Fontainebleau

Fontainebleau
.

The Palace and Park of Fontainebleau has been influential for its architecture and interior decor made by Italian artists.

King Francis I, who reigned from 1515-1547, brought in painters, sculptors and architects from Italy to ornate this palace with its many frescoes and sculptures.

The chateau introduced to France the Italian Mannerist style in interior decoration and in gardens.

The castle as it is today is the work of many French monarchs, building on the structure of Francis I: from Henri IV to Louis XVI and Napoleon. At Fontainebleau Napoleon bade farewell and went into exile to Elba in 1814.

Map of Fontainebleau

Load map
Els

Visit December 2010

For some reason I had anticipated to find something completely different: my navigation brought me right into the center of the town of Fontainebleau, while I had expected to visit a hunting castle somewhere in a forest. At first sight the castle looks quite small and disappointing too.

I wandered the grounds and part of the gardens. There are some nice black sculptures, but nothing too exciting, especially in winter. There were only a couple of other visitors around. So few of them that I wondered if the interior would be closed - I visited on a Saturday, around lunch time and had expected crowds.

December 2010

All changed when I paid my 10 EUR entrance fee to visit the interior of the castle. Maybe all visitors were hiding there, escaping the winter weather? No! I really was about the only person around. Most of the rooms I had to myself. This rare occasion turned it into a memorable visit. I don't think I have ever enjoyed a European castle as much as this one.

December 2010

I used the pretty good audio guide to explain about the castle. Each room has signs too in French and English. One of the best is the Gallery of Francis I, a covered passageway that he had built for himself. Its walls are adorned with beautiful frescoes. Another great room is the Ball Room (see large photo above). There's a room completely in Rococo style, rooms full of gobelins, ornate bedrooms. Almost at the end of the tour you'll find the Throne Room of Napoleon, the only such suite in France still in its original state.

December 2010

So in all, a very fine WHS for its interior and a good day trip from Paris or somewhere else in the Ile de France Hotspot.

Community Reviews

Write a review


Jakob Frenzel

Germany - 28-May-19 -

Fontainebleau by Jakob Frenzel

August 2018 - on our way back from the Normandy along Ile de France we finally came to Fontainebleau. 

It is a small nice town where we visited the local market. With some  food we bought, we made our way to the gardens of the castle and tried to find a nice spot. There are numerous nice spots with views at the castle and we changed the viewing spots.

It was tremendously hot that day, and we actually preffered to had stayed at the sea shore. But we ticked this nice park and castle. One of many in Europe but certainly of bigger importance in cultural history.


Hubert

Austria - 05-Feb-16 -

Fontainebleau by Hubert Scharnagl

The Fontainebleau Castle is somewhat in the shadow of the more popular Palace of Versailles, but wrongly in my opinion. We visited Fontainebleau in September 2015 and it was far less crowded than the day before in Versailles.

When you stand on the Cour d'Honneur facing the main façade, the palace looks smaller and less magnificent compared to Versailles, but the appearance is deceiving. You get the best impression of the real size and extent from the gardens along the southern front. The present appearance of the palace is the result of numerous reconstructions and extensions from the 12th to the 19th century: a sprawling complex with several wings around five courtyards, and a mosaic of architectural styles. Another difference to Versailles. The oldest and central part of the palace, a donjon of the original castle, is located in the oval courtyard. Unfortunately, this courtyard was not accessible on our visit, we could just take a look through the closed gate. The most striking element of the exterior is the horseshoe-shaped stairway at the main façade (photo), formerly the main entrance of the palace.

The interiors were a real surprise: luxurious furnishings, finely decorated wooden panelling, stucco and plenty of paintings and frescoes. The tour with audioguide took about two hours. The most impressive rooms are the splendid Ballroom, the adjacent double chapel of Saint-Saturnin, and the Gallery of Francis I. Furthermore, the Gallery of Diana and the Plate Gallery full with porcelain plates fitted into the wooden panelling.

All in all, we spent half a day in Fontainebleau and it was probably my most interesting and most entertaining visit of a castle on the WH list.


Clyde

Malta - 14-May-13 -

Fontainebleau by Clyde

I visited this WHS in May 2013. The park is not that impressive. The palace exterior was quite underwhelming but the interior made up for it. The Grand Galleries and the throne room are truly of universal value for their historical importance. When compared to the never-ending crowds of visitors in Versailles, Fontainebleau was almost empty and most probably this helped me to appreciate and enjoy the palace to the full.


