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Versailles Musical Fountains/Musical Gardens???

I have looked at the website for Versailles and am not sure what would be the best thing to do:
My family of 4 will be going to visit Versailles in June and using the Passport to get into the Palace. However, entry to the garden must be purchased and during the summer there are fountain shows, garden music, etc., etc., all with a separate ticket price and not sure what we want, what is not that interesting, and what is a must see. We plan on returning to Paris the same evening, so we know we do not want any night time events. Can anyone who has been to these summer shows please describe them and let me know what you thought. Thank you!

Posted by
20290 posts

This is a 6 year old experience, so not sure what has changed. There is a gate to the gardens where you buy a ticket and enter. It was not very much and you get a hand stamp or wrist band so you can go in and out.

Very crowded, especially if you have to use the WC. Wife spent 30 minutes in line while her food got cold at the outdoor restaurant in the center of the gardens. Musical show we watched lasted 10 minutes to canned music. When it was over my first thought was "Is that all there is?"

Posted by
519 posts

My experience mirrors Sams. We actually joked that we thought we saw a guy in the bushes with an 8 track. I felt like they piped in some music which allows them to charge another 8 euros. I’d go when the Gardens are included in admission.

Posted by
985 posts

Our Versailles Chateau trip in October was one of the last days for the musical fountains. I had pre-purchased the garden tickets online so after touring the Chateau we walked through the ticket line with our tickets and over to the golf cart rentals. The fountains go off sporadically every so often and although we saw lots of fountains, we didn't see many spewing water, and yes, the music sounds tinned. We enjoyed ourselves anyway although it was chilly and very windy. I myself would not pay for the music and probably not the fountains. I would pay for that golf cart though!
Honestly, I don't see how people see much of the gardens without a golf cart. I'd be really tempted to skip a date you had to pay to enter the gardens and apply those funds to golf cart rental. Each cart holds 4 people, 2 facing forward, 2 facing backward. We rented the cart for almost two hours and it was money well spent. They held my drivers license until we returned and paid, and only I was allowed to drive. If it had been up to me I could have stayed in the gardens for even longer. What's 100 euros when one is already spending a couple thousand for flights, hotel, meals, passes, trains, and such?

I just pulled this from the site: Rates: €34 per vehicle per hour, €8.50 per additional 15 minutes, discount for disabled people (-40%) and Subscribers (-20%).

Opening hours: daily from 10:00 am, closing time depends on the season: 5:30 pm (February and March), 6:45 pm (April to October) or 5:00 pm (November and December). Closed every year from January to mid-February.

Posted by
12172 posts

My impression isn't much different, the music isn't impressive and they run one fountain at a time on a schedule (not nearly as nice as Peterhof in St. Petersburg). I think the saving grace for me was rain was forecast so the place was very lightly populated. I'd also go when the gardens are included, it's seems silly to pay extra for what little they offer.

Posted by
8108 posts

The fountains run for about an hour and a half in the morning and a couple of hours late in the afternoon. the gardens are quite small and it is easy in a couple of hours to get to all of the fountains. It certainly doesn't require mechanical transport. We headed over to the Trianon and Hameau during the mid part of the day and then returned to the gardens for the afternoon fountains. We saw most of them in action although we missed the timing on one or two. It is so worth it to organize a trip to be there for the fountains. I think we paid 8 Euro for the garden ticket which admits one again after leaving to eat or tour the wider estate.

https://janettravels.wordpress.com/2016/02/15/fountains-of-versailles-a-little-chaos/

On non fountain days the gardens are free; the wider estate is always free except for the Trianon and Hameau for which you may buy separate tickets if you don't have the chateau ticket.

While there are enormous lines for the chateau there was almost no line for the gardens; we went just for the gardens.

Posted by
186 posts

I appreciate all of your feedback; we will definitely not go out of our way to see the music or shows and instead opt to wander around and enjoy the scenery.

Janet, your blog is amazingly detailed; thanks for sharing.

Posted by
8108 posts

Barbara, the fountains don't run all day. And not all fountains run at the same time. The 'big deal' is that the fountains are not particularly interesting when they are not running and so if you want to see their beauty and the beauty of the formal gardens you pretty much need to be there when they are running. And they charge because it is hella expensive to pump the water through the ancient systems for the fountain show. And I can't understand the need for a cart to visit the gardens; they are fairly tiny. I would be surprised if from top to bottom they are more than 500 meters. There are about 50 fountains and many of them are in their own garden 'rooms'.

Posted by
61 posts

I found it easier to take the train and not a car. Short walk from train station to Versailles.
If in June, you may want to go early to avoid some of the crowds, and then there would be time to enjoy some of the garden areas.

My experiences...
The first time I was there in June many years ago I made the mistake of taking a tour, and it was sooo crowded during the day (with all the tour groups) and I remember it being hard to see, and then the tour gave 15 minutes for gift shop and gardens ..impossible :-).

Went back a couple of years ago in March by train, and have to say that even though the fountains weren't running, I thought that the statues at each fountain were interesting in and of themselves, but that may not be your cup of tea. Lots of hidden side gardens and fountains. I still never got to the Petit Trianon that is out there too as it was closed for the day because come visiting dignitary was coming. Hope to see it this year when I go back in August.

Posted by
487 posts

Are you positively ruling out any night time events? It's a separate admission, but well worth it IMO and you can get back to Paris that night. Most everyone there does that. The separate grottos are each designed differently and they were engrossing enough that we only saw a little over half of them. There's an amazing dancing fire show down along the Grand Canal and fireworks at 10:50 to 11:05. Maybe not quite Disney extravaganza fireworks but pretty darn good. Then you hop on the RER and go back to Paris.
I haven't been to the daytime music and fountain shows but they sound pretty weak according to the previous posters. In my opinion the night time show is worth a splurge.

Posted by
8108 posts

The gardens are the small formal gardens behind the chateau to which admission is charged when the very expensive project of pumping water to the fountains is planned. I expect people visiting on other days would not be thrilled at an even higher admission price on days when the fountains are not running.
The wider estate is huge, is always free, and you can take a sort of bus like tram like conveyance to get to the furthest side or rent bikes or rent a golf cart although those frequently involve a very long wait.