Things to do in Paris

Discover the Magical Garden and Fountains of the Palace of Versailles

Last Updated On

Palace of Versailles is Now Open

Reopened On

May 19, 2021

Safety Measures

🚶🏻‍♂️🚶🏻‍♂️Social Distancing

😷 Mandatory Masks

👮‍♂️ Reduced Capacity

⏰ Timed Entry

New Rules and Guidelines

  • A mandatory Health Pass is needed to gain access to tourists attractions in France. Find more details [here]( covid 19)
  • Entrances and exits are separate and clearly marked at the Palace of Versailles and on the Trianon Estate
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The Palace of Versailles is situated only 20kms from the French Capital and is a World Heritage Site that is visited by millions of people every year. The ex-Royal Residence of Versailles was the seat of political power in the Kingdom of France under the reigns of the Sun King, Louis XIV and is one of the greatest validation of French 17th century art. With over 60,000 artwork collections, Versailles showcases five centuries of French History. No visit to France is complete without visiting this historic landmark and spending time wandering its halls, pootling around the gardens and witnessing grand works of art and a magical fountain show.

Palace of Versailles Gardens and Fountains

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The stunning Château de Versailles spreads over massive 800 hectares with splendid sprawling gardens, musical fountains and the Palaces of Trianon. Designed by famous architect André Le Nôtre, the Gardens of Versailles are as phenomenal and breathtaking as the Palace itself. High on symmetry, adorned by massive number of sculptures, groves and fountains, these gardens present a reflection of the royal French aesthetics and power. The gardens are most spectacular during spring and especially so on weekends when hundreds of historic fountains come alive to the tunes of baroque music in the charming musical shows.

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What Makes The Versailles Gardens and Fountains Special

A visit to the splendid and historical Palace of Versailles is incomplete without witnessing the charm and exquisiteness of the immense gardens surrounding the Palace. Designed by André Le Nôtre by taming and levelling the surrounding woods and marshes, the Gardens at the Palace of Versailles are a testimony of French designing and detailing for centuries. These colossal gardens are a work of geometrical precision. They are marked by myriad fountains, sculptures, walks, parterres and groves with the palace as their backdrop and a canal in the forefront, offering a spectacular sight. Various fountains symbolising the laws of nature or history weaved into their designs create a magical ambience. The musical fountain shows set you up to explore and admire the fountains and groves as their fascinating water feature spouts to the cadence of music. As the night falls the gardens light up to present a mesmerising array of stunning visuals. Water theme in the Mirror Fountain, lasers beaming across the dark in the Colonnade Grove and the spectacular fireworks show in front of the Grand Canal are some of the attractions of the fountains night show that leave you spell bound.

Palace of Versailles

The Versailles Gardens and Fountains

1. The Fountains

There are 50 water spouting fountains each symbolising a theme gracing the splendid Gardens of Versailles. The fountains are decorated with sculptures of gilded lead or metal portraying characters from Greco-Roman mythology. As you follow a circuit in the gardens you witness and identify the beauty and attributes of these fountains. From the entrance to the Royal Way you can admire the four fountains based on the four seasons. Fountains of the fight of the animals demonstrating the way of nature, Dragon fountain a majestic piece of art and the tallest one with water jet reaching a height of 27 metres, The Neptune Fountain, Latona's fountain, Apollo's fountain, Mirror pool and hordes of others come to their glory in the mesmerising fountain shows.

Palace of Versailles

2. Parterres and Paths

French parterres constructed at the foot of the palace on the garden side, consisting of plant beds in symmetrical patterns separated and connected by paths, form the essence of the open area surrounding the palace. There are three large parterres North Parterre, South Parterre and Water Parterre besides other small ones forming intricate patterns in the gardens of Versailles. These can be viewed from above from specific points giving a beautiful portrayal of the stunning landscaping based on symmetry. The water Parterre has two large rectangular pools which reflect the sun’s rays and light on the outside wall of the Hall of Mirrors illustrating the unique use of light as an element of decoration. The South Parterre presents a splendid view of the Orangery Parterre from above. Embellished by statues of sphinxes, bronze cupids, marble sculptures and other French artwork, these Parterres and Paths need to be walked to experience the magical effect.

Palace of Versailles

3. The Walks

The Château de Versailles with monumental grounds is famous for its long splendid walks with so much to absorb. Lined with statues, fountains, waterways and a breathtaking composition of flora these walks are as much of an attraction as the Palace itself. You are accosted by The optical effects and elements of surprise as you make your way through the trail. Organised around two axes, north-south and east-west, the Gardens of Versailles have different walking circuits.The Water walk starting at the Neptune Fountain and ending at the Orangery and the Lake of the Swiss Guards is lined with 14 beautiful fountains. The Royal Way a broad steep alley ending into the great Apollo’s Fountain lined with horse chestnut trees, yew trees and hornbeam is also adorned with outstanding sculptures and statues. The King’s Garden Grove renovated to a stunningly landscaped garden forms yet another part of the walks. The beauty of these immense gardens is experienced the best on foot.

