The gardens of the Palace of Versailles, designed by André Le Nôtre among others, contain no fewer than 2,000 fountains and pools. However, they are not all active today. But they weren't at the time of the Sun King either! For fairly simple logistical reasons, it wasn't really possible to have all the fountains running at the same time. Their presence is already a technical achievement in itself, given that it took the ingenuity of an 18-mile hydraulic network to supply the entire Palace grounds with water.
The Musical Fountains Show Versailles allows visitors to relive a royal walk. Louis XIV's journey through the gardens was highly organized, choreographed endeavor. In 1666, a specific route was defined to allow the King to enjoy his Versailles paradise in the best conditions. As the King and the members of his court invited to follow him moved along the path, the fountains came to life to offer him a unique show.
Coyau photograph during a partnership between the Palace of Versailles and Wikimedia France
To allow visitors to enjoy the gardens like Louis XIV did, the Palace of Versailles organizes the Fountains Show from March to November. A fee is charged for admission, and the fountains are active for limited time periods during the day. Each time the water is started, Baroque music plays in the gardens, allowing you to appreciate the show as if you were part of the King's court.
The Mirror Pool and the Neptune Pool offer special shows. The water is choreographed using pressure and directional jets to create graphic patterns. The specific dates change each year, so be sure to inquire about them. Inclement weather such as strong wind may also limit shows to avoid any accidents.
For an unforgettable experience, you can also attend the Night-Time Musical Fountains Show. This show for the whole family will give you a glimpse of the society of pleasures that Louis XIV sought to put in place within his palace. Every Saturday night during the summer, see the gardens illuminated with colors to enjoy a whole new aspect of the Palace grounds. To top off this show accompanied by Baroque music, a fireworks display on the Grand Canal will light up the work of art created by the Sun King and André Le Nôtre.