lyon in Paris and the similar clock tower there.

Published 2018-06-07

Eber’s water towers in Cirkulation 1/2018

A free translation to English:

Horses need to drink plenty of water. It is debatable whether it was that or to satisfy the public demand for water that made the building of a water tower in the city Luçon, when the French government in 1910 decided to establish a cavalry regiment here. The tower, which was built in 1912-13, was designed by architect J. Bardin.

The Art Nouveau tower in reinforced concrete and with ceramic details held 500 m³ of water. Inadequate maintenance and after it was shut down in 1961 did the tower to finally was threatened with demolition. 1992 was it rescued, however, and a study in 1996 showed how the tower could be reused.

Published 2018-02-07

Eber’s water towers in Cirkulation 4/2016

A free translation to English:

In the northern French city of Yvetot standing in a light color painted water tower in reinforced concrete, not unlike many other French water towers. This tower also has a grassy roof, and there is no lack of the now almost obligatory antenna mast. Otherwise, it is the city’s name that is the most interesting from a Nordic perspective.

Like many place names in Normandy and for the sake of even the British Isles got its name under the Scandinavian conquest in 800s and 900s, what today is known as the Viking Age. The name Yvetot corresponds on pure Scanian with Ivetofta, a village at Ivö lake in the northeastern Scania.

Published 2016-06-08

Eber’s water towers in Cirkulation 5/2015

A free translation to English:

The particle accelerators at CERN, the world’s largest particle physics laboratory, is situated in transboundary circular tunnels in both France and Switzerland. Here in neighbourhood of Geneva is there researched on the smallest constituents of matter, discoveries that have given scientists the Nobel Prize. It was also here that the World Wide Web was developed.

Something that also has spreading throughout the world is the molecule H2O. Next straight over the two tunnels is there a water tower in French CERN area, not many meters from the border with Switzerland and the vineyards there. Even tower photos can become transnational.

Published 2015-08-26

Eber’s water towers in Cirkulation 2/2014

A free translation to English:

The village of Poziéres in Northern France was in the middle of one of the great battles in World War I, the Battle of the Somme 1916th. Here fought Entente which consisted of France, Britain and its Commonwealth. The Australian troops, who were part of the Entente, suffered heavy losses here in the village.

Today stands north of the village a water tower with a facade dedicated to the Australians. The tower is painted with a Victory Cross, Britain’s highest military award, and a poppy flower, which is the symbol of the World War I on the western front. There are also names of decorated soldiers. In addition, there is a road sign warning of koalas.

Published 2014-03-19

Eber’s water towers in Cirkulation 4/2012

The Swedish word ”lik” can mean both ”like” and ”corpse”.

A free translation to English:

Water is considered a precondition to the origin of the life. The form of the water tower in the French village of Croix, just west of the Swiss city Basel, suggests, however the end of the life. The explanation of the form is likely that the architect wanted to allude to the village’s name, which translated means Cross.

There will be no less remarkable in that the tower stands next to the village’s cementary. Like a water tower or not, the tower’s form is fascinating even if you do not have a morbid disposition. Water towers that illustrates name of a village must be very rare, if ever there are any other such towers.

Published 2012-06-07

Eber’s water towers in Cirkulation 5/2009

A free translation to English:

A grey water tower of concrete without windows was some years ago rebuilt to a luxurious conference centre with a tourist office, belvedere and at the top a revolving panorama restaurant with space for 200 guests. Could the change be so must greater?

The Mediterranean Lighthouse, as the tower now is named, is standing in the seaside resort Palavas-les-Flots on the French Mediterranean coast, a few kilometres south of the city Montpellier. When it gets dark the lighting of the tower shifts in all spectral colours, and at that time the restaurant probably serve colourful drinks, that not only contents water.

Published 2009-09-02

Eber’s water towers in Cirkulation 1/2008

A free translation to English:

Charles Laganne in the south French city Toulouse left 1822 a large sum of money with the intention to make distribution of pure, clean and pleasant water possible; there the source was the river Garonne. 60 000 persons got 1828 benefit of a construction with both filter and water tower.

In the water tower of bricks there were in the lower part paddle wheels and in the upper part reservoirs. When the demand of capacity was increasing, the tower, lost its original function, but was 1943 a historic building. Today is the water tower an Art Gallery and Photo Museum; there the old pumps enhance the value of attraction.

Published 2009-02-13

Eber’s water towers in Cirkulation 1/2007

A free translation to English:

Must a water tower be beautiful? Not always, which the water tower in Carnon-Plage in the south France is obvious to everyone. It doesn’t need to be beautiful, only it serves its purpose – to be an anchorage point for the mobile phone installations. The tower has even get the task to give the name to the bus stop at the tower – Carnon, Chateau d’eau.

Moreover has the water tower, hopefully, even the function to supply good drinking water to the consumer on the of salt-filled winds exposed sand bank outside the coast of Montpellier, half-way towards the large holiday resort la Grande-Motte.

Published 2007-02-14

Eber’s water towers in Cirkulation 1/2006

A free translation to English:

Château d’eau, the French word for water tower is the famous construction called that stands in Montpellier, a city in the south France. In our nomenclature should the tower instead be called ground reservoir. The water reservoir, located on the city’s highest point, is underneath the magnificent hexagonal temple superstructure with it’s Corinthian capital from 1768, drawn by architect Jean Antoine Giral.