Ian Cade

UK - 13-Apr-11 -

Fontainebleau by Ian Cade

I did enjoy my trip out to the palace and it was a rewarding visit. It didn't feel quite as cripplingly oppressive as Versailles and was a more manageable place to get a grasp on. The level of decoration was also impressive throughout, especially the two grand corridors that we visited on the tour. Also the associations with Napoleon are pretty strong here which helped ties in some of the parts of French history that I had a decent grasp of. I also enjoyed strolling around the grounds to get a bit of fresh air.

On the whole it was a worthwhile side trip from Paris, and it was good to spend some time exploring with my friends. It was also pretty easy to get to, but I must admit Palaces very rarely capture me.

[Site 5: Experience 4]


Klaus Freisinger

Austria - 11-Jun-05 -

Less well known and thus (slightly) less crowded than Versailles, Fontainebleau started life as a hunting lodge and became the favorite residence for many French rulers, and many of them left their distinctive imprint. Francois I., Henri IV., and Napoleon all had an individual entrance built to the palace, and the "School of Fontainebleau" was a model for French and European Renaissance architecture. Many people will imitate the kings and prefer this magnificent complex to Versailles. I wouldn't go this far, but it is certainly very well worth visiting and one of the better daytrips from Paris.


Graeme Ramshaw

Fontainebleau by Graeme Ramshaw

A very nice little town, just outside of Paris, that hosts a really spectacular chateau. Once a summer residence for the kings of France, the house and park became a favorite of Napoleon during this reign as emperor. There is a good deal to explore both within the apartments and around the beautiful gardens. The town of Fontainebleau itself is also worth some time, with many little cafes, restaurants, and shops to enjoy. The people are also very welcoming; we had a nice time chatting with the old man who feeds the peacocks that wander the chateau grounds. Definitely recommended as a day trip from Paris.


Ganna

USA -

I lived in Fontainebleau for a year while my father was getting his MBA at INSEAD business school and I must say it's the most beautiful place I've been to so far. beautiful gardens, gorgeous archticture, incredible chateaux, tiny coffee shops, extremely friendly people (myth about the French being arrogant will very quickly dissipate once you are in Fontainebleau). Because of the huge INSEAD campus right in the city, you will meet people from all over the world on the streets of Fontainebleau.


Site Info

Full Name
Palace and Park of Fontainebleau
Unesco ID
160
Country
France
Inscribed
1981
Type
Cultural
Criteria
2 6
Categories
Secular structure - Palace
Link
By ID

Site History

1981 Inscribed

Locations

The site has 1 locations

Fontainebleau

Connections

The site has

Architecture
Constructions
History
Human Activity
Individual People
Timeline
WHS Hotspots
WHS on Other Lists
World Heritage Process

Visitors

Community Members have visited.

A. Mehmet Haksever Aalberty Aitia Alessandro Votta Alexander Barabanov Alexander Lehmann Alfons and Riki Verstraeten Ali Zingstra Altacyr Anders Burholm Anna Wludarska Anthonynice Antonio J. Argo Ashley Waddell Atila Ege Aureb30 Baudy-Floc h Bborders Bertrand Bin Bob Finnie Bob Parda Bob pateman Bojana Bartol Boroka Szamosi Bosswench Brigitte Huber Buzz Carl-Gustaf Samuelsson Carlos Garrido Carstenhansen Caspar Dechmann Celine Gramlich Cezar Grozavu Chenboada Chenqtao Cheryl Chris Law Christer Sundberg Christian Wagner Christine Swanson Cindy Casey Claire Bradshaw ClaireWhiteley Clyde Col Colossus Coppi Cosaflora Craig Harder Cristina Erba Cyba DL Dachangjin3 Daniela Hohmann Dat Nguyen David Aaronson & Melanie Stowell David Gang XU Deambulante Dean Swift Delpupp Diana van Nieuwkoop Dibro Dimitar Krastev Dimitrios Polychronopoulos Dirk-pieter Donald M Parrish Jr Doug Robertson ERIC ZHOU Echwel Elaine Ganderton Elaine McArdle Elia Vettorato Elias Eliazer Cohen Elida Els Slots Enrique Clemente Eric Lorentz Eric Lurio Eric PK Erik Jelinek Eva Kisgyorgy Evajuk F Robert Fabienne Famalubel Fan Yibo Fderuet Feldhase Felicite Fairer-Wessels Femke Roos Filip Murlak Filippo Ubaldi Fkarpfinger Fmannucci Fool79 Frederik Dawson Fuaron G. ingraham G.L. Ingraham Garyrjtaylor Geert Luiken George Gdanski Gernot Gi Gilles Glubu Gonçalo Elias Grendel Gongan Grzegorz Andruszkiewicz Guillaume Gwythyr Hadrianus Hannes Muehlbacher Harald T. HaraldOest Helen Herunen Hsjamsil Hubert Iