The gardens of Versailles are a worthy of a day's explorations on their own.
There are huge expanses of lawn and water, and intimate hedge-divided garden rooms, all dotted with fountains, fountains and more fountains.
They also had lovely classical music playing throughout the gardens, which really helps you imagine how incredible a day in Versailles during a 1700's summer would have been.
The weather was crazy the day we visited, full sun one minute then rain the next. If the rain didn't get you, the wind would blow the fountain right in your face (and camera). Exciting.
If you can manage it, make sure you time your visit to correspond with Les Grandes Eaux.
Timings are on the website - but in a nutshell these are the two periods a day (during tourist season) when all the fountains are turned on and you can marvel at them. Outside of these times all the fountains are off (pumps are expensive, y'all).
Although I will mention that the fountains in the The King's Garden ran the whole day. Not sure if that's a regular occurrence?
This is the Fountain of Latona. Latona, the god Apollo's mother, was taunted by Lycian peasants. Apollo asked Jupiter for help and he turned the Lycians into frogs. That'll learn 'em.
The Orangery with the Pond of the Swiss in the distance:
The famous boxed citruses.
My favourite garden room was the Bosquet des Rocailles (known as the Ballroom):
How awesome would an evening party be here?
I wonder which of the royal revellers was the muse for this impression:
Crazy hair, boobs akimbo with a pair of stolen athletic supporter cups. I know that's how I'd like to be remembered.
Bacchus: worst baby-sitter ever.
Apollo Served by Nymphs. Indeed.
More cute little cheeks - this time fauns.
The Dragon Fountain
Interspecies breeding gone wrong on the Pyramid Fountain
Neptune's Fountain. Wow, Neptune worked out.
The famous Apollo sculpture.
The Fountain of Enceladus.
Enceladus, the leader of the giants, tried to attack Mount Olympus by piling mountains on top of each other. Jupiter said oh no, you don't and smacked the whole thing down. The fountain shows Enceladus as he yelled a final curse before disappearing under the rocks. (A big ole jet of water comes out of his mouth when the fountain's on.)
The very formal Colonnade
We loved exploring the grounds and I would recommend them to anyone with kids. The gardens are opened earlier than the palace and close later as well, which is handy to know.
Have a great weekend everyone! See you next week.