From the river Lez was the water let to the reservoir on an aqueduct that is 880 m long and 22 m high, and inspired by the little more north located famous Roman aqueduct Pont du Gard.

Published 2006-02-08

Eber’s water towers in Cirkulation 6/2005

The English expression ”it’s up the creek” correspond to the Swedish double-edged expression ”uppåt väggarna”=”up to the walls”.

A free translation to English:

Was the Tower of Babel a water tower? The opposite condition was in any case the idea of the architect Christian de Portzamparcs, when he draws his first order, a water tower in the new region Marne-le-Vallèe, east of Paris.

The tower should be located in a roundabout in Noisiel, and the solution by the architect was not only a water tower in concrete but even a surrounded lattice work that alluded to the known Bible illustration of Gustave Doré. The lattice work should be covered by winding plants and produce the illusion of hanging gardens. A water tower built 1971 there the green is up the creek.

Published 2005-09-28

Eber’s water towers in Cirkulation 6/2004

A free translation to English:

Mice are often nearby the humans, with no exception of the water cultures. Thirty kilometres east of Paris are there since circa 10 years a little America – Euro Disneyland, with a water tower inspired by the Mickey Mouse. A tower that is possible to take photos from outside, in contrary to its colleague by Los Angeles.

The architect of the tower is in a more wide sense Walt Disney. The central meaning of the water tower is proved by that that in the emblem of the amusement park there are two equalling symbols – The Castle of The Sleeping Beauty and The Water Tower. One variant of the Mickey Mouse – the water tower variant is doubtless that, that not get water in the ears.

Published 2004-09-29

Eber’s water towers in Cirkulation 7/2003

The Swedish word ”press” has various meaning, both ”printing-press and ”pressure”.

A free translation to English:

A water tower building situated in Bobigny in the north district of Paris, was there in times past a good printing-press. Here in Bobigny built the old newspaper L’Illustration in 1930s a low building to the printing works and a high building to the editorial office. The high house got on the top a large water reservoir and tower clocks. Architect was unusually oddly the newspaper’s own secretary-general Louis Braschet.

When the newspaper was accused to collaboration with the Germans under the war, was the newspaper closed 1945, after which a transport company take over the building. The timeless building has stand empty in same years with lack of maintenance, but is now been renovating to be one of the universities in Paris.

Published 2003-11-12

Eber’s water towers in Cirkulation 3/2002

A free translation to English:

One of the pioneers of the reinforced concrete, François Hennebique built the year 1904 a house to himself in Bourg-la-Reine, a fashionable suburb south Paris. This exciting house is a good example how the concrete is using in a monolithic construction, a field there Hennebique was a trail-blazer.

In the house has he used many of the concrete’s advanced means of expression, which together with the solid works done that the house is still feeling as up to date.

One of the building elements, the finishing touch, is the minaret-similar 40 meter high tower, that halfway up has a water reservoir that is holding 25 m³. With this water tower has Hennebique built an exclamation mark of the reinforced concrete.

Published 2002-04-24

Eber’s water towers in Cirkulation 5/1999

A free translation to English:

1 500 m³ water, divided on three equal large reservoirs, contain the water tower in Hérouville-Saint-Clair, a large and modern suburb to Caen in the French Normandy. The steel water tower from 1963 have forms that gives reminiscence to the writer’s ice lollies in 1950s, or perhaps the modern standard lamp from the same period, but the tower sets undeniable both mark on and illuminate the suburb.

The firm SIDL has constructed the 52 metres high tower with a reservoirs at a height on 21 metres and a diameter on 6.5 metres. The manufacturing has been done in Delattre-Leviviers workshops in Valenciennes in the north France.

Considering of the water technical basics in the growing suburb in Normandy, should the constructor in the light of the post-war period of constructions have done the reservoir volume larger and got the memorable cubic metres 1944.

Published 1999-08-25

Eber’s water towers in Cirkulation 4/1999

The struggle concern the vane on the top of the water tower.

A free translation to English:

Can water tower cause patriotic feelings? Yes, in Schlettstadt in Elsaß. The 50 metres high water tower in this town was built 1905 and had as model the water tower in the town Deventer in the Netherlands. On the top, above the water reservoir on 500 m³, was the German Eagle sitting and brood. The German loss in the First World War lead to that Elsaß pass to French tenancy and the name of the town was changed to Sélestat and Elsaß become Alsace.

Even the water tower become participates in this change. The German Eagle was replaced by the Gallic Cock. But only until 1940 however, when the cock must step down from the highest perch. When the war was ended the citizens thought that it must be enough, now should only the free birds occur on the roof.

The interesting is that these patriot quarrels only was exercised in the highest heights of the water spheres. As usual was the man hole covers forgotten. Therefore could you at least for some years ago [1994] outdoor the water tower find a man hole cover with the inscription ”Hydrant – Wasserwerk Schlettstadt”. It would not do any harm if the nationalists sometimes look down.

Published 1999-06-09

Eber’s water towers in Cirkulation 4/1998

A free translation to English:

A postmodern water tower. The French standard tower in the little village of Belleville 10 km north of Nancy in the eastern France is filled up with postal marks. There is no lack of addressee, sender or stamps. As it is stamped with 9 francs and 20 centimes, it will probably be counted as a parcel. We must still hope for the best of citizen of Belleville that the water tower not has insufficient postage.

Published 1998-06-10