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robcar603 wrote a review Dec 2014
Nashua, New Hampshire112 contributions76 helpful votes
Ever wonder where the water for the water of the ponds and fountains of Versailles came from? Right out of the Sein river at Bougival, France. A French engineering marvel, completed in 1684. King Louis XIV needed a large water supply for his fountains at Versailles. Notable features were the water recovery and pump system that moved water part way up the hill to a re-pumping station that moved the water to a third station at the top of the hill and into the beginning of the aqueduct system on its way to Versailles. Little remains of the 1600's wood contrivance and the massive pipe system. Still in place are the replacement modern pumps and piping. The location on the Seine is a good starting point with a steep ascent up the hill to the multiple pumping levels. Noticable along the climb are the facilities used to design and fabricate the water works. As you approach the massive aqueduct tower at the top of the hill, detour to see the places that Renoir and Kurt Weill rented in Louveciennes. Also take in the Pavillion de Music de la Comptess duBarry, noted "shady lady" in the French royal court and "consort" of Louis the Sun King. Don't despair before you reach the aqueduct, it is truly impressive. Check the names/dates etched into the stone. Also check out the cemetery by the aqueduct. As you follow the water to Versailles take time to visit the The Château de Marly, a relatively small French royal residence located in what has become Marly-le-Roi, the commune that existed at the edge of the royal park. The town that originally grew up to service the château is now a dormitory community for Paris. At the Château of Marly, Louis XIV of France escaped from the formal rigors he was constructing at Versailles. Small rooms meant less company, and simplified protocol; courtiers, who fought among themselves for invitations to Marly, were housed in a revolutionary design of twelve pavilions built in matching pairs flanking the central sheets of water, which were fed one from the other by prim formalized cascades (illustration, right). The château is no more, nor the hydraulic "machine" that pumped water for Versailles. Only the foundation of Jules Hardouin-Mansart's small château, the pavillon du Roi remains at the top of the slope in Marly park.
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Date of experience: November 2014
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