Every summer the Chateau de Versailles invites a contemporary artist to create an artistic installation within its grounds. After Jeff Koons in 2008, Xavier Veilhan in 2009, Takashi Murakami in 2010, Bernar Venet in 2011, Joana Vasconcelos in 2012, Giuseppe Penone in 2013, Lee Ufan in 2014 and Anish Kapoor in 2015, Danish contemporary artist Olafur Eliasson has ben given free rein from June 7th to October 30th, 2016. Eliasson is known for his large-scale installations that explore light, perception and environmental issues.
The artist has taken over the gardens, transforming the waterways with three misty installations: "Waterfall", "Glacial rock flour garden" and "Fog Assembly" and has also made several architectural interventions indoors.
"The Versailles that I have been dreaming up is a place that empowers everyone. It invites visitors to take control of the authorship of their experience instead of simply consuming and being dazzled by the grandeur. It asks them to exercise their senses, to embrace the unexpected, to drift through the gardens, and to feel the landscape take shape through their movement."
Note that the installations outside don’t run all day. The waterfall is only switched on from 11am-12.30pm and 3pm-6.30pm.
If you decide that the lines to go into the castle are too long, you can still go and enjoy the gardens. The lines there usually move fairly quickly. There are several restaurants next to the Grand Canal, as well as golf cart rentals, bike rentals, and Segway rentals in the gardens. Note that during the summer, you have to pay to access the gardens due to the musical fountain show on Saturdays and Sundays. Also on certain Tuesdays and Fridays, you can enjoy the musical Gardens, the groves and other preserved areas of the gardens are accessible for a musical promenade for a €9 entrance fee.
Chateau de Versailles
Olafur Eliasson June 7th to October 30th
Open from Tuesdays to Sundays from 9am to 6:30pm