The Palace of Versailles, on the outskirts of Paris, hosts a show that is a spectacle to behold during the summer months. During the day the splendour of Versailles, with its chateau and gardens is breathtaking but when Saturday evening arrives something new and magical takes place. An unmissable event called the Versailles Fountain and Firework Show.
A Fairytale Setting
The gardens of King Louis XlV are transformed into a fairytale setting of twinkling lights, swaying fountains, bubbles and baroque music, transporting you back in time. The two and half hour spectacle ends with a grand finale firework display that illuminates the night sky with a plethora of colour and leaves the audience in total wonderment.
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How to see the Fountains and Fireworks
We had booked the Versailles Garden Night Fountain and Firework Show to celebrate my birthday and as a fitting end to our two-week Europe Road Trip. The evening starts at 8 pm as the sun begins to set and when you arrive at the gardens the sight before you is incredible.
All the areas of the gardens are illuminated with lanterns and candles while a bubble machine takes you back to childhood as you watch the colourful orbs blowing in the evening breeze. The gardens are one of the biggest in the world at almost 2000 hectares with the show focused around the manicured lawns and meandering walkways that are open to the public.
The Chateau of Versailles
The chateau is also illuminated after dark and stands majestically surveying this enchanting event. If you are planning on visiting on a Saturday, then you could buy a skip-the-line tour ticket for entry to the chateau until closing time and then use your separate Night Fountain and Firework ticket for admission to the show. Other options for entry are detailed below.
The Grand Perspective
This panoramic view from the chateau over the manicured lawns and down to the Grand Canal is possibly the most photographed part of the Versaille garden. When we visited, the hues of the setting sun and the bubbles floating around the sky gave an almost ethereal feel to the landscape.
The Orangery is the location of hundreds of tiny lanterns all strategically placed to make the area look even more surreal than usual, and as dusk falls, the twinkling lights illuminate every inch of it.
The Fountain Latona
This fountain lies between the chateau and the Grand Canal with the statue of Latona, the Roman goddess of motherhood and modesty, on the top tier. We loved all the bubbles floating around, which made the fountain look even more magical.
Baroque-style music plays as you wander the walkways almost expecting to turn a corner and bump into the “Sun King” himself. The Roman Collonade is a hidden area with a central fountain and a full circle of arches. Sit here for a while and absorb the atmosphere as the sun retires for the evening, and the individual fountains are illuminated with tiny lights.
The Grand Canal and the Fireworks
The impressive mile-long canal stretches from the gardens to the edge of Versailles, and it is from here that the evening firework finale takes place. The fireworks are so remarkable that you will see them from anywhere in the gardens and I think this display was one of the best I have ever seen. Head to the central lawn, and before the fireworks are set off, you will be treated to an additional fire and music display.
I loved everything about the evening and would recommend it to anyone who wants an entirely different experience to the typical tours of Versailles. It is suitable for all age groups, and it was lovely to see both young and old enjoying such a historical palace in this way. It does get crowded so arrive slightly earlier than your ticket time to get to the front of the queue.
The fireworks are on at 10.45 pm, so you will have several hours to wander around the gardens before they start. Refreshment stalls are available around the gardens, but it is a good idea to bring your water and a snack as prices are high and the queues are long.
Please note: The Night Fountain Show is entirely different from other tickets that you can buy for the fountain shows during the day. Make sure you purchase the correct one before arriving.
Travel from Paris
Train: Take the one-hour RER train journey from Paris to Versailles Chateau Rive Gauche station, and from there it is a short walk away.
Taxi: Private transfers from Paris can be arranged with your hotel.
Car: We were finishing our road trip around Europe and so had our car with us. From Paris, it is a 16-mile journey, and car parking is available at Versailles or your local hotel.
Where to stay
We chose to stay at the Waldorf Astoria Versailles because it was a walkable distance to the Palace of Versailles. As the Night Fountains Show finishes at 11 pm, we wanted to be able to stay local, so we could quickly get back to our hotel without needing transport.