Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Fountains Night Show and Fireworks at Versailles


For the past two summers, Stéphane and I have been intending to go to the Fountain Night Show at Versailles. The third time must be the charm because we finally made it last night. With illuminated fountains, classical music playing on speakers strategically placed throughout the gardens, a laser light show, dramatic flames synchronized with the music and 15 minutes of dazzling fireworks, the evening proved to be much more entertaining than we could have ever anticipated.

Something else that we couldn't have imagined were the hordes of people. When Stéphane and I tried unsuccessfully to find a place where we could sit down and eat the baked potato topped with chili that we had purchased from a vending cart, we couldn't help comparing the pandemonium in the garden with the tranquility that reigns during the Candlelit Evenings at Château Vaux le Vicomte. The difference is like night and day. Whereas we always feel that we're special guests invited to a magical evening at Vaux le Vicomte, we felt like we were part of the unruly masses who stormed Versailles last night.

Here's a short video that I shot of last night's grand finale.


Still, there's a reason that thousands of people flock to the majestic gardens every Saturday night during the summer. The Fountains Night Show is so spectacular that everyone should see it once. Well, everyone except for those who don't like large crowds and people with mobility issues.

The shows are on Saturday evenings until September 14, 2013. Water features are from 9:05 to 10:55 pm. The fireworks display starts around 11:00 pm. For additional information and to purchase your tickets in advance, please click here to visit the official website for the Château de Versailles.

Click here to see additional photos on Facebook.


11 comments:

  1. I'm having a bit of a time digesting the potato and chili... I'm pretty sure that wouldn't have happened a few years ago... This weekend has just been a huge wakeup call for me that this isn't the Paris I knew for so long. You are right, there are literally HOARDS of people everywhere this weekend. I was in Printemps yesterday and was absolutely astounded. Didn't last summer seem a bit more calm around here? Anyway, glad you enjoyed the show. We went years ago and I think I'm glad we did. These crowds are getting to be a bit much : )

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    1. "The Parmentier de Versailles" baked potato vendor came as quite a surprise to me, too! But it made more sense after I looked at their website and saw that they're referencing the historical connections between Parmentier, the man credited with re-introducing potatoes to France, and Louis XVI, who wore a potato flower in his hat.

      Even with all the people, I'm happy to have seen the fountains at night. Interestingly enough, the Grand Palais posted a photo of "Les Grandes Eaux illuminées au bassin de Neptune à Versailles" on Facebook yesterday. It was painted by Lami Eugène in 1864 yet looks remarkably similar to the show in 2013.

      I agree, the crowds in Paris are getting to be a bit much. It must be time for me to go on vacation! ;)

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    2. Thanks for the explanation about the potatoes. Learn something new every day! I'll check out the Grand Palais posting. Yes, sigh, the crowds are taking over the city. I guess I'm getting old and cranky. When we go to the cafes at Trocadero, because they are our neighborhood cafes, if there is a line, I tell the greeter, "But we live here". hahahahahahaha It's getting crazy out there!!!!! Hope you get a vacation!

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  2. Baked potato with chili?! Are you sure you were in France? It was very civilized when we were there in 2010...has that much changed?

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    1. Civilization started to fall apart before you left, Anne. According to their website, the Parmentier de Versailles has been there since 2009! In all fairness to the Parmentier, they were sold out of their "classier" options, like la Savoyarde, so we had to settle for the one with chili. It was actually pretty good! They roast the potatoes in a big oven so they're fresh and hot.

      You would have had a good time eavesdropping on the conversation of the French couple behind us in line. The man couldn't fathom eating a baked potato with stuff on top even though his wife did a good job describing it. In the end, they left without ordering a potato. I guess they're still some hope for French civilization!

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  3. It's not all that crowded over here on the left bank except for the lines at Musée d'Orsay because of free admission on the first Sunday of the month. The boats on the Seine looked jam packed in the sunshine but those of us enjoying les Berges had plenty of space in the late afternoon. Not to mention the ringside seat at the 7:30 AM acrobatics show on Saturday, followed by free coffee and croissants.
    Carolyn

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    1. You're so fortunate to be staying next to the d'Orsay and Berges de Seine this summer, Carolyn! I would have liked to have seen the acrobatic show but couldn't convince myself to get out of bed that early on a Saturday morning. It would have been a different story if I would have known that the croissants and coffee were free!

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  4. We've been twice and we were totally enchanted.
    I too (!!) wondered - not about the potato & curry but rather about your taste, no offence intended! It's so not French. We took our pic-nick with us both times and had a truly lovely time.
    Also I can't understand the moaning about the number of people; it IS an outstanding event and why wd so many people pay the entry fee if it wasn't just something really wonderful?! I won't go again, I've had my share and although it's true that sometimes it was nearly worse than being in the métro at rush hour (I exaggerate slightly, I confess), I am just simply happy for everybody who can 'do' any of these evenings.
    Your video is brilliant; I have this strong ‘déjà vu’ feeling and think that it's the same year after year, but those 'mounting' lights are so spectacular, I think you can't better that!
    Have a find rest of this great summer, dear Mary Kay - you're a true chronicler of Parisian delights!
    bisous, Kiki

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    1. Thanks for mentioning that you feel happy for everybody who can do these evenings, Kiki. You have a more magnanimous attitude than mine. You're right that being able to see such a spectacular show is a blessing!

      And thanks for answering a question that I had. I was wondering if Versailles creates a new show every year or if they do the same show year after year. Judging from your comment, it sounds as if the show stays the same.

      I have to admit that I have a weakness for odd foods. It must be my American taste buds! The potato was topped with chili con carne, so more of a Tex-Mex flavor than an Indian one.

      Have a wonderful rest of the summer, Kiki!

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  5. Am I the only one who likes a good baked potato? I have only been to Versailles once, and I was disappointed to find out that even in summer, they don't run the fountains in the day during the week (or didn't in 2007 at any rate). But I wanted to avoid the crowds on the weekend too!

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  6. Your pictures came out great though! I Can never get good firework pictures! Mostly i like this due to music with dazzling fireworks. Its really feel heavenly life here.

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