Fontainebleau Favorites

  • Book by Françoise Chandernagor
    Book by Françoise Chandernagor
    by Nemorino
  • the Throne room and me and son
    the Throne room and me and son
    by gwened
  • at the entrance me and son
    at the entrance me and son
    by gwened

Best Rated Favorites in Fontainebleau

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo

    The Forest of Fontainebleau, 1559

    by Nemorino Updated Jan 30, 2015

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing:

    My favorite thing about Fontainebleau is the music it inspires at the beginning of the five-act versions of the opera Don Carlos (in French) or Don Carlo (in Italian), by Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901).

    The Spanish prince Don Carlos, alone in the twilight in the wintery forest, sings:

    Fontainebleau! Immense, lonely forest!
    Could any gorgeous gardens, full of flowers and light,
    replace this frozen earth for Don Carlos, happy here
    where his smiling Elisabeth has passed by?
    Leaving Spain and my father’s court,
    risking Philip’s fearsome anger,
    hidden among his ambassador’s staff,
    I have managed to see her at last, my lovely betrothed,
    who has for so long ruled in my thoughts,
    and from now on will rule in my heart!

    (There are several different recordings of this on YouTube, for instance as sung by Placido Domingo in French or in Italian.)

    Elisabeth of Valois is the daughter of the French king. Don Carlos is the son of the Spanish king. In the opera they both have been given to understand that they will be married to each other, whether they like it or not, as a way of sealing the peace treaty that is being negotiated between the two countries.

    When they meet in the forest of Fontainebleau in the winter of 1559 they immediately (and conveniently) fall in love with each other, but their happiness lasts only a few minutes. A cannon sounds to announce the signing of the peace treaty, but the rejoicing multitudes bring the news that Elisabeth is to marry the King of Spain, Philip II, and not his son Don Carlos.

    The two love-struck teenagers, Carlos and Elisabeth, are devastated by this news, since it means they will be living under the same roof at the Spanish Royal Palace, not as man and wife but as step-son and step-mother.

    Verdi’s opera Don Carlo(s) was derived from the play Don Karlos by the German playwright Friedrich Schiller – a play that was based very loosely on historical events. Elisabeth of Valois really did marry the King of Spain in 1559 (as described by Melanie Clegg on her lovely website), but the meeting and falling-in-love of the Spanish prince and the French princess in the Forest of Fontainebleau was just a product of Schiller’s imagination.

    My first four photos on this review do not show the Forest of Fontainebleau, just part of the gardens. I was on my way to the forest (which completely surrounds the town), but then some dark storm clouds started gathering over the palace, so I turned back and decided to save the forest for some other year.

    Fifth photo: The program booklet and introductory CD from the Grand Opera of Geneva, Switzerland.

    See also:
    • Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901) on my Busseto page.
    • Don Carlos on my Strasbourg intro page.
    • Don Carlo in the third chapter of my Wiesbaden intro page.


    Next: The Edict of Fontainebleau, 1685

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  • Nemorino's Profile Photo

    The Edict of Fontainebleau, 1685

    by Nemorino Updated Jan 31, 2015

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing:

    My least favorite thing about Fontainebleau is that this is where Louis XIV promulgated his infamous “Edict of Fontainebleau” on October 22, 1685, ordering relentless and brutal persecution of the Protestant minority in France.

    He prefaced this edict with a few kind words for his grandfather, Henri IV, “King Henry the Great, our grandfather of glorious memory”, but then proceeded to revoke his grandfather’s tolerant Edict of Nantes from 87 years earlier.

    In his Edict of Nantes, the ex-Huguenot Henri IV had granted the French Protestants (Huguenots) a degree of political and religious freedom, at least in the areas where they mainly lived, thus ending the internal wars of religion that had been going on for well over a century. Henri IV’s son, Louis XIII, confirmed this tolerant tendency in his Edict of Nimes in 1629. But in the first article of his Edict of Fontainebleau, Louis XIV wrote:

    “Be it known that for these causes and others us hereunto moving, and of our certain knowledge, full power, and royal authority, we have, by this present perpetual and irrevocable edict, suppressed and revoked, and do suppress and revoke, the edict of our said grandfather, given at Nantes in April, 1598, in its whole extent, together with the particular articles agreed upon in the month of May following, and the letters patent issued upon the same date; and also the edict given at Nimes in July, 1629; we declare them null and void, together with all concessions, of whatever nature they may be, made by them as well as by other edicts, declarations, and orders, in favor of the said persons of the R.P.R., the which shall remain in like manner as if they had never been granted ; and in consequence we desire, and it is our pleasure, that all the temples of those of the said R.P.R. situated in our kingdom, countries, territories, and the lordships under our crown, shall be demolished without delay.” (Quoted from the Internet Modern History Sourcebook)

    By “R.P.R.” he meant Religion prétendue réformée, the “so-called reformed religion”.

