Grand Canal, Versailles

Grand Canal, Versailles (must see)

If you are very rich or very powerful, you can obtain almost anything; Louis 14th, who was both, had no trouble indulging his every whim when it came to beautifying Versailles and one of his whims was the Grand Canal.

This artificial lake was laid out by André le Notre between 1668 and 1679. It is 1670 metres long and 62 metres wide, running in an east to west direction. It wasn’t only for the king’s pleasure, because it served a practical role too. As it lies on land lower than most of the garden’s fountains, water drains from them into the lake.

This extra water was pumped by windmills and horse powered pumps to a reservoir situated on the roof of the Grotte de Thétys and from there it fed the fountains of the gardens below the grotto.

Water was a very precious commodity at Versailles, seeing that it was situated 10 kilometres from and 150 metres above the River Seine. It was brought from the river to the Louveciennes Aqueduct by the “Machine de Marly” - a system of 14 huge water-wheels that operated 177 pumps. It was planned by Rennequin Sualem and built by Arnold de Ville.

The canal was used for nautical displays and boats were sailed on it. The Republic of Venice gave the king two gondolas and four gondoliers, who were housed in lodgings called “Petit Venice”. The king’s “boatyard” also consisted of several long-boats, a galley, a three-master, a brigantine and two yachts.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Versailles. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Grand Canal on Map

Sight Name: Grand Canal
Sight Location: Versailles, France (See walking tours in Versailles)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Versailles, France

Create Your Own Walk in Versailles

Create Your Own Walk in Versailles

Creating your own self-guided walk in Versailles is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Versailles Introduction Walking Tour

Versailles Introduction Walking Tour

Situated on the southwest outskirts of Paris, Versailles is a small city famed for housing the opulent residence of French royalty, the Palace of Versailles. The latter is, by far, Versailles' main attraction, complete with its Hall of Mirrors, Grand Apartments and the Royal Chapel, as well as the spacious formal gardens adorned with fountains and sculptures. Another major attraction is the...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.8 Km or 2.4 Miles
Versailles Garden Fountains Tour

Versailles Garden Fountains Tour

Besides its many wonderful plants and trees landscaped into amazing patterns, the gardens at the Royal Palace of Versailles have another key ingredient: water. The marvelous fountains and other fantastic water features here only serve to underline the magnificent beauty of the whole complex. Take our tour to see the best water features in the royal gardens.

Tour Duration: 4 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 10.1 Km or 6.3 Miles