Basins, fountains and statues, Versailles
Are you still thinking what I mentioned earlier? Yes, the Sun King was green with ENVY at one point in his life and it was one of those things that led to the creation of Versailles...
The King had just attended the mother of all house-warming parties thrown by his Finance minister, Nicholas Fouquet and it left him with a rotten mood.
Not only was he was miffed by the gold dust that fell into his wig when the fireworks exploded into the sky, but he was really, really , annoyed that his Minister's house, the "Vaux-le-Vicomte" looked so beautiful!
Not to be outdone, the young King threw his minister in jail, recruited the same design team that did "Vaux-le-Vicomte" ( architect Le Vau, painter Le Brun, and gardener Le Nôtre ) and ordered something a hundred times the size! The result was Versailles...
You're now looking at a picture of the fabulous Chateau Vaux-le-Vicomte that I mentioned. The Trump Tower of the 17th century, the sumptuous castle that turned Louis XIV pea green with envy. Well, having said that, the Versailles does bear a strong resemblance to the Vicomte. Check out the fountain and the statues.. You can decide for yourself by checking out the pictures in the provided link or taking a trip 55km south of Paris...
Read on to see the interior of the Versailles or click here
MUSICAL FOUNTAINS SHOW in 2011
The GRANDES EAUX MUSICALES.
On Saturdays and Sundays from 2/04/2011 till 30/10/2011 ( and 14/07).
Paying entrance from 9 h to 18.30 h.
Water plays from 11 h to 12 h and from 15.30 to 17 h + Bassin de Neptune from 17h20 to 17h30.
The music plays from 10 h to 18.30 h.
Price : 8 €
Reduced price, 6 - 17 years old : 6 €
2 - 5 years old : Free
Group : 6,5 €.
THE FOUNTAINS NIGHT SHOW.
Every Saturday, from 18/06/2011 to 3/09/2011 at 21 h.
Price : 22 €
Reduced price, 6 - 17 years old : 18 €
2 - 5 years old : Free
Group : 18 €
LA SÉRÉNADE ROYALE at 18.45 h and 19.45 h + THE FOUNTAINS NIGHT SHOW
Every Saturday, from 18/06/2011 to 3/09/2011.
Price : 38 €
Reduced price, 6 - 17 years old : 27 €
2 - 5 years old : 6 €
Group : 32 €
For details and reservations look at www.chateauversaillesspectacles.fr
Since the spectacle of Grandes Eaux Musicales takes place only on Saturdays, Sundays from 2/04 till 30/10/2011 and each Tuesday from 24/05 till 28/06/2011 the majority of the visitors of the Palace and Gardens of Versailles do not see this spectacle.
Indeed apart from these ± 70 days of Grandes Eaux, the fountains, the basins of Versailles are completely at rest. Not a drop of water is coming out of the fountains, no murmur of moving water. It is paradoxical, everywhere in France water spouts out of fountains except in Versailles!
The problem of the water provision of the gardens of Versailles existed already under Louis XIV. Expensive work was completed to pump water from ponds or rivers. The famous machine of Marly was even built to pump the water from the Seine.
But the flow was only of 3.000 m ³ per day whereas at the time of the festivals of the King 10.000 m ³ were needed to feed all the fountains with full flow during 3 hours.
Presently water to supply the reservoirs is recirculated starting from the Grand Canal by modern pumps.
It is a pity that the direction of this monument did not develop a technical solution to ensure some flow of water, even reduced, to the fountains of the principal basins during the week.
Today it is all or nothing.
SHOWS in 2011:
The "Grandes Eaux Musicales" show start on 2/04/2011 and will end on 30/10/2011.
Each Saturday, Sunday and 14/07 from 11 to 12 h and 15.30 - 17.30 h.
Each Tuesday from 24/05 till 28/06. From 11 to 12 h and 14.30 till 16 h.
Price: 8 €; 6 - 17 yr: 6 €; free 6 yr.
