Profile – Le Château d’Eau
We owe the Château d’Eau to Capitoul Charles Laganne, who, fearing for the well-being of his fellow citizens, gave 50,000 gold pieces to the city so that “pure, clean, and potable” water would be distributed to the people of Toulouse. It would however be nearly half a century before the responsible municipality granted this promise. The project was presented in 1817, and architect Jean-Antoine Raynaud conceived of the building and the hydraulic machine was revealed by Jean Abadie in 1822. The Château d’Eau in Toulouse, with its “solid appearance that pleases the eye and the spirit” is from now on considered a model of ingenuity and good taste. The accomplishment of French industry during this time period changed the life of the inhabitants. The water of the Garonne, purified by filters installed in a meadow now known as the «filter meadow», is propelled to the top of the tower by 8 pumps. After passing through the flow regulation on the third floor, the water goes back down and fuels 90 fountains (of which 15 are monuments). Four thousand cubic metres of water are thus regularly distributed to the 60,000 people living in Toulouse. At the top of the tower, one can get a beautiful perspective on the courtyard of the Hotel Dieu St Jaques and further, the tile roofs of the city. The tower shelters three floors that one accesses by a wooden spiral staircase that developed around a bent tree trunk. The ornate exterior boasts sandstone gargoyles, wall molding, elegant architecture, and a fully circular arched vault that is an admirable work of art. Around 1870, the Château d’Eau was abandoned due to insufficient capacity.
Gallery of photography
In April 1974, due to Jean Dieuzaide’s initiative and thanks to understanding from Pierre Baudis, mayor at the time, the Municipal Gallery of the Château d’Eau opened its doors to photography with an exhibit of Robert Doisneau’s work.
The Château d’Eau is the oldest public institution devoted to photography in France and has an essentially didactic vocation. It has presented more than 485 monographic or thematic exhibitions.
Its program strives to present photography under all of its facets and thus it comprises the biggest artists names from the history of photography: Henri Cartier-Bresson, Brassaï, Edward Weston, William Klein, Walker Evans, Helmut Newton, and authors of current creation like : Karen Knorr, Gilbert Fastenaekens, Elina Brotherus, Mohammed Bourouissa, Jürgen Nefzger, Elen Kooi…
Another central activity is publishing with the co-publishing of 30 books and with monographs presenting the most striking images from each exhibition. A biography of the author as well as an introduction to his work accompany the photographs. So far more than 335 monographs have been published.
The Château d’Eau is also editing posters and postcards.
It is also a resource centre, open to all, boasting thousands of works and hundreds of artists’ folders.
Conscious of its educational role in guiding culture, it also leads a policy of mediation in direction of the school world.
Le Château d’Eau is not only one of the jewels of the architectural heritage of the city, but also a cultural institution which enjoys an international reputation.
The Galleries are open daily from 1 to 7pm except mondays and some public holidays
The documentation center is open from 1 to 6 pm tuesday to saturday.
Full rate: 4 €
Reduced rate (students, seniors over 65): 2.50 €
Group (10 persons and +): 2.50 €
Under 18 years old: Free
Year pass: Admission to all exhibitions and to the library
Full price: 16 €
Student price: 10 €
Groups :Guided tours are available for groups with reservations only for 25 €
Contact : 05 61 77 09 40