On summer weekends, visitors to the Chateau de Versailles may enjoy the historic fountains at play in the formal gardens of the palace near Paris.
Visit the Palace of Versailles in 2021
The Palace and entire Estate of Versailles are open from 19 May 2021 on the usual days and hours but time-slot admissions are now compulsory to see the main palace, even for free admission and other ticket holders. Buy tickets online from Tiqets or GetYourGuide — easy cancelation options are available. Guided tours from Paris remain an easy option for transportation and fast palace entry.
During summer, visitors to the Palace of Versailles may often enjoy the historic fountains at play in the formal baroque gardens while listening to music. The more spectacular event is the musical fountain show (Grandes Eaux Musicales) when the historical fountains are at play on most weekends. Music is also played in the gardens on most summer Tuesdays and Fridays, during a less spectacular musical gardens show (Jardins Musicaux) when the fountains are not in use. During both events, separate admission is charged to visit the formal gardens of the Palace of Versailles that are usually free to all visitors.
The admission fee to the gardens of the Palace of Versailles is well worth the price to see the spectacle on weekends, especially during the afternoon session, when more than thirty seventeenth-century fountains spout water while baroque music is played in the background. Buy tickets in advance, e.g. from Tiqets or GetYourGuide to avoid queueing.
The Musical Fountain Show at the Château de Versailles
The extensive baroque formal gardens at the Palace of Versailles, designed by André Le Nôtre for Sun King Louis XIV, are worth visiting throughout the year. Even in winter, when many of the 55 fountains and 155 statues are covered up, the splendor and opulence of Louis XIV royal court are still as obvious from the extensive, high-maintenance gardens as from the extravagant palace itself.
The gardens are most spectacular during spring and especially so on weekends when the historic fountains can be seen in action. The gardens at Versailles has 55 historic fountains, of which up to 32 currently plays during the musical fountains show. Recorded baroque music is played throughout the garden – live music is only played during the occasional special concerts (mostly at night).
Visiting the Musical Fountain Show Days at Versailles
Admission to the formal baroque gardens of the Palace of Versailles is usually free but during summer buying tickets are compulsory on many days when music is played in the gardens. Two different music event days are held:
- The musical fountains show (Grandes Eaux Musicales) is the more spectacular and usually on weekends and some Tuesdays and Fridays.
- The musical gardens (Jardins Musicaux) adds music but no fountains on most Tuesdays and Fridays.
The musical fountains show (Grandes Eaux Musicales) is by far the better of these two events. It is usually held on Saturdays and Sundays from April to October (vacation days close to these dates may influence the exact participating weekends). The fountains are also in use some Tuesdays and Fridays in May and June, as well as on a few public holidays during the summer season.
On most Tuesdays and Fridays from April to October, admission is charged for the Musical Gardens (Jardins musicaux). On these days, music is played throughout the Baroque gardens and some groves not usually accessible are opened for visitors. The fountains, other than the Mirror Fountain, are not in action.
On show days, admission is charged for the gardens from 9 am to 6:30 pm, even though the fountains play only a limited time. Smaller fountains are in action from 11 am to noon and from 3:30 to 5 pm (2:30 – 4 pm on musical fountain Tuesdays and Fridays). Larger fountains, including the mirror fountain, play throughout the day – usually at 10 to 15 minutes intervals. Far more fountains operate in the afternoon session.
Tickets for the Gardens of the Chateau de Versailles
Admission to the gardens of Versailles Palace on musical fountain show days is included only in the Passport Grandes Eaux Musicales or Jardins Musicaux (€27) – it may be bought online in advance. Holders of the Paris Museum Pass and other chateau tickets must buy a garden ticket at the entrance to the garden. These garden-only tickets are not available online or from other resellers but queuing for tickets to the garden is not really a problem.
Admission tickets to Versailles are easily bought online from for example Tiqets and GetYourGuide with options ranging from palace admission only to full guided tours with transportation from Paris. At busy times, a guided tour is a good idea to get into the palace without queuing — simply abandon the tour afterward and return to Paris by train. Some tours, including a bike tour of the gardens, even encourage seeing the palace at leisure and return by train when ready.
Admission tickets to the Musical Fountain Show in the gardens of Versailles are €9.50, €8 for children 6 to 18 and students, and free for under 6 years old. On musical gardens days (Tuesdays and Fridays), admission is €1 cheaper but offers far less value.
Dogs and bicycles are not allowed inside the baroque garden. at any time.
Visitors may exit the formal gardens, e.g. to go to the Trianon palaces, and re-enter with the same ticket.
See also Tips on Visiting the Musical Fountain Show in Versailles for practical information on when to visit and which attractions to see. Transportation to Versailles is easy by train from Paris. Visit the Palace of Versailles gives an overview of the main sights and admission tickets for the various sections of the Estate of Versailles.