Palace of Versailles

4. The Orangery

The large conserve of orange trees from Portugal, Spain and Italy, lemon trees, oleander, palm, olives and pomegranate trees planted in boxes are housed in the Orangery in the winter months and are spread outdoors across parterre in summers. Some of the trees in this Orangery are as old as 200 years and were acquired from all over the world making it the largest collection of these trees in Europe. The Orangery’s central gallery is more than 150 metres long with a 13-metre-high vaulted ceiling. Its two side galleries are located under the vast Hundred Steps staircases. Over 1055 trees lined perfectly in the Orangery, facing directly south sheltered from cold winds by the virtue of its position, 4-5-metre-thick walls, and double windows is a specimen of architectural talent and brilliance. This forms a unique part of the Gardens at Versailles giving them a fresh distinctive look even in the cold winter months.

Palace of Versailles

5. Sculptures

The 253 Sculptures are the most remarkable slice of the Château de Versailles making it the largest outdoor sculpture museums in the world. Various statues depicting the Sun God were added from time to time like Apollo’s childhood depicted in Latona’s Fountain, The Dragon Fountain depicting Python pierced with Apollo’s arrows and many more. This heritage admired by millions of visitors every year has a collection of antique statues and works of greatest artists of the 17th century. The sculptures are used to adorn the fountains and the alleys. They are made of bronze, marble or gilded lead. These splendid pieces of art are tastefully integrated into the garden settings and foliage making it an interesting expedition for visitors.

Palace of Versailles

6. The Groves

The Groves of Versailles, the little parks within the woods, embellished with fountains ,vases and statues bring in an element of surprise or fantasy to the visitor. A shady leafy centre, the grove is a small garden enclosed by greenery with subtle paths leading up to it. Originally the gardens of Versailles contained fifteen groves but many of them deteriorated rapidly for the want of expensive maintenance. Many of these have been restored with a new sculpted decor and rare trees. There are groves with multiple level cascades, marble ramps, decorated with millstones,shells and lead vases, highlighted by boxwood hedges, chestnut trees lined alleys and many other elements that continue to amaze visitors. Queen's Grove, Ballroom Grove, Girandole Grove, Colonnade Grove and Chestnut Grove are the Southern Groves each with its own distinct facets. The Northern Groves consisting of Grove of the Domes, Enceladus Grove, Obelisk Grove, Apollo's Baths Grove, Star Grove, Water Theatre Grove, Grove of the Three Fountains and Triumphal Arch Grove tremendously capture the curiosity of spectators.

Versailles Gardens

Palace of Versailles Tickets

The Versailles Garden and Fountain Show Experience

The Musical Fountains Show

The Musical Fountains Shows are one of the major attractions at the Palace of Versailles gardens. One of its kind, the show brings alive scores of historical fountain masterpieces dancing to the tunes of Baroque music. These shows are on every weekend during summer months (31 March to 28 October 2018) and on Tuesdays from (22 May to 26 June 2018) besides a few more public holidays.

• Groves open from 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM with an exception of few days when they close earlier.
• Musical Displays are from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM with an exception of few days when they close at 6:00 PM.
• Water Display is from 11:00 AM to 12:00 AM, and from 2:30 PM to 5:00 PM on weekdays and public holidays and end slightly early on Tuesdays.
• Mirror Fountain has water display every 10 minutes from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM.
• Water Theater Grove has water display every 15 minutes from 10:00 AM to 7:0 PM.
• Neptune Fountain has water display every 15 minutes from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

The Musical Gardens

The immense gardens at the Palace of Versailles present an extraordinary experience when accompanied by the French Baroque period music playing in the background providing just the feel of 17th century Royal French style ambience and setting. The groves and other preserved areas of the Gardens are accessible on certain Tuesdays and a few Fridays from April to October for a musical promenade.

• The timings of the musical displays are from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM with an exception for a few days.
• Mirror Fountain has water display every 10 minutes from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM.
• Water Theater Grove has water display every 15 minutes from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM.
• Neptune Fountain has water display every 15 minutes from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
• Groves open from 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM with an exception of few days when they close earlier.

The Fountains Night Show

Fountains Night Show banks on the magic of illumination, music and staged effects at night glorifying the formal French garden with splendid visuals and musical extravaganza. Climaxing with spectacular fireworks this show leaves a indelible mark on the viewers. The show features every Saturday from 16 June to 15 September 2018 with water displays from 8:30 PM to 10:40 PM and fireworks from 10:50 PM to 11:05 PM.

The Royal Serenade

The Royal Serenade in the hall of mirrors takes you to the Versailles of 17th century era bringing forth the grandiose rich whimsical past. The Baroque dancers in costume from the Compagnie l’Éventail and Musiciens de Saint-Julien ensemble await you to join in a French style ball in the royal apartments. You Witness the commonplace scenes such as the Dressing Ceremony, the Court Ball, mockery of whimsical doctors, pensive religious singing and rustic charm with bagpipes.

