The Gallery of the Water Tower, Toulouse!

So in my continuing walks of this pink city of Toulouse I take you to another off the beaten path site. Well passed by it many times on my way over the Pont Neuf (see post), but this time have it in image to tell you all. Let me tell you a bit about the Galerie du Château d’Eau or Gallery of the Water Tower of Toulouse .

This is a wonderful area to walk, plenty to see around here as you can see by my other posts on our visit to Toulouse. You will have your hands full, or we come back for more.

The Château d’Eau or water tower, or Galerie du Château d’Eau, or Gallery of the Water Tower is a brick tower located at the junction of Cours Dillon and the Pont-Neuf. As its name suggests, the building was originally used for water distribution in the center of the city but was not strictly speaking a water tower since it did not include a storage tank. It was reconverted in 1974 into an exhibition space dedicated to photography and is now a very popular place for locals and visitors alike, at the same time as a high place of culture.


A bit of history I like

The primary function of this water tower was to distribute the water from the Garonne river, collected and filtered a few meters away, on the meadow of filters. When he died in 1789, the capitoul Charles Laganne bequeathed to the city with the aim of “distributing the waters of the Garonne, pure, clear and pleasant to drink”. Charles Laganne specifies in his will that his money must be used no later than ten years after the death of his widow. Political vagaries will delay the use of this providential envelope, but the death of Mrs. Laganne in 1817 encourage the city to find a solution, a task to which Jean-François d’Aubuisson de Voisins mining engineer stationed in Toulouse and city councilor took the idea the same year and on which he will work for almost ten years, studying and defining the principles and systems of water circulation necessary filtering, channels and pipes. The works were launched in 1821 to be completed in 1825 and supplied a vast network of fountains operational from 1829 and then developed even more.

A bit on the construction of this Water Tower or Château d’Eau.

The building of the Water Tower rises to 30 meters and has 7 floors distributed in a vast basement comprising two levels and a ground floor forming the circular base of the tower, surmounted by the tower itself comprising four floors, the last of which is a skylight giving access to a circular terrace. The basement is occupied by two 8-meter-diameter paddle wheels that drive two groups of four suction-treading pumps coupled in pairs. This duplication of pumping units was intended to prevent a breakdown of one of the two systems from interrupting the continuous water supply.

And the new birth thank you Toulouse!

Saved from demolition in the early 1970s, the building has been converted since April 1974 into a gallery devoted to photography. As such it was historically the first public gallery exclusively intended for the exhibition of photographs. In 1984, the basement was converted into an additional exhibition space. In 1990 a documentation center and a second gallery were respectively built under the arches of Pont-Neuf and one of the old ramps to the bridge.

From January 2020 the Galerie du Château d´Eau is taken over directly by the Toulouse city/town hall for the conservation and enhancement of the funds acquired after long negotiations by the town for the creation of a dedicated place, the city/town hall finally instructed the Toulouse Municipal Archives and the Gallery of the Water Tower to respectively conserve, enhance and bring this fund to life.


Some webpages to help you enjoy this site worth the detour are

Official Galerie du Château d’Eau

Tourist office of Toulouse on the Chateau d’eau

This is  a nice place for the arts, photos, and for the architecture and history link to Toulouse, worth saving and glad they did. Enjoy the Gallery of the Water Tower of Toulouse!

One neat sight next to it is one of the Wallace fountain ,one of several in Toulouse, the city has 8!  This one is at Place Laganne just behind the last picture above. Enjoy it!


And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!



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