I’ve visited Versailles Palace, located in the western suburbs of Paris, a couple of times and it was on the second visit that I finally got to see the famous fountains.
Versailles is one of the biggest tourist attractions in France and the crowds shuffling through the opulent palace towards the famous Hall of Mirrors. Yes the queues outside and the crowds inside are overwhelming but it is still exciting to imagine the decadent lifestyle of the French court and the setting for so many historic events.
The best part of a visit to Versailles, however, is wandering through the magnificent gardens created by Louis XIV in the 17th Century. I fell in love with the gardens of Versailles on my first visit (back in 2000) and was annoyed with myself for not leaving enough time to properly explore the gardens. And the fountains weren’t playing, which was disappointing.
On my second visit to Versailles I headed straight for the gardens but still no waterworks. Nevertheless, I took my time following the multitude of pathways and enjoyed all the clever perspectives of what was the apogee of French Garden style. Landscape architect Andre Le Notre designed the gardens at Versailles based on the principle of imposing order over nature and his work here was to be influential throughout Europe.
I was just wandering through the last parterre towards the exit when suddenly the sound of a rush of water filled my ears. The fountains had started! So I went back and went everywhere again, taking photos of the same fountains again, enjoying the magic of the fountains at Versailles with water!
The water glistening on the bronze bottoms of mythical creatures and the glories of the Fountain de Latone – simply stunning. With the sun slanting through under a brooding sky it was clear beyond doubt that these fountains are meant to be seen with water!
Did you mange to time your visit to Versailles with a fountain show?
The fountains of Versailles are activated at weekends from 30 March to 27 October 2013, Tuesdays from 21 May to 25 June 2013 as well as on some additional public holiday dates (Friday 29 March, Wednesday 8 May, Thursdays 9 May and 15 August 2013). The fountains run from 11:00 am to 12:00 pm and from 3:30 to 5:00 pm (Neptune Fountain from 5:20 to 5:30 pm). On Tuesdays and on 29 March the afternoon show is from 2:30 to 4:00 pm.