A visit to Versailles is not only a lesson in French History. It’s also an opportunity for the visitor to experience some of the incredible events that take place in the chateau all year round. Whether you are a fan of spectacle, music, theatre or even contemporary art, Versailles pulls out all the stops to bring the chateau back to its former glory as a hub of entertainment for the monarchs and the nobility of France. Experiencing Versailles like this means reliving some of its former glory.
One of the most popular attractions at Versailles is without doubt the musical fountain show , which takes place every weekend from the month of April to October. André Le Nôtre, the famous gardener hired by Louis XIV to turn what was essentially a marsh into one of the most breathtaking spectacles in Europe, used water as one of the main design features. Lakes, fountains and bubbling cascades in groves were used to break up the monotony of the garden by introducing light and motion. The fountains were the main feature of all this activity and there are at least 1,400 to be found scattered all over the estate. Getting enough water to feed these hungry fountains proved a massive headache for Le Nôtre. Versailles was not near any large source of water and because of this huge engineering works had to be undertaken. A staggering one third of the cost of the building of Versailles went into constructing suitable solutions for obtaining water. As in the rooms of Versailles, the fountains of the gardens take for their inspiration Greek and Roman mythology and are decorated with all manner of gods and goddesses. One of the first magnificent fountains that visitors will encounter is called the Apollo Fountain and features a gilded lead statue of the resplendent god Apollo driving a chariot led by horses. They appear to be rising from beneath the water and when the fountain is functioning, the bubbling water adds to the drama of the scene.
Contemporary Art is not always what first comes to mind when one thinks of the splendours of 18th Century Versailles, the Palace however has been undergoing a mini revolution of its own over the last couple of years with the introduction of audacious works of art by contemporary artists in the heart of the palace and its gardens. Crowds have certainly been very surprised by the first exhibition by Jeff Koon’s who placed his iconic sculptures in the rooms and gardens of the chateau. Made to resemble cheap inflated balloons twisted into the shapes of animals, his giant sculptures are in fact sophisticated metal constructions painted in high gloss gaudy colours. Placed in the rooms of Versailles they take on a whole new meaning and value, representing, perhaps, a modern day equivalent of the decadence of the 18th Century chateau. The most recent artist to expose at Versailles is the South Korean artist Lee Ufan. More information about contemporary art at Versailles can be found on the website.
Versailles provides the perfect backdrop for classical concerts. The Royal chapel, the Hall of Mirrors, the Opera House and gardens have all proved to be ideal settings in which to hear classical music and opera. What a magnificent way to end a day at Versailles by attending a concert in one of its many splendid venues. Experiencing a concert is akin to stepping back in time to the days of Marie-Antoinette and Louis XVI. A full programme of all the events for the coming season can be found on the website.
Romain was AMAZING!!! I will 100% be recommending him to our friends! Our Louvre tour was one of my kids favorite things we did and they said it was because of Romain.
Highly recommend. Private tour is a great way to get more personalized insights on Paris history. Guide was very knowledgeable. Will definitely use again.
We have done several tours with Localers and they are definitely worth the money! We are pretty independent travelers, but there is no substitute for local knowledge. Localers has the best guides!
I did 2 tours with Localers and would enthusiastically do more when I return to Paris. The main reason is the quality of the tours themselves, the fact they are authentic experiences, and you learn so much!
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