If you plan to visit France this year and expect to stop by at Versailles while you are here, I would highly recommend you crossing the street from the palace and stepping into the .... stables. They are inhabited by a horseman who is a magician, a true artist.
Bartabas stands alone, proud, aloof, enigmatic, he seems to communicate more easily with horses than with men, but the shows he put together have enchanted audiences for years as they marvel at the horsemanship and the art.
He also produces shows in the north of Paris, under the name Zingaro, at his own 'circus' ground, but for nearly 10 years he has settled into the stables at Versailles, and the result is magical.
Many proficient riders would like to be part of his team, but the selection process is ruthless, and the working conditions are unusual. When the new riding teams are formed they find themselves riding for hours, but also taking lessons in fencing (to improve their reactivity); drawing (to help them understand the muscles of their horses) and singing (to improve their self confidence)!
Great attention is paid to aesthetics in Bartabas' productions. The textiles and the colours of the costumes are stunning, and of course the horses themselves breathtaking. They perform to music, with or without riders, against a backdrop^of the high ceilings and creamy coloured stones of the old palace buildings.
You can find details of the shows here, bear in mind that if you can't get into an evening performance, the morning rehearsal sessions are wonderful too.