This event is held on every Saturday from 16 June to 15 September 2018 (departures at 6:30 PM, 6:50 PM, 7:10 PM, 7:30 PM and 7:50 PM).

Palace of Versailles Gardens and Fountain Reviews

This Chateau should definitely be included in a trip if you have a few days in Paris. The history and scale of the property are inspiring. The gardens are absolutely beautiful. There was a fountain show set to music while we were there which was lovely. Some of the practical things to know, the Museum Pass does not get you past the long line. When you approach the courtyard, you will see an extremely long line. This is for all guests! I was under the impression that one of the benefits of buying the museum pass was to be able to skip this line, not so! There is a ticket office that people need to go and buy tickets and then join this line. You get to go directly into it if you have already purchased your pass but that is the sole benefit. That maybe saves you ten minutes, not hours as I thought from reading tour books. Also, the gardens are not included in the price with the museum pass. That is an additional charge--but well worth it. The rooms were crowded inside so it is best to go early in the day and avoid peak crowds. Once you get past security, there is another very long line. If you do not want an audioguide, you gan queue to the right and avoid another hour wait. If you want the audioguide, you have to stay in the longer line. There is a little snack shop in the gardens where you can get a drink or light meal. Give yourself a full day to really take in the whole property if you want to see it all. You can spend hours here.

Trackmomo, TripAdvisor, November 2017

There are a few ticket options to suit your needs: a full palace/garden option, or palace alone. If going on the fountain days, you'll need a ticket for the gardens. (Garden access is free otherwise). If not buying in advance, use the automatic kiosks rather than waiting in the long lineup. Once on the grounds: enjoy! We've been multiple times, but only once to witness the fountain shows. The gardens are definitely better with the fountains on! Time your visit appropriately as well if you're hoping to see the flowers; they are usually up throughout September but are cut down in October. Make sure to bring good walking shoes, a hat and water. There are multiple areas for free toilets around the gardens.

Domhnall, TripAdvisor, October 2017

Palace of Versailles Practical Information

Open Hours and Timings

  • The Palace is open on all days of the week other than Mondays. The timings are slightly different for high season and low season: 9:00 AM to 6:30 PM (April to October) and 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM (November to March).
  • Gardens are open every day and all round the year from 8.00 AM to 8:30 PM (1 April to 31 October) and 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM (1 November to 31 March) except on the Musical Fountains Show dates.
  • The musical fountain shows are on on Saturdays and Sundays from 31 March to 28 October 2018, on Tuesdays from 22 May to 26 June 2018 as well as on some additional dates (Friday 30 March, Tuesday 8 May, Thursday 10 May, Wednesday 15 August). The Gardens shall close and evacuate at 6pm on 30 and 31 March, 5:30 PM on 16, 23, 30 June, 7, 14, 21, 28 July, 4, 11, 18, 25 August, 1, 8, 15 September and 28 October 2018 for the show.
  • Shows are held every Saturday from 16 June to 15 September 2018 from 8.30pm to 10:40 PM and fireworks from 10:50 PM to 11:05 PM.

Getting There

  • It is very easy to get to the Palace from Paris. You take Line C of the RER regional train system from the centre of Paris (Champs de Mars, Invalides, Musée d'Orsay, etc.) to The Versailles Château Rive Gauche station. It is just a 10 minute walk to the Palace from this station.
  • You can even take Bus 171 of the RATP system that runs between Pont de Sèvres and the Palace of Versailles.
  • If you are planning to drive down to Palace of Versailles, there are several paid car parks inside and outside the Estate.

Tips on Visiting the Versailles Palace and Watching a Fountain Show

The formal baroque gardens of the Palace of Versailles can be enjoyed so much more with some bit of planning and foresightedness.

  • Gardens of the Palace of Versailles are at their best on summer weekends with musical fountain shows. Its best to plan a visit during this time.
  • The Palace of Versailles being a major tourist attraction is always overflowing with visitors. It is advisable to get your tickets online to avoid huge crowds.
  • Versailles is very well connected to Paris by various modes of transports. RER, the regional train network is one of the most popular means used.
  • Tuesday is the busiest days at Palace of Versailles as it is also the day of musical Gardens show so if you are planning to enjoy the gardens at leisure you can avoid Tuesdays.
  • Only the formal part of the gardens where the musical shows take place has an admission fee. Rest of the massive park in the Estate of Versailles remains open for free.
  • The musical fountain show in the afternoon session is far better than the morning session so you should plan your itinerary in such a way that you reach early morning to see the palace from inside and keep the afternoon free to enjoy the musical fountains in the garden.
  • There are many small fountains as spectacular as the main ones. Make sure you don't miss seeing them.
  • Saturdays are relatively less crowded for Palace of Versailles so that should be a preferred day.
  • The gardens are spread over 800 hectares of land and have many walking trails. Its advisable to wear some comfortable footwear to enjoy the long walks.
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