My tour of France can be simply summarized as the "Château tour". During my few days of roaming around the areas surrounding Paris I must have visited 15 different estates, castles and palaces, all with their own charm and beauty. One of the last Châteaus I visited was the Château de Fontainebleau, an hour to the south-east from Paris, a good day-trip from Paris and not nearly as crowded as the Palace of Versailles off to the west. To me, the main intent in visiting the area was to see a local university’s campus, the famous INSEAD, one of the top schools in the world for business, but I heard that this palace and the nearby forest were a big attraction and so made an overnight stay at a friendly forest home-stay (Airbnb) and went to visit the palace again when it opened the next morning. So in the photos below you’ll get to see the palace both at night time when I arrived and then from the next day in the morning.

 

Château de Fontainebleau : France

 Château de Fontainebleau : France

 

The official website introduces :

The Château de Fontainebleau can proudly claim to have been a sovereign residence for eight centuries. Capétiens, Valois, Bourbons, Bonaparte and Orléans, all members of French ruling dynasties, have lived within these walls. Kings and queens, emperors and empresses have all striven to make their own improvements to the château built around the original keep. The estate quickly became a huge palace in which many momentous historical events have been played out. […]

Now emblematic of the Château de Fontainebleau, the famous horseshoe-shaped staircase dates from the reign of Louis XIII, based on a Renaissance model, and was the work of Jean Androuet du Cerceau. This sprawling palace is a veritable showcase of French architecture from the 12th to the 19th century.

 

Although walking through decorated posh European rooms has its charms, I much prefer to walk through the Château’s gardens…

 

Château de Fontainebleau : France

 Château de Fontainebleau : France

 Château de Fontainebleau : France

 Château de Fontainebleau : France

 Château de Fontainebleau : France

 

But, the biggest attraction is considered to be the insides. Unless you take the guided or audio tour you’ll probably miss some of the wonderful stories, but I get tired fast and after a while you’ll get the idea – it’s grand, it’s beautiful, it’s expensive, and it probably signifies something to someone at some point in time. Here are some of the highlights…

 

 Château de Fontainebleau : France

 Château de Fontainebleau : France

 Château de Fontainebleau : France

 Château de Fontainebleau : France

 Château de Fontainebleau : France

 Château de Fontainebleau : France

 Château de Fontainebleau : France

 Château de Fontainebleau : France

 Château de Fontainebleau : France

 Château de Fontainebleau : France

 

Once I let go of trying to figure out the small stories and details of each room, I managed to get through the whole thing in an hour, still feeling like I’ve learned something and enjoyed myself without overwhelming the brain and the senses.

And so, on to the next Château, soon to follow…



Tags: architecture; art; Château; Château de Fontainebleau; daytrip; france; gardens; paris;


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