Versailles Park and Fountains

Versailles is a royal residence which is found outside of Paris, France. It was built under the supervision of Louis XIV. It started as a small hunting lodge in 1631 before it was developed into a self-contained city.

One of the key features of Versailles is its Park and fountains. The Versailles Park is made up of two sections. The first one is referred to as the small park and is home to a number of major water features that draw visitors from around the globe. This small park is found right behind the Palace and the Grand Canal. Likewise, the larger park is located farther back and offers visitors a forest environment that’s filled with a number of walking paths.

The small park starts with a long terrace that is lined with marble vases. Walking two steps down from the terrace would lead to the Water Parterre. This part of the small park consists of a pair of rectangular water basins and is surrounded by three bronze statues of women, representing each of the three rivers of France. Moving further from the Water Parterre would reveal two of Versailles’ most visited water features.

The first one is the Leto Basin which is circular in nature. It consists of three large circular basins which are stacked on top of one another similar to steps. Each step is adorned with sculpted figures of lizards and frogs. At the top part of the fountain is Leto, Apollo’s mother, which is reproduced in bronze. Her hands show how water flows up and over the rest of the fountain before pooling at the basins below.

The second one is the Fountain of Apollo which is located just further down from the Leto Basin. Similar to the latter, it is also sculpted out of bronze. Apollo is depicted as riding his wild horses through the water. While they struggle, water is being spurted straight up and over Apollo which then covers the entire scene in a downpour of rain. The Apollo Fountain is recognized as the best example of French Classicism.

Several other fountains can be found in Versailles. These include the Fountain of Neptune which is nestled in front of the Versailles Palace, and the Fountain of the Pyramid which is found near the North flowerbeds.

Versailles remains one of the world’s most visited palaces because of the place’s sheer number of omnipresent fountains and waterfalls. On the whole, it has more than 1400 fountains and 607 waterfalls, all of which remain as an integral part of the garden décor. Due to its vastness, it takes around 6.2 million liters of water per hour to feed all of Versailles’ water features.

Nearby at Chateau of Marly, the Grand Cascade Fountain can also be found. This fountain is responsible for influencing the structure and function of the fountains all over Europe. On the other hand, the water features at Versailles deliver a unique look at Louis XIV’s obsession with and devotion to symmetry, perfection and classical beauty.