Basins, Fountains and Statues, Versailles
The one big disappointment when visiting Versailles for me was not being able to see the fountains working. Seeing them amidst stagnant water is all right, but it's amazing to see them in all their spouting splendor. Even in the height of the tourist season they are only turned on on the weekends and for limited times- oh well.
There are 10 fountains in all scattered all over the grounds.
Many of the statues, urns, etc have cherubs as adornments or supports. Although I didn't make a scientific analysis, it appears that no two share the same pose or facial expression, which in itself is a remarkable feat for those artists who made the casts.
The statues of the grounds are beautiful and add to the elegance of the gardens. The statues are simple yet beautiful and stand out amidst the green of the trees, the pools of water and colorful flowers in the background.
It was wonderful wandering about and examining the statues.
We had just begun to walk in the garden when music started to play and the fountains began to gush into the air. It was a dramatic beginning to say the least...but I was impressed.
The fountain of Versailles are magnificent and large in size. The fountain figures and stautes are so detailed. It really was a wonderful thing to see....pictures hardly do it justice. The Bassin de Latone was a particular favorite of mine while strolling the gardens.
I can only imagine the cost of building such magnificent fountains and the cost of maintaining them in such perfect condition.
Like I wrote before ... the gardens are now one of the most visited public sites in France, receiving more that six million visitors a year. In addition to the meticulous manicured lawns, parterres of blooming flowers, and sculptural masterwork are the fountains, which are located throughout the garden.
Between 1664 and 1668, a flurry of activity was evidenced in the gardens – especially with regard to fountains and new bosquets. I hiked my way around and could see all fine examples from this timeline. Of course you can't miss the Bassin de Latone which is located on the east-west axis just west and below the Parterre d’Eau. Designed by André Le Nôtre, sculpted by Gaspard and Balthazar Marsy, and constructed between 1668-1670, amazing work. Another one I can't forget is the Bassin d’Apollon, which lies further along the east-west axis and was constructed 1668-1671. And finally have a look at the Grand Canal. With a length of 1,500 meters and a width of 62 meters, the Grand Canal, which was built between 1668-1671, physically and visually prolongs the east-west axis to the walls of the Gardens.
But just stroll around, try to get lost and do have a look at the Parterre d’Eau, Bassin des Sapins and Pièce d’Eau des Suisses as well!
Water fountains in Versailles.
Whenever visiting this marvellous Chateau - respect your personal time schedule and interests because this place is so huge - and time so short whenever visiting it for only one day.
- The flower scéne in the garden is May/June - if nature grills are on time (not in 2006)
- Fountains are jetting water every day - but the time is limited - start around 16hr00 or early morning till midday
The Gardens occupy an 800 square meter (1/2 sq. mile) roughly square grid-plan, bisected by the Grand Axis (withTapis Vert). On each side are 6 roughly equal sqare sub-divisions consisting variously of jardins (gardens), bosquets (groves), fountains, quiconxes (5 spot designs) and other diversions. These ares are separated by Alleses (Avenues). At the center of the 4 intersections of theAvenues (2 in each side) are pool-fountains,each with a reclining Goddess symbolic of a season surrounded by playing children. (Since Hurricane Katrina I could only find Summer (Ceres) after sketches by Lebrun. The color of the sculpture is an attempt to reproduce the polychromy of long ago. We have only shots of two.
The gardens are built with the fountains in mind. To see the gardens and statues and pools without seeing the fountains is really to see only half. I thought it was amazing the difference the fountain display made in the way I perceived the bosquets and statues. Each individual fountain might be nice, but not overpowering. It is in the incremental awareness of each and every one of the 50 fountains as you wander the pathways. One opening up after another, lines of sights sometimes catching three or four at a time. Who noticed the crowds when there was so much else to see and enjoy?
This is the most delightful part of the grounds. It is on a gentle slope that leads downwards from the North Parterre garden area , the Pyramid Fountain and Bathing Nymphs cascade-pool. The Alle contains along each side 7 basin-fountains supported by columns surrounded by cast-bronze children(Marmousets) sporting in the water. At its lower end, the two rows widen and 4x2 more of the fountains embrace a pool containing the Dragon Fountain, while beyond this is the vast reservoir of the Neptune Fountain. The original ideas were creations of a Perrault brother (creator of Mother Goose).
The fountains are turned on only on Sunday afternoons in the warmer months (look at the website to be sure).I cannot remeber if there is an extra charge to enter the gardens on those days. In fact I do not think you have to go on a palace visit. We have visited only the gardens on a weekday (driving our car to a side gate) for a nominal fee which included our parking. At any rate as you can see there is a barrier before the grounds (maybe we presented our tour tickets). There is a sequence as to when the fountains are turned on and off. We had hoped to see them in the Neptune Basin but they were turned on last and the pressure did not come up before we left, but we saw the Water Avenue above it, in full play.
The landscape of the gardens surrounded by statues gives me a very majestic feeling, the vastness of the garden alone makes me feel awestruck. The gardens in the heart of paris or other parts of Europe paled in comparisson to Versailles.
The first picture : the living statue of Versailles, Adinda, a collegue who helped to organize the day trip,made a info brochure and tips visiting Versailles castle, she did a good job because whe had no local guide and so organizing ourselves, and grace to other members of the Honda social fonds, a day to remember.
Next pictures will convince the visitors that there are a lot of statues in Versailles - Adinda told me more than 372 - in total more than 2100 sculptures and 5000 furnitures, most of all
sold during/after the revolution of 1789 - and recuperated afterwards
There are many fountains around the grounds of the palace. Unfortunately, we went too early in the spring to see them with the water flowing, however the statuary was also of a grand scale.
Someday we'll return to see them when they are flowing.
All the fountains, statues, and buildings scattered, or rather, arranged, in the vast grounds are out-of-this-world.
You can quite easily spend your time absorbing all the glory & beauty surrounding you.
In this remarkable fountain we find Latona and her children Apollo and Diana. Latona was exiled from Mount Olympus by Juno, and she was chased by a serpent through a number of countries. Latona finally came to Lycia in Asia Minor, where, being thirsty after her ordeal, she stopped for a drink at a clear pool. She was surrounded and tormented by a bunch of nasty Lycian peasants. When these people started being mean to her, Latona implored Jupiter, her husband, for help. Jupiter, not amused, transformed the peasants into frogs and lizards. In the fountain, you will find several peasants in mid-transformation as well as a number of frogs and lizards.
In this photo you can see the fountain and the rear of the chateau up the steps.
The gardens of Versaille are open to all; there is no charge.