Fontainebleau Paris

Things to Do at Fontainebleau

Fontainebleau is a small town located 55 kilometers southeast of Paris and is famous for its magnificent royal palace, the Château de Fontainebleau. The chateau served as a royal residence for eight centuries and is considered one of the most impressive architectural achievements of French history. The palace was also home to the French monarchs, including Napoleon Bonaparte, and was even the birthplace of the future king of France, Louis XIII.

The chateau's architecture is a blend of medieval, Renaissance, and classical styles, and the palace is surrounded by a large park and forest. Visitors can explore the chateau's many rooms and galleries, including the Galerie François Ier, the Salle de Bal, and the Chapelle de la Trinité. The palace's interior is adorned with impressive artwork, including tapestries, frescoes, and paintings by renowned artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael. The chateau is also home to a vast collection of antique furniture, sculptures, and decorative objects from various periods in French history. The palace's gardens and park are also worth exploring, with its numerous fountains, ponds, and statues, providing visitors with a serene and picturesque environment.

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Explore the Château de Fontainebleau

The palace is a remarkable piece of architecture, and visitors can explore its numerous rooms and galleries, including the Galerie François Ier, the Salle de Bal, and the Chapelle de la Trinité. The palace is adorned with impressive artwork, including tapestries, frescoes, and paintings by renowned artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael.

Stroll through the Gardens and Park

The palace's gardens and park are worth exploring, with its numerous fountains, ponds, and statues providing visitors with a serene and picturesque environment. The park covers over 130 acres of land, making it an ideal spot for picnicking, cycling, and hiking.

Visit the Musée Napoléonien d'Art et d'Histoire Militaire

This museum is dedicated to the Napoleonic era and houses a vast collection of artifacts and memorabilia from the time. Visitors can see Napoleon's personal effects, including his clothing, weapons, and personal items.

Visit the Église Saint-Louis

The church is located adjacent to the palace and was built in the early 18th century. Its impressive architecture, artwork, and stained glass windows make it a popular spot for tourists and history enthusiasts.

Explore the Forest of Fontainebleau

The forest spans over 100 square miles and is an ideal spot for outdoor activities like hiking, cycling, and rock climbing. The forest's unique terrain offers climbers of all levels a challenge, making it a popular spot for rock climbers.

Attend a Concert at the Théâtre Municipal

The theater is located in the heart of Fontainebleau and hosts a variety of performances, including classical music, theater, and dance.

History of Fontainebleau

  • The earliest records of the Fontainebleau date back to the 12th century when it was a hunting lodge for the French kings.
  • In the 16th century, King Francis I ordered the construction of the Château de Fontainebleau, transforming the hunting lodge into a luxurious palace.
  • During the Renaissance period, Fontainebleau was a hub of artistic activity, attracting renowned artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael to work on the palace's decorations.
  • Fontainebleau served as a residence for several French monarchs, including Henry II, Louis XIII, and Napoleon Bonaparte.
  • In the 19th century, the palace was renovated and restored under the direction of architects Hippolyte Durand and Eugène Viollet-le-Duc.
  • During World War II, Fontainebleau served as the headquarters of the Allied Forces in Europe, and the palace's Grand Parterre was used as a landing strip for military aircraft.
  • In 1981, the palace was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, recognizing its importance as a cultural and historical landmark.
  • Today, Fontainebleau continues to attract visitors from all over the world, who come to marvel at its stunning architecture, explore its rich history, and enjoy its beautiful gardens and parks.

Best Time to Visit Fontainebleau

  • The best time to visit Fontainebleau in Paris is during the spring and autumn seasons, from April to June and September to November, respectively.
  • During these months, the weather is mild and comfortable, with fewer crowds compared to the peak summer months.
  • The spring season is particularly beautiful, as the palace gardens and parks are in full bloom with colorful flowers and blossoms.
  • Summer, from July to August, is the busiest time of the year in Fontainebleau, with large crowds and higher prices. However, it's also the best time to explore the palace's outdoor areas, as the weather is warm and sunny.

Tips to Visit Fontainebleau

  • Plan ahead and buy your tickets in advance online to avoid waiting in long lines at the palace's entrance.
  • Wear comfortable shoes, as there is a lot of walking involved when exploring the palace and its gardens.
  • Consider hiring a tour guide or audio guide to learn more about the palace's history and its notable features.
  • Take a break and relax in the palace's gardens, which offer a tranquil escape from the crowds and are free to enter.
  • Bring a camera or smartphone to capture photos of the palace's stunning architecture and gardens.
  • Respect the palace's rules and regulations, such as not touching any of the artwork or objects on display, and refraining from smoking or eating inside the palace.

FAQ’s for Fontainebleau

Why is Fontainebleau so famous?

Fontainebleau is famous for its stunning Château de Fontainebleau, which was once a residence of the French monarchs. It is renowned for its rich history, exquisite architecture, and beautiful gardens. The château served as a favorite hunting lodge for the French kings and was the site of numerous historical events, including the signing of the famous Treaty of Fontainebleau in 1814. Today, it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in France, attracting millions of visitors every year.

How long does it take to visit Fontainebleau?

It typically takes around 2-3 hours to visit the palace and its gardens, although you can easily spend longer exploring the many rooms and attractions.

Are there any nearby attractions to visit in Fontainebleau?

Yes, the town of Fontainebleau is surrounded by beautiful forests and several other historical attractions, such as the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte and the Barbizon Village of Artists.

Can I buy souvenirs at Fontainebleau?

Yes, there are several gift shops located both inside and outside the palace, selling a variety of souvenirs, books, and other items related to Fontainebleau's history and culture.

Are there any restaurants or cafes at Fontainebleau?

  • Le Bowling de Fontainebleau: A family-friendly restaurant that serves pizzas, burgers, and other casual fare.
  • Le Jardin d'Hiver: A charming tea room that offers light snacks, pastries, and hot beverages.
  • La Table du Parc: A gourmet restaurant located within the château that offers refined French cuisine.
  • Les Terrasses de l’Aigle: A casual outdoor restaurant that offers stunning views of the château and serves pizzas, sandwiches, and salads.
  • La Halle au Blé: A traditional French brasserie located in the town center that serves classic French dishes like steak frites and escargots.


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