Friday, June 15, 2012

Versailles: the glorious gardens

This post outlines some of our adventures on our Spring Trip in April/May 2012.

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.


Susan said...

Amazing photos of some incredible fountains! They certainly had wild imaginations in those days, hey! And the colours of the tulips(?)!! Stunning!

midge said...

and i am sure that is just how you will be remembered Kirsty, perhaps a quilting hoop held aloft in place of the cups? awesome adventure, love your tales as much as i adore your photos. maybe one day i'll get there, on kontiki pensioner methinks

Unknown said...

How can I thank you for your fantastic and funny tours?

Camilla said...

Just marvelling again at your amazingly skilled photos, each one is a work of art! My husband asks if you studied it, or are you self taught?

Rafael's Mum said...

Beautiful gardens! so nice to see, thanks!

Sharon T said...

Your journaling and photos are amazing! Thank you for taking me on your fabulous journey!

Leslie said...

My only trip to Versailles was 40 years ago. Your pictures bring back lovely memories.

Poppyprint said...

Obviously we were moving at too fast a pace on our restricted golf cart route, b/c I missed half of those garden delights. Plus, no blooms in March yet. Thanks for the tour of all the great stuff I missed!

Sil said...

Hola! Tuve el placer de estar ahí y es una de las cosas que no voy a olvidar en mi vida! Gracias por tus excelentes fotos.

Sarah - Red Gingham said...

How I wish you could be my tour guide one day! You think of the funniest thing to say about statues. Wonderful looking place and sooo big! Love the tulips too. I must get out the atlas and check out where all these places are. Thanks for the tour! Have a great day. xx

Selina said...

le sigh. The tulips were out just like that when we were there April 2011, just beautiful! Unfortunately we didn't quite make it down to the fountains, darn those bloody group tours!! Gorgeous photos as usual my dear.

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

The only time I have been was in the thick of the summer tourist season, but the grounds are so massive and the fountains so plentiful that it really did not matter. Fortunately, we were there on a day when all the fountains were running full blast.

Your photos are just beautiful with interesting angles and great lighting, but I can remember you with "crazy hair." etc!

Although I did not see it, there was a scene captured in the snow and ice (Dec 2010)of the Apollo fountain. I posted a billboard of it on my blog.


Marg said...

They look so much better at any time of the year than when I saw them in the middle of winter. The fountains were empty, the statues covered, the garden beds just bare dirt with the odd sorry looking frost bitten plant and all the boxed citrus tucked safely away in a greenhouse somewhere.
I would love to hear a guided tour by you of Versailles, I bet it's not quite like the official one.

Jenny M said...

My husband & I went to Versailles 4 years ago, such an AMAZING place. But alas, we had no idea how big the grounds were, so we did the tour of the palace and then we rushed to see as much as we could of the beautiful gardens. I have a photo of my husband laying on one of the grassed areas & I can remember him pleading "just let me rest, I am exhausted!"

Sara Louise said...

Stunning photos as usual Kirsty! The gardens are amazing!
And you're going to be so proud of me... yesterday morning I walked around my village at 6am snapping photos :)

Dianne said...

Thanks for the tour and the humurous comments, nice to have a laugh mid-day!!

Liza in Ann Arbor said...

Beautiful! You really captured it. However, I'm not getting your posts in my email anymore. Anyone else mention this? Wonder why.

Kirsty @ Bonjour Quilts said...

I think that was me, Liza, sorry. I was tinkering and deleted something - still not sure what - but I have set it up again so you can re-enter your email. Sorry about that, I should remember to keep my mitts off what I don't understand!

Liza in Ann Arbor said...

I'll keep checking back in the meantime. Love the Honfleur post! I've been there a few times myself and have always found it so adorable. For me it evokes Moules a la Creme next to the Vieux Bassin.

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