A number of hunting lodges were built before here before the present palace
reached its peak during the Renaissance. Favored by many French
Kings, including Louis XIV, Fontainebleau's courtyards, wings, lakes and
gardens combine to present one of the most appealing palaces in
France. During the French Revolution the Palace was both looted and damaged
by crowds of rioters. In 1804 Napoleon came to its rescue and
rehabilitated the property, which eventually became one of his favored
The entranceway to the Palace leads through the White Horse Courtyard,
directly to a very impressive curved staircase. When you reach the center of
the courtyard you will be tempted to continue to the staircase but you need
to turn and enter the wing on your right to purchase tickets for your tour
We suggest that you take a formal tour or buy one of the inexpensive,
illustrated guidebooks available at the gift shop as a substitute.
The Palace of Fontainebleau is large and dignified, Although not quite
as opulent or interesting as Versailles, it offers a fabulous series of
Grand or State Apartments and its famed Renaissance Rooms, as well as
Napoleon's Imperial Apartments and the Napoleon Museum.
The lush landscape, buildings
and gardens of Fontainebleau interact to provide an enchanting environment.
We recommend that you tour the grounds in order to appreciate the
immensity and gorgeous setting of the Palace.
The use of water (in the forms of
fountains and lakes) is impressive and magnificent. Be sure to explore
Le Pavilion de l'Empereur surrounded by the four acre L'Étang des Carpes.
The Etang contains an amazing number of carp, many of enormous size and
is a peaceful place for a relaxing walk.
The town of Fontainebleau ( surrounding the former royal residence) is a
good place to have a bite to eat before starting your tour, as the
grounds of the Palace are enormous and require some time to properly
view. The area immediately adjacent to the Palace features efficient
restaurants staffed by friendly help. Parking is available on the
neighboring streets (buy ticket from meters that dispense them and place
the stub on your dashboard) or park in the underground garage near the
Visit the website for the Town of
Fontainebleau for more information on visiting the Chateau.
This gorgeous palace, regarded by many as the most beautiful
chateau in France, was developed by Nicholas Fouquet. Fouquet
hired the best architect, designer and landscape gardener of the time to
create his extravagant country estate. Later all three were
to work on the Chateau Versailles and their contributions helped shape
Louis XIV's famous country estate.
Unfortunately, Fouquet created an estate better than any owned by
Louis XIV at the time and invited the Sun King to the grand opening of Vaux le Vicomte.
The king was privately enraged at being one-upped and arranged to frame
Fouquet and, then, imprison him for life on a trumped-up charge based on
a crime that Fouquet did not commit.
Although the Chateau suffered several indignities after Fouquet's
fall, it was restored to its previous grandeur in the early 20th
century by its owners. If you visit, be sure to see the dome, the apartments and private rooms, as well
as the kitchen and cellars. The formal garden is wonderful and
should not be missed.
See the official website of the
Chateau for more details on visiting.