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Amazing Chateaus

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Fontainebleau

 

The formal entrance to Fotainbleu is majestic, but not where you pay to enter.

Fontainebleau is an extraordinary chateau, although less impressive than Versailles. Conversely, it is more impressive than Chantilly, another of our choices for daytrips from Paris.
Fontainebleau is a worthwhile visit that will take at least half a day.

The Palace of Fontainebleau originated as a hunting lodge. It is located 60 miles to the southeast of Paris, about an hour away by train, in what was once approximately 65 square miles of  heavily forested area that provided abundant hunting for the royals.

As a consequence of its popularity for the hunt, a  series of royal residents kept adding on to the original buildings and transformed the palace in to a collection of unique architectures that work together with the charm of a crazy quilt.

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 residences.

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 of Fontainebleau.  We suggest that you take a formal tour or buy one of the inexpensive, illustrated guidebooks available at the gift shop as a substitute.

         Fontainebleau is a large complex of interesting architecture.

      

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.

Fontainebleau's rooflines are sometimes as interesting as the buildingsThe 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 carp is the Etang are of enormous size - and the view is quite pleasant as well.


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 Palace entrance.

Visit the website for the Town of Fontainebleau  for more information on visiting the Chateau.

Vaux le Vicomte

      The Chateau Vaux le Vicompte is a masterpiece that served as a model for the devlopment of Versailles.

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.

 

Next - explore our menu on the right  to find other types of sightseeing in Paris.

Or - If you want to find out about a specific attraction and know its name, look for it in our Index of the Best Places To Visit in Paris.

If you need information about another travel destination, try our Destination Guide Index  or Googling ThereArePlaces.

 
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Barbizon and Fontainebleau and Vaux le Vicomte Chateaux Day Trip by Minivan

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Paris

Notre Dame
Eiffel Tower
Champs Elysées
The Louvre
The Latin Quarter
Invalides
The Marais
Montmartre
Père Lachaise

Daytrips
Versailles
Fontainebleau
Giverny
Chantilly
Farther Afield

Paris Travel Tips

Index of Places To Visit in Paris

Best Places to Visit in France

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
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