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The Fountains of Versailles

Home > France > Day Trips | Escape the City | Gardens | Historic Houses | Outdoor
Published January 16th 2014
A royal residence of stunning beauty
Le Château de Versailles dates to the era of the divine right of kings when royalty attempted to outdo each other with lavish and awe-inspiring palaces regardless of the cost to their nations. In fact, the bankrupting cost of expanding Versailles during the reign of Louis XIV (the Sun King) served as one of the catalysts for the very bloody and paradigm-shifting French Revolution. Despite being cognisant of its somewhat cruel origins, it is difficult not to be overwhelmed by the magnificence of the estate and to fall completely in love with it.

Photo by Erin Connelly.

Many visitors come to tour the inside of the palace, which is widely renowned for such grandiose displays of wealth and power as the Hall of Mirrors. However, the real jewels in the crown of Versailles are the gardens and their 55 unique fountains.

Neptune. Photo by Erin Connelly.

The following are just a few specific fountains that you can expect to visit on your trip to the gardens.

The Latona Fountain

Tributes to mythology are a major theme in the gardens. The Latona Fountain shows Jupiter turning the peasants of Lycia into frogs and lizards for insulting Apollo's mother.

Photo by Erin Connelly.

The Rocaille Grove

Dances and concerts for the aristocracy used to take place in this circular enclosure earning it the nickname Salle de Bal (Ballroom). The waterfalls are constructed of seashells that were brought back from Africa by French explorers.

Photo by Erin Connelly.

The Mirror Fountain

The Mirror Fountain is composed of a reflecting pool and several jets of water that dance in time to classical music.

Photo by Erin Connelly

Ceres Fountain

The Ceres Fountain symbolises summer and is part of a series of fountains that represent the four seasons. The others include Bacchus, Flora, and Saturn.

Photo by Erin Connelly

The Apollo Fountain

The sun god Apollo leaps out of the water with his chariots and horses.

Photo by Erin Connelly

The Grand Canal

One of many large artificial lakes created by Louis XIV to reflect the sun in his honour.

Photo by Erin Connelly.

A place of exquisite beauty and overwhelming opulence, a tour of the Versailles gardens is sure to be a highlight of any trip to Paris. As stated by Victor Hugo in his series of essays, Choses Vues: 'Versailles is the magnificent binding of the magnificent book of French history'.

Note that the gardens are open all year round, but the fountains only operate during specific days and times from the beginning of April to the end of October. Be sure to check operating times on the website to get the most out of your visit. Versailles is located about twenty kilometres southwest of Paris and is easily accessible via the Paris metro system.
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Why? Visit the world famous gardens of a beautiful royal residence
When: All year round (see website)
Phone: 33 1 30 84 74 00
Where: Chateau de Versailles Place d'armes 78000 Versailles
Cost: Variable (see website)
Your Comment
I love Greek/Roman mythology, so these fountains are great. I particularly like the detail that went into Neptune.
by Bastion Harrison (score: 4|12640) 3362 days ago
Fascinating. My son is there today so I hope he saw something of what you have expressed here.
by Nadine Cresswell-Myatt (score: 3|6113) 3360 days ago
Excellent photos and article Erin - I would love to visit Versailles sometime.
by Lucy (score: 3|1157) 3360 days ago
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