Fontainebleau is known worlwide among the rock climbers for its extensive facilities when it comes to rock climbing.
The sandstone boulders offer a vast range of difficulty, from very easy (for beginners or mountainering training) to nearly impossible (even for world level competitors).
On the same site, you generally see - side by side - sunday climbers and big names of this sport.
The rocks are 'grouped' in circuits, carefully marked (by circuit and by difficulty level ; from white : children to black : monstruous (the "standard" hierarchy being (white, yellow, orange, blue, red, black (or sometimes white)) but some sites use a specific color code) and brushed by volunteers.
This site has the largest number of 'maps' and descriptions. To climb in Fontainebleau, you need your climbing shoes (ballerina type or very supple are the best) , a towel, a small piece of carpet (to clean your soles and keep them free of sand) and 'POF' (dryed pine sap) - for the high level, the crash pad is mandatory.
A climbing pal is recommended.
For some higher sites : dame Jeanne, Cul de chien, etc... a lenght of rope (some 15 meters) is a good idea.
The Royal Private Entries Are at the South
We entered the Palace grounds at the North (the White Horse Courtyard) with the monumental staircase before us and the ticket office far in at the right. These stairs were only used for ceremonies and special arrivals. The working entrance is on the opposite side (South) which is seen after the tour is completed. The earliest entrance was through the oval courtyard (see other Tips), but Francis made a more imposing entrance on the outer side nearby in his first rebuilding in 1528 called the Porte Doree. It has a salamander in the tympanum. Catherine de Medicis built a wing next to this to the West with an Italianate double ramp entering from the Cour de la Fontaine; a balustrade separates this Cour from the Carp Pond and at its edge is a fountain and a statue now of Ulysses (1815) but previously of Hercules by Michelangelo. The arcade at the depth of the Cour is below the Galerie Francis I and it fronted the King's bathing suite.
Moscow - Fontainebleau
The French name of these places "Fontaine-Belle-Eau" (a wonderful source) in due course has turned in Fontainebleau. According another version during royal hunting a dog on nickname Bleau found a source which was named in its honour. Lui VII built there a hunting lodge in 1137 because of the presence there a pure potable water.
In 1169 Thomas Bekket - the archbishop Centerbery arrived there to consecrate a chapel. Phillip II celebrated returning from the Third Crusade in Fontenblo. In 1717 Peter the Great stayed in a palace.
The significant part of the palace in its present veiw was constructed by Le Breton, Serlio and Delorme at Francisk I. Medieval constructions were demolished. Two groups of buildings connected by the gallery appeared at this time.A lot of gifted artists under direction of Italian masters Rosso and Primaticho decorated the palace in antique style. They stood at sources of so-called the First Fontainebleau school. The Gallery of Francisk I, a ballroom, a bedroom of duchess are kept till now. At Henry II the furnishing of a ballroom was finished. It remains the one of miracles of the palace till now. Henry IV considerably expanded the palace. He invited Flemish artists who finished furniture of a royal cabinet, a gallery of deers and established the Second Fontainebleau school.
The destiny has disposed so that exactly in Fontainebleau in April 1814 Napoleon signed the renunciation of a throne and said goodbye to guards in the Court yard of the White horse (the court yard since then carries one more name - the court yard of Farewell).
A climber's paradise.....with a cultural twist
This region in the Fontainebleau forest just south of Paris, France is a well known destination in climbers' circles because of the many ranges and difficulties that one can attempt to conquer there. However the culturally inclined traveller will enjoy the nearby city of Fontainebleau itself , which is the location of a magnificent castle. In the town Milly La Forêt, near to the camp ground, a 525 year old "Halle" can be seen.
A Tour of the Palace Interior (pt 1)
This travelog will try to follow our guided tour through Fontainbleau Palace. After being admitted at the ground level, we climbed two flights of wrought-iron stairs to the first floor. Initially everything in the palace was on this level. The first rooms we entered were called the anechamber and Gallery of Celebration; they are in a redone area much used by Napoleon III who placed theremany paintings that depict the history and activities of the palace. Although not of much interest, there was a 19C prize winning stained glass window that he bought and admired
"The Gallery of Plates"
Nap. III was into all luxuries. This room is worth some study in opulence. He had hand painted (unique and never used) Sevres porcelain plates made depicting historical events. They strect the entire length of the gallery.(We apologize for the darkness of the pictures. It was a dark and rainy day and the light was what they used normally in the 19C.
"The Porcelain Showpiece"
More money was spent on a giant porcelain wedding chest (appropriately housed in a protective cabinet. It was in the same room.
This is the entrance to the Francois I Gallery and the balcony of the Trinity Chapel. It is above the Horshoe Staircase seen outside and is decorated "modestly", hinting of what is ahead.
"The Balcony of the Trinity Chapel"
This is where the royalty could sit undisturbed during their devotions lookind down at their subjects. As we passed (it is seen again below,later) we looked at the ceiling done for Henri IV by Freminet.
"The Francois I Gallery"
This is the main sight of the palace (and is covered as a Things to Do Tip with even more pictures).
"There is Much to See"
This is an example of Rosso's work. Does it not look like he saw Raphael's "Fire in the Borgo" at the Vatican finished about 10 years earlier? It must have been in his sketch book as he probably helped Michelangelo there.
Before we go on we should admire the insignias and the figures that symbolize Francois such as the Ferocious Salamander.One must remember that at that time they knew nothing of dinosaurs , a little about crocodiles, and nothing about other memebers of that family. But they had a vivid imagination (and a collective subconscious memeory?)