Fontainebleau Things to Do

  • end of parterre side left facing castle
    end of parterre side left facing castle
    by gwened
  • chapel of St Saturnin ceilings/dome
    chapel of St Saturnin ceilings/dome
    by gwened
  • chapel of of St Saturnin the upper dome
    chapel of of St Saturnin the upper dome
    by gwened

Most Recent Things to Do in Fontainebleau

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    Palace of Fontainebleau

    by grandmaR Written Jan 5, 2010

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    Palace in 1950
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    Starting from the 6th century this place was a hunting lodge for the king. Six centuries later the place was turned into a permanent castle.

    This was one of the places we visited in 1950. The way I can tell which of the palaces (Fontainebleau or Versailles) in my dad's pictures is the double stairway on the front of Fontainebleau and from the rooflines.

    Open daily except Tuesdays
    Closed on 1st January, 1st May and 25 December
    Open from 9.30 am to 5pm (6pm from June to September)
    Last admission 45 minutes before closure
    The State Apartments are accessible to disabled persons in wheelchairs; specific tours for blind persons or persons with impaired vision.

    GENERAL VISIT

    State Apartments (Renaissance rooms, State Apartments of the sovereigns and the Emperor’s Inner Apartment, the Chinese Museum). Audioguides can be made available for the visit. The Museum of Napoleon 1st and the small apartments are open on selected days, as a guided tour conducted by a Museum agent.

    PRICES

    - STATE APARTMENTS (Renaissance rooms, State Apartments of the sovereigns and the Inner Apartment of the Emperor):
    - Full price : € 6,50
    - Reduced price : € 4,50
    - Free for persons under 18 years of age

    - SMALL APARTMENTS, Museum of Napoleon 1st and circuit on the theme “Fontainebleau under the second Empire”:
    - Full price : € 3 (per circuit)
    - Reduced price : € 2 (per circuit)
    - Free for persons under 18 years of age

    By renting an audioguide for €4.60 from the Tourist Office for 1½ hours, you are free to go and explore the courtyards and gardens of the Chateau.

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    Caleche rides - try the olde horse and carriage

    by angiebabe Written Sep 27, 2007

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    As advertised these horse and carriage rides will take adults for 5 euro and children for 4 euro - makes an interesting and relaxing way to see the grounds of Fontainebleu - which are quite extensive - and imagine back to the days of when this was the transport of the day.

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    Boating on the carp pond

    by angiebabe Written Sep 27, 2007

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    This looks a bit like a tourist trap but I am sure for the romantic inclined or those with children this might be rather nice especially on a nice day.

    The views looking to the dramatic big buildings around Fontainebleu would probably look rather good from across the pond in a boat too I imagine.

    A little expensive though at 10 euro for half an hour.

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    Fontainebleau Palace

    by roamer61 Written Jun 5, 2007

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    The majestic Palace of Fontainebleau, is a stunning site. A Royal Palace from the 15th Century onwards, its architecture and its rooms present a potporri of styles, ranging from the Rennaissance to the 19th Century. A visit here is highly recommended.

    The most famous feature of the front of the palace is the grand horseshoe stairs, first built during the reign of Henry II. The present stairs date to the 17th Century.

    NOTE: After the Queens bedroom, my batteries dies and I had no others with me.

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    Before Leaving Visit the Garden of Diana

    by hquittner Written Feb 4, 2007

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    The Diana Fountain
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    When Napoleon I also became enamored of Fontainebleau, he used the North entrance and prepared ground level rooms behind the chapel for easy access and use. For security and importance he had the fine wrought iron fence built and emblazoned with his imperial "N" and placed two guilded iron eagles above. This sealed off his court of honor. (It is where he took his farewell after Waterloo). To the left a communicating walk leads to the Garden and Fountain of Diana. The Huntress statue (1603) as commissioned by Catherine de Medici has had its bronze dogs returned from the Louvre. The water show wasinstalled in 1803. There were many valuable statues scattered around but they have been moved indoors. (We did not have time for the Deer Gallery or the Museums).

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    The Royal Private Entries Are at the South

    by hquittner Written Feb 4, 2007

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    Tympanum with Gilded Salamander
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    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.

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  • hquittner's Profile Photo

    See the Oval Courtyard (The Original Entry)

    by hquittner Written Feb 4, 2007

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    Oval Courtyard with Donjon at Back
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    The oval courtyard was the area of everyday entry from the time of the original manor of the Fontaine de Bliaud in 1137 through the construction of the Porte Doree. The keep (donjon) is still at its depth. It was not open to us during our tour, so our pictures are not entire. The entrance in later years (1605) was graced by the Dauphin's Entrance (Baptismal Gate) which stands just off the two pillars topped by Hermes heads which overlooks the Cour des Offices. This area is surrounded by fine 1609 buildings that contain quarters and kitchens, a place to house the numerous non-noblilty that ran and protected the palace. The courtyard was also the parking-lot for those approved visitors on official business.