    Louis XIV signed the Edict of Fontainebleau in the office of his second wife, Françoise d’Aubigné, Marquise de Maintenon, in fact probably at her desk. This circumstance lent credence to the rumor that she was the one who had talked him into persecuting the Protestants – a rumor that is still repeated to this day, for instance on at least one Wikipedia page.

    But modern scholars who have studied the primary sources consider this to be a legend which has long since been disproved. Françoise Chandernagor writes (on page 821 of L’allée du Roi) that “in fact, no contemporary historian attributes to Madame de Maintenon the slightest role in this matter.” They tend to lay the blame on Louis XIV himself, who was enough of a religious bigot to persecute heretics on his own initiative, and on his confessor, François de la Chaise (for whom the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris was later named) and especially on his war minister the Marquis of Louvois.

    I recently came across a reference to this in an unlikely place, namely in a humorous book (fourth photo) by a modern French author named Hervé Le Tellier. In his book Les amnésiques n’ont rien vécu d’inoubliable (The amnesiacs haven’t experienced anything unforgettable), Le Tellier writes (on page 178), as an answer to his girlfriend’s question “What are you thinking?”:

    “I am thinking I have the same name as the bastard who revoked the Edict of Nantes, and whom people have fortunately forgotten, otherwise it would be like being called Hitler.”

    This is a reference to the war minister Louvois, whose full name was François Michel Le Tellier, Marquis de Louvois (1641–1691), in other words “Le Tellier” was his family name.

    My first three photos on this review are from the inside of the palace, but not from the room where the Edict of Fontainebleau was signed. These photos show the “small apartments” with furniture from the nineteenth century, since all the earlier furniture was removed and dispersed (or destroyed) during the French Revolution.

    By the way, Louis XIV was not the first French king to issue an “Edict of Fontainebleau” ordering persecution of the Huguenots. 145 years earlier, in the year 1540, the then-king François I issued his own “Edict of Fontainebleau” which described the Protestant religion as "high treason against God and mankind", to be punished by torture, loss of property, public humiliation and death.

    Directions: Aerial view and photo on monumentum.fr
    Website: http://www.museeprotestant.org/en/notice/the-edict-of-fontainebleau-or-the-revocation-1685/

    See also:
    • Le Lucernaire in Paris, which is where I bought the book by Hervé Le Tellier and also saw the play that was based on it.
    • The Royal Chapel on my Versailles page.
    • A new home for the Huguenots on my Friedrichsdorf page, about one of the many places where French Protestants settled after fleeing from France to escape religious persecution.
    • Françoise d’Aubigné, Marquise de Maintenon on my Maintenon page.


    Next: Visit the Château

    Book by Herv�� Le Tellier Book by Fran��oise Chandernagor
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  • gwened's Profile Photo

    Fontainebleau is special

    by gwened Written Sep 27, 2013

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    Favorite thing: When I came to know my girlfriend's parents, she took me here, so it was the first castle and place outside her town and Paris that I saw of France in 1990. Ever since, the castle has been associated with us, we support it, and volunteer plus participate in activities links to its upkeep.

    the town is royal and imperial at the same time, with much of the history of France and Europe at least.
    Surrounded by a royal and wonderful forest the town is compact as many in France, link by 7 roads linking it with the rest of France. By far the biggest structure is the castle more so than in other famous castle cities, in Fontainebleau the castle is it.

    From bd Magenta on the right of the castle facing it to the Rue Royale coming straight at it, to the rue Denécourt, all is gear towards getting here.

    Fondest memory: walking along rue Royale towards the castle and visiting during the hunting event in honor of the hunters saint St Hubert.

    back de la fontaine at lake Carpes to Pavillon inside the chapel of the trinite cour de la fontaine entrance to castle ceilings of galerie Fran��ois Ier
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  • gwened's Profile Photo

    Fontainebleau is awesome!

    by gwened Updated Dec 23, 2013

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    Favorite thing: This is a memorable castle for us. It was the first castle I visited ever in France as my wife is from the region. We are friends of the castle and participate in many volunteer events over the year. It is like home.

    the salle de la belle cheminée is private the photo was taken in one of my functions in the castle, the room is not open to the general public.

