On summer weekends, visitors to the Chateau de Versailles can enjoy the historic fountains at play in the formal gardens of the palace near Paris.
On most summer weekends, a musical fountain show (Grandes Eaux Musicales) allows visitors to the Palace of Versailles to enjoy the historical fountains at play. The gardens with fountains designed by André Le Nôtre for Sun King Louis XIV can now be enjoyed by all paying visitors, as the fountains only play on days when admission is charged to visit the baroque formal gardens of the Chateau de Versailles. However, the admission fee is well worth it to see the spectacle, 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 outside Paris 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
The musical fountains show (Grandes Eaux Musicales) 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 in May and June, as well as on a few public holidays during the summer season.
On most Tuesdays 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. Fountains are in action from 11 am to noon and from 3:30 to 5 pm. Only the mirror fountain plays throughout the day. 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.
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), admission is €1 cheaper but offers far less value.
Dogs and bicycles are not allowed inside the baroque garden.
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.