As you exit onto the back terrace of the Palace of Versailles, the breathtaking view of the royal gardens is dominated by the Grand Canal, which leads your eye to the farthest perimeter of the grounds. But although it is a spectacular feature of the park, it was designed and is used today as a practical feature of the gardens.

Constructed over the course of a decade in the late 17th century under the reign of Louis the XIV, its original name – Little Venice – came from the canal's inaugural gifts from the Doge of Venice: a full set of gondolas, complete with Venetian gondoliers. Also moored there were various ships and yachts built to the scale of the canal and used in elaborate water shows and recreations of famous battles. But the canal is also the main feature of the irrigation systems for the gardens, used to drain off water from the higher elevations and pumped back uphill to re-water them – a genius move for its time.

Today the Grand Canal is not only the jewel of the gardens of Versailles, but thanks to row boats for rent, it also provides a unique view of the palace as it has been viewed for centuries. And watching the summertime fountain shows and fireworks reflected in the Grand Canal is a memory that lasts a lifetime!

Tours & Tickets

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Versailles by Bike Day Tour

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 1181 Reviews

Take a tour of Versailles with a difference - by bicycle! It's the only way to see Versailles' expansive gardens plus you'll get to see highlights of ...  Read more

Location: Paris, France
Duration: 9 hours (approx.)

From USD $110.09

Viator VIP: Palace of Versailles Small-Group Tour with Private Viewing of the Royal Quarters

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 260 Reviews

See the Palace of Versailles (Château de Versailles) as French kings once did – with this small-group tour that includes a once-in-a-lifetime private ...  Read more

Location: Paris, France
Duration: 7 hours (approx.)

From USD $317.32

Best of Versailles Day Trip from Paris: Skip-the-Line Palace of Versailles Tour, Grand Canal Lunch and the Grand Trianon

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 125 Reviews

See the highlights of Versailles in one day on this comprehensive trip from Paris. After traveling to the town by luxury minibus, skip past the entrance lines ...  Read more

Location: Paris, France
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

From USD $243.50

Versailles Night Fountain Show and Fireworks from Paris

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 10 Reviews

Feast your senses during a wonderful evening at the spectacular night fountain show and fireworks display in the Versailles Gardens (Jardins de Versailles). On ...  Read more

Location: Paris, France
Duration: Varies

From USD $115.27

Versailles Walking Tour with Optional Fountain Show

4.5 star rating: Recommended 123 Reviews

The chateau and gardens of Versailles are absolute must-sees beyond Paris. You have the option of attending the famous Fountain Show during the summer months. ...  Read more

Location: Paris, France
Duration: 9 hours (approx.)

From USD $174.85

Private Tour: Best of Versailles Day Trip from Paris Including Skip-the-Line Palace of Versailles Tour and Grand Canal Lunch

4.5 star rating: Recommended 3 Reviews

Experience the best of Versailles on this full-day private tour from Paris. After traveling to the must-visit town by luxury minivan, head straight past the ...  Read more

Location: Paris, France
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

From USD $284.94

Versailles Gardens Ticket: Summer Musical Fountains Show

4 star rating: Recommended 14 Reviews

Spend your day at the enchanting Gardens of Versailles and enjoy the must-see Versailles fountain shows. Noted in the UNESCO World Heritage list, these ...  Read more

Location: Versailles, France
Duration:

Varies

From USD $11.66

2-Day Versailles Tour with Fountain Show

Experience the best of Versailles on an overnight tour that includes accommodation, guided tours of the Palace of Versailles (Chateau de Versailles) and ...  Read more

Location: Versailles, France
Duration: 2 days (approx.)

From USD $271.99

Versailles Gardens Ticket: Summer Musical Gardens

Spend a day in the Versailles Gardens (Jardins de Versailles) and discover its 13 groves while you listen to the accompanying sounds of classical music. This ...  Read more

Location: Versailles, France
Duration: Varies

From USD $10.36

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