Etant donné que le spectacle des Grandes Eaux Musicales n'a lieu que les samedis, dimanches et en plus les mardis du 24/05 au 28/06/2011, la majorité des visiteurs du Château de Versailles ne voient rien de ce spectacle.
En effet en dehors de ces jours de Grandes Eaux les fontaines, les bassins de Versailles sont totalement à l'arrêt. Pas le moindre petit jet d'eau, pas le moindre écoulement, pas le moindre murmure d'une eau en mouvement. C'est le calme plat pendant 300 jours/an.
C'est paradoxal, partout en France l'eau jaillit des fontaines sauf à Versailles!
Le problème de l'approvisionnement en eau des jardins de Versailles existait déjà sous Louis XIV. De coûteux travaux furent réalisés pour pomper l'eau dans des étangs ou rivières. La célèbre machine de Marly fut même construite pour pomper l'eau de la Seine.
Mais le débit n'était que de 3.000 m³ par jour alors que lors des fêtes du Roi Soleil il fallait 10.000 m³ pour alimenter toutes les fontaines à plein débit pendant 3 heures.
Actuellement les eaux pour alimenter les réservoirs sont recirculés à partir du grand Canal par des pompes modernes.
Il est dommage que la direction de ce monument n'a pas mis au point une solution technique pour assurer en semaine un débit même réduit aux fontaines des principaux bassins
Aujourd'hui c'est tout ou rien.
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.
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?
On two of our trips to Versailles, we went by car directly after arriving at Orly Airport (from the U.S.), en route to Chartres. We paid a minimal admission fee (we were not going in the chateau) and parked near the Hameau and proceded to the Grand Canal. The grounds were deserted except for gardeners (it was 9:30AM) and the mist was stillrising over the canal. The rental boats and launches were at rest. At the side of the Canal end was a fine restaurant where we made a reservation for lunch. The Apollo Bassin was deserted at first. Around the area is a path lined with stautues (and at this time a few joggers-walkers who probably live nearby). Shortly there were groups of school children on day-trips and eventually the touridt tide began to rise.
The fountain sits in a basin between the Tapis Vert and the Grand Canal. It symbolizes the Sun King (Louis XIV) by using the Sun God (Apollo) as the center of everything. Apollo is emerging from the waters in a 4-horse chariot surronded by dolphins and tritons. (The design is by Lebrun using older models).
The Latona Fountain and adjacent Basins occupy most of the second level of the Grand Axis with views both East and West, if you can take your eyes off the fountain , especially when it is in full play. For the first time the Apollo basin is in full view as is the Tapis Vert. Latona (Leto) was the mother of Apollo and Diana (by Jupiter). During her travails she was mocked by the Lycians. This aroused Jupiter and he transformed them into amphibians (frogs, etc.) as punishment. The works demonstrate the metamorphoses both in the central and lateral fountains.
The Neptune Fountain was a late completion at Versailles (1678-82) and added to (1738-41) under Louis XV.The major group of figures of Neptune and Amphitrite are the largest and all are of lead. Around them can be found Proteus and other Gods as well as marine animals. The Vases have jets as well, a total of 99 in all. We waited for an hour after the scheduled time, but there was no activity and when they were finally turned on, the pressure did not manifest itself and we had to leave for an evening engagement before the Neptune and Dragon fountains played. (Note the tourist train going by the Neptune group. I wonder what you see that way?)
This fountain comes into view as you reach the Water Avenue from the North Parterre. It shows cupids on the backs of swans plus dolphins fighting a dragon. We were there on a water Sunday to see it but thepressure did not rise high enough before we had yo leave for an evening dinner reservation. (C'est dommage!). It was a hot day and while we were waiting, there was a nearby gate where they let us out to go across the street to a store where we bought liquids to refresh ourselves.
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 fountain and the cascade and pool below it are considered as a unit. The fountain was executed by Girardon (1669-70) after a design by Lebrun. The bas relief of the Nymphs behind the dripping water and the pool were his own creation as well as his sculpture. The entire ensemble can only be seen from below and the light is difficult and I have never taken a good picture of the detail on several visits. Maybe someone else will.