    Fondest memory: walking the gardens during the Fête de St Hubert

    side entrance at pl des armes the porte of glace behind the parterre gardens inside a private room salle de la belle chemin��e. the inner courtyard the main ticket office for admission
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  • gwened's Profile Photo

    Always Fontainebleau

    by gwened Written Jun 15, 2014

    Favorite thing: This is my nostalgic favorite, way back in 1990 was the first property visited with my then girlfriend , today wife. It is her region and she wanted to show me around, it was a great choice. Maybe the castle help falling in love ::)

    it has been a love affair ever since, we have volunteered to do work and supported it as friends of the castle. The scènes here are from my vault trying to show you my belle France,and Fontainebleau is on the top of the list. Its France at it 's best.

    The wonderful fountain of Diane Chasseresse on the old jardin de la Reine (queen's gardens) the statue was raise from the time of Henri IV, the current one is a replacement of that original of 1684 by the one in bronze today from 1814. It is on the city side of the castle from where you can enter without coming to the castle main entrance ; on the north there is a wall, bordered by the Galerie des Cerfs to the east, Petits Appartement on the South, and the chapelle de la Trinité and jeu de Paume on the west;

    The Chapelle de la Trinité is the old church of the monks of Mathurins place here by king Louis IX (Saint Louis) . It is attached it to the castle Under François Ier. Rebuilt under the reign of Henri II and gets is cupola dome Under Henri IV. Its exquisite decoration is of the Second Empire of the school of Fontainebleau that is the precursor of the baroque style.

    The Bibliothéque of the castle or Library is the ancestor of the national Library of France . it was rearranged in 1808, the decoration dates from 1786. At the origin it had 4 500 books about history, geography and the sciences.

    Avenue de Maintenon along the lake and coming from back in the gardens towards the castle, carriage horses in summer provide rides, but better walk it ,magnificent.

    And the magnificent entrance to the glorious Galerie François I. A master work of art of the Renaissance in France. The gallery of François I is from après 1528 a model for many générations of artists.The gallery is before the other famous one at the Louvre,galerie d’Apollon of 1661 and the galerie des Glaces at Versailles of 1678.

    Fondest memory: anything there is marvelous, Inside and out, the gardens to walk on are very romantic and the interior is impressive, see my other tips here.

    the gardens at the fountain of Diane the Hunter the chapelle de la Trinit�� the library and it's world globe with ceilings! the side entrance from forest towards castle entrance to galerie Fran��ois I
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  • gwened's Profile Photo

    Fontainebleau and me

    by gwened Written Jan 2, 2014

    Favorite thing: well this like i said elsewhere was the first castle I visited in France because its near the birthplace what later became my wife, and she took me here to show off, lol!

    its a sentimental favorite of course, and we are very much close to it, in many ways than just visiting it.
    Fontainebleau has its charms
    Château de Fontainebleau can be proud to have experienced eight centuries of continuous sovereign presence. Capetians, Valois, Bourbons, Bonaparte and Orleans, each Member of the dynasties who reigned on France succeeded in its walls. Kings and Queens, emperors and empresses are attached to beautify the Castle built around the original moat.

    Fondest memory: walk the castle and grounds

    on that first visit way back in 1990. the Throne room and me and son at the entrance me and son end of galerie des assiettes 1840 and boys on the day of St Hubert ,the hunters patron saint
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  • gwened's Profile Photo

    Fontainebleau is gardens

    by gwened Written Apr 24, 2014

    Favorite thing: awesome gardens in all, back and sides, great lawn or parterre behind, right in the city ,just gorgeous and found more pictures from my vault.

    The views from the back to the castle are stunning, and so well cut, you can sleep on them. In summers horse carriages gives you rides around them.

    enjoy it with the family

    Fondest memory: walking its gardens in the first castle visited ever in France as my wife is from nearby.

    lake past parterre towards back of Fontainebleau the parterre lawn and canals back back the parterre entrance from the gardens of Diane wait back in the gardens to castle
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  • Krystynn's Profile Photo

    The State Apartments

    by Krystynn Written Dec 21, 2003

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: That's me... resting on the manicured garden on the grounds of the Chateau de Fontainebleau. Hey, it can be a heavenly experience too! :-)

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