Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Gardens and Fountains of Versailles

On Sunday Amy and I went to Versailles to see the fountains play. We rented a little golf cart so we could get through all of the gardens faster, because on the first Sunday of each month all state museums are free, and we wanted to get back to city quickly so we could get in a couple of other museums. Here are some highlights from Versailles:

How random is this? I almost liked it, but then I didn't. It's just a bunch of different colored hoses hooked to some metal rings to become a fountain. It looked better from farther away.

You can barely even tell, but the boxy shape behind the fountain spray is the castle... waaaay back up at the beginning of the gardens.

Turning at the same fountain, but in the opposite direciton, you can enjoy the seemingly infinite view of the rest of the gardens.

Amy in one of the gardens by awesomely sculpted potted shrubbery.

Same garden. This time an awesomely sculpted fountain.
(Though less awesome was the fact that even though the fountains "play" from 11:30 - 1:30, they don't all go at the same time, as evidenced by this fountain. Laaaame.)


Erin said...

I am loving all of these "vacation" posts. You guys had an amazing time!

My word ver is "pieds." Fitting, isn't it, since you did an awful lot of walking?

Scrappy said...

I sure hope you plan on making a blog book out of this when you are done. I love all of your posts. If I were there I would want to be with you and Amy, what fun!!!

Billy Bob Bambino Bombabious Baby the Third said...

OK - I hate the hose thing too. Why?!?

As for the rest - lovely! The only person I am more jealous of than you is your travelling companion (Amy???)... For the obvious reasons... :-)

When we studied Versailles in my architecture history class the professor talked about how the fountains all drain downhill and away from the palace. Thus, as the king or emporer or Dauphin was walking through the gardens the fountains would be activated as he approached. Since they all function on gravity (no electric pumps back in the day...) they are only on for a certain period of time (the tank needs time to refill) and in a certain order. Hence the fact that you missed the display. You'd probably have to be on a horse or in a carriage to enjoy all of the fountains in order and on time...

One of the things that was pointed out about the Versailles gardens was the transition from the heavily ordered and manicured sections to the more organic and free forms of the forests... Did you notice that? I wondered how it appeals in real life - is it effective? The other thing is the view from the palace - at the top of the steps just beyond the king's bedroom - and how it extends to the horizon in an unbroken line (signifying, of course, the unbroken line of rule and empire that the French will ultimately enjoy...) How was that? Was it as dramatic as I have been lead to believe or as the designer had envisioned?

Man, I need to get to these places and see for myself... ;-)

Sarah said...

Erin, that's too funny! That is perfect. :)

Scrappy, I actually hadn't thought about making a book, but now that you mention it... I think I will!!

Bill... you're absolutely right. Man, we should have timed it better. Oh, well.

I actually didn't specifically notice the transition from manicured gardens to the forest, but looking back that's exactly how it is. One thing I DID notice was that there was this cool little garden on the... SW (I think) side of the gardens that looked almost like a cutting garden, because the plants were growing more freely and didn't seem so ordered.

It's true that standing up at the top of the steps down into the garden the acreage of Versailles seems to go on forever. I never noticed that or knew anything about the symbolism behind it. That's really interesting. (And so egotistical, too. How fitting.)

Scrappy said...

FYI-- Although I am sure there are a lot of sites out there where you can make blog books, I love Cheep and easy.