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KTtravel May 17th, 2009 01:09 PM

Versailles - worth changing my itinerary to see the fountains?
My daughter and I are planning a trip to Paris this summer and would like to visit Versailles. I have been there years before but did not visit on a day when the fountains were running. I see that the fountains only run on the weekends in August and wonder if we should change our travel plans so that we can be there on a Saturday or Sunday. Changing our plans would not be too difficult at this point. So, what do you think - are the fountains quite spectacular? A must see? Thanks.

namaka May 17th, 2009 02:13 PM

I found that I enjoyed the fountains and grounds much more than the palace. The palace was just so crowded with no room to move around but once we got outside, there was much more open space. So, IMO, I was glad we chose a day when the fountains were on.

ksucat May 17th, 2009 02:44 PM

The fountains at Versailles are so wonderful and during the summer, only on Sundays, they have classical music in sync with the fountains and its incredible.
Double check to make sure they are doing it this year.
We like dining in the garden restaurant on the grounds.
Gordon Ramsay au Trianon is lovely..dinner only..closed on Sunday.

ira May 17th, 2009 04:28 PM

Hi KT,

If you can do it with little inconvenience - go.
we much prefer the gardens to the castle.


ChicagoDallasGirl May 17th, 2009 05:00 PM

KT, We just returned from Paris a few hours ago. Though we did not see the fountains with music and all, I agree with ira. If you can go without a huge revision of your plans, do so. The gardens were wonderful, even in the rain, so I can imagine how much more magical the eperience would be with the fountains and music going. The Chateau was crowded and we much preferred the peaceful freedom exploring the garden and Marie Antoinette's Domain (the Grand and Petite Trianons and the Farm). Have a wonderful time!

tmagyari May 17th, 2009 07:05 PM

I was there on Friday May 8th, and they had the fountains/music since it was a holiday. The gardens brochure says that the fountains with music will run this season every Sat, Sun and national holiday, with some evenings during July/August combining this with fireworks over the garden. I'm sure the Versailles website lists the exact dates for the fireworks--the website was very helpful. They run the fountains for a couple hours in the morning, take a break, then run them again for a few hours in the late afternoon.

We planned for just the gardens and Marie-Antoinette's domain (the two Trianon's and Le Hameau) and specifically went on a day the fountains were running as we had heard so many positive comments about them. The gardens were lovely. Seeing the Apollo fountain come to life when they turned the water on was thrilling.

Because we had arrived at the gardens during the break between fountain shows, we had already walked through the gardens by the time they turned on the water and music--and needed to in order to see M-A domain later that afternoon. I must say my DH was disappointed in the fountain show. He couldn't understand why we paid an extra 8E "for that"-- and it didn't turn out to be a "must see" for either of us--maybe since we'd already walked through? I think we were expecting the fountains to be timed to the music or something more choreographed. There seemed to be a fair number of people who just sat and watched the show, however, so it could be our timing was just off.

What we did really enjoy was renting bikes to go to the Trianon's (a very good idea as it was a warm day and an otherwise long walk--you can rent them just outside the garden between the Apollo fountain and the Grand Canal). We also did a bike ride around the Grand Canal--which was really lovely with many strolling and picnicking French families. There are also gardens outside the Trianons, and Le Hameau itself is in a tranquil park-like setting, which we enjoyed a great deal.

Looking back perhaps we were into an active mode that day, or the timing was off to get the most from the fountain show. We were unprepared for how spread out things are and how long it takes to get from site to site. If you are interested in just sitting somewhere for a few hours in the formal gardens, then the fountains and music definitely add to the ambiance. If you are just strolling through on your way to the Trianons, it might not make a big difference as the gardens themselves are quite lovely as they are.

Best wishes for your trip.

Cherlitz May 17th, 2009 07:12 PM

My best day in France was the day I decide to spend the afternoon in the Versailles Gardens
Rent a gondola, have an ice cream and relax!

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