Thursday, February 03, 2011

The Fountains of Versailles

One of the main reasons we decided to visit Versailles on our first day in Paris was to see the fountains in action. Only on weekends are they active, so it seemed like the ideal day to take it in. Not only are the fountains turned on, but classical music is also played on speakers, making it a delightful experience. The gardens themselves were lovely - flowers and hedges, created like a series of outdoor rooms, they were almost maze-like!

This is my favorite fountain, the Apollo basin. It depicts Apollo - the sun god (whom Louis XIV identified with) rising from the waters in his chariot. Definitely much more impressive when the water is running! Most of the fountains were only turned on when the king went by, but this one ran all the time. The fountains are run by a gravity system, using the force of the river to shoot water through the fountains.

This is the Collonade. It is hidden in the gardens and quite impressive to suddenly walk into! It looks like an ancient ruin, but was built by Louis XIV's artists.

This is my daughter from the courtyard overlooking the fountain. In the background you can see the man made lake/canal. This was used for recreation, with gondoliers imported from Italy living nearby.

This is me directly in front of the same fountain, isn't it pretty? This is the Latona fountain, also known as the frog and lizard fountain!
We walked and walked the grounds, just admiring the lovely manicured gardens. I'm sure that on sunny days the gardens are a lot more crowded than they were during our visit, but it was rather nice to be able to wander and take in all the pretty spots while we listened to our audio guide.
The last part of our visit to Versailles was a lot of walking - and I think that the trip was catching up with me, as I noticed that there is a lack of pictures of the rest of the grounds! We visited the domain of Marie Antoinette, the Petite Trianon, and I got no pictures - it was beautiful and we enjoyed it so much even though we were definitely getting weary.
I will finish up our first day's adventures next week, and give you some links to the places we visited on our first day in Paris, I hope you enjoyed this small taste of the fountains!

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