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  • hquittner's Profile Photo

    The Ballroom Was for Dancing

    by hquittner Written Feb 3, 2007

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    The Large Ballroom
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    The Ballroom was finished under Henri II. By this time Primaticcio had replaced Rosso and before it was finished in the early 1550’s, Niccolo dell’Abbate had replaced him. as the one in charge. In fact the painting is mostly his, following sketches by the former. The satyr andirons of the fireplace are replacements of the Primaticcio originals wich were melted during the Revolution. There was to have been a vaulted ceiling but this distinguished coffered walnut one was designed and installed instead! The room is 30m long and 10 wide. Henri II’s monogram is on the mantel and in other places. He would stand upon the apron before the fireplace , warming himself and regally watching the chilled guests dance. The musician's gallery is above the entry door.

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  • hquittner's Profile Photo

    Visit the Francois I Gallery

    by hquittner Updated Feb 3, 2007

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    Symbols of Power
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    This is the main attraction of the palace. The structure connects two of the several building masses that compose the palace. Like most of the area of interest it is on the main floor. It is primarily the work of Rosso Fiorentino and his assistants. His style united fresco painting and stucco sculpture. A followere of Michelangelo. this is Mannerism at its most vivid. Rosso died in 1540 and Francis brought in Primaticcio who completed it (1544). On entering one encounters a fresco of an elephant framed by carved stucco figures and more fresco panels at the sides. Along the bottom are carved bas reliefs in plaster that also supplement the story. All is allegory or symbols and the surrounds are obviously a part and commentary of the paintings. The subject in this one is definitely the durability and nobility of power residing in the monarch. At the far end of the Gallery is a bust of Francis I. Along the wooden panels below the paintings are the letter "F" for the man and an insignia of the ferocious salamander, his coat of arms. (I think they must have had some inkling of the dinosaur to come up with such a conceit).

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    See the Palace and Its First Entrances

    by hquittner Written Feb 3, 2007

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    The Palace from the Cour out Front
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    In his maturity, Francois I had LeBreton tear down and rebuild the hunting lodge at Fontainebleau, replacing it with a linked multi structured palace(1527-30). Connecting the two main units was a Gallery within which he affirmed his love of Renaissance Art as he had encountered it in Italy. His first attempt had been in bringing the aging Leonardo to live in Amboise, thwarted by Leonardo’s demise. Now with a Michelangelo disciple, he would try again. The Cour du Cheval Blanc, the large open area through which one enters leads to a horseshoe staircase (escalier du fer-a-cheval) (by du Cerveau, 1534) that leads to the first level of the 2-story building. Later in the tour when out back we will see the Golden Entrance (1528) which looks out on the Grand Parterre and Round Basin which contains a moss-covered statue of the Tiber and the stairs entering the Fountain Courtyard (the back-door).Rosso Fiorentino's work is inside.

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    Musee Napoleon 1-er

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Updated Jul 20, 2006

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    Fontainebleau - Napoleon's throne

    During revolution the palace was plundered, but Napoleon chose it as the residence and completely restored its furniture. They speak, that Napoleon could not live in Versailles as its luxury suppressed him. He liked modest and tiny palace in Fontenblou more.
    The exposition of the museum is devoted to the emperor and his family. Sculptural and painted portraits, the weapon, awards, personal things and documents tell us about ceremony of coronation, the military companies of the emperor, his private life. The museum occupies the first and the second floors of half of the building of the palace.

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    Palace interiors

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Written Mar 21, 2006

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    Fontainebleau - Palace Interiors
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    All the rooms are arranged by furniture in an empire style. The Smart gallery, gallery Fransisk the First and a gallery are located in a medieval part of a palace In the western wing the Museum of Napoleon is created.

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    Palace Chapel

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Written Mar 21, 2006

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    Palace Chapel

    The chapel of the Sacred Trinity settled down in a gallery of the palace. There are apartments of Napoleon at the ground floor (a throne hall, a boardroom, Maria Antoinette's room, a hall of Lui the Thirteenth, a hall of Lui the Ninth Sacred, a ballroom) .

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    Chateau de Fontainebleau... Last glimpses

    by Krystynn Written Dec 21, 2003

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    That's me on the palace grounds. By the way, do you know that Fontainbleau had the noblest garden in all of France?

    It was made for a King, Francois I (yes, him again), who wished to rival the great courts of Italy. Though the old knots and statuary have gone, enough of the 1528-1547 layout survives to give one a sense of how gardens were arranged in sixteenth century France.

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    Chateau: The SITTING ROOM of St Louis

    by Krystynn Written Dec 21, 2003

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    St Louis' favorite room

    The impressive and opulent Sitting Room of Saint Louis drew gasps from the tour group...

    Whilst browsing around this room, squint your eyes to the statue of Henry IV resting on the marbled mantelpiece. Please ensure that you give yourself lots of free time to just browse through the many treasured monuments found inside this amazing chateau... All the treasured monuments belonging to a bygone era.

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