Each year, take advantage of the coolness of the fountains with their jets of water and basins on the second and last Saturdays of each month from May to September!
The shows featuring the dancing waters of the fountains have come to an end for 2019 so that maintenance on the hydraulic systems can be carried out over the winter; we’ll see you in May 2020 for this season’s shows!
A bit of history…
The hydraulic system of the estate was put in place when the gardens were created between 1641 and 1661. Almost entirely destroyed in the 18th century, the basins and fountains began to be restored by Alfred Sommier in 1875. Today, the hydraulic system functions in the same way it was designed in the 17th century: by gravitational pull. The water from underground springs is channeled into an extended network of aqueducts, then stocked in reservoirs situated at “high points.” When the valves are opened, water is forced out by the effect of gravity. Turning the fountains on necessitates 45 minutes of work by the fountain-tender, who must successively open each of the valves feeding the fountains.
Out of the 36 designed by Le Nôtre at the request of Nicolas Fouquet, 20 basins still exist today.
Did you know? The carp present in the moats, basins and canals are useful! Indeed, carp are herbivores and eat the surface algae, thus filtering the water so that it remains sufficiently transparent!
Did you know? Israël Silvestre, famous 17th century drafter and engraver, is the author of numerous engravings presenting the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte and its gardens, during their construction: