Stephanie Bower

Stephanie Bower | Architectural Illustration: | Sketching Workshops: | Sketches: & | Urban Sketchers Blog Correspondent | Signature member of the Northwest Watercolor Society

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Versailles, the fountains come alive!

I'm now at and a few thousand others from all corners of the world, each holding an umbrella.   Even more vast than Vaux, it literally takes days to see it.  I am here for four days, staying in the small and cozy Hôtel de France which is virtually across the street from the château entrance.  Any closer, and I'd be sleeping IN Versailles.  Perfect!

The building is immense and the gardens even more immense.  The scale is mind-boggling, but what has really surprised me is how modern the gardens are...tall, clipped hedges form huge green walls, and everywhere there is a slight change in the slope of the ground.  The grading is sublime and sophisticated...barely noticeable slopes up or down to fountains, into maze-like groves where Louis XIV's courtiers did who knows what, up and around the parterres so you can get a better view of the embroidery-like shaped shrubs, paths leading you from one place to the next with focal points and strong perspective.  What a place for me to be!

All of a sudden, the fountains came alive yesterday afternoon--unexpectedly, as it wasn't the regularly scheduled day.  It had been pouring rain earlier, but all of a sudden the sun popped out...I think the fountain gods decided to celebrate and coerced someone to flip the switch.  The spouting fountains absolutely transformed the place--suddenly there was movement, the sound of water, and the sparkle of light.

I literally ran from fountain to fountain trying to snap photos of as many as I could reach or find, as many are hidden. Exhausted, I collapsed near one of my favorites, le Bassin de la Pyramide.  I love how the water froths and turns white, it literally looks like a wedding cake with white, moving frosting. I had to attempt a sketch...

Versailles, Bassin de la Pyramide. May 29


  1. I love this sketch! Your experiences sound just wonderful!

  2. My prayers go out to the Fountain Gods.