Watch iconic golden horses ‘fly’ over water at Olympic venue

  • The Palace of Versailles – home to the equestrian disciplines at this year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games – has shared incredible footage of golden horses “flying” over its stunning grounds.

    Apollo’s Fountain has undergone significant restoration and it has been a major job to carefully relocate the 13 lead statues, weighing a combined 30 tonnes, to its home at the centre of the Grande Perspective.

    A remarkable video shared by the palace (see YouTube link, below) shows the now gleaming horses arriving on lorries and “flying” over the grounds as they are lifted back into place with the help of a crane.

    The fountain, which was completed by Jean-Baptiste Tuby between 1668 and 1670 during the reign of Louis XIV, represents the rising sun. The four horses, along with Apollo, Cupid and the dolphins, have been painstakingly restored and re-gilded with gold leaf.

    The next stage will be to create new nozzles, to restore the original water feature. The restoration has been possible owing to the patronage of the CMA CGM Group.

    “The fountain will be re-launched from 29 March 2024 for the musical fountains show,” said a statement from the palace.

    “This spectacular restoration will bring back this iconic fountain’s harmony and visual clarity and reinstate the splendour of the Grande Perspective, designed by Louis XIII and Louis XIV.”

    Versailles has strong historical equestrian links, both through day-to-day palace life in years gone by, and through art and sculpture.

    Apollo and his finely tuned golden horses are a perfect reflection of the gold hopes and shining medals to be won at the palace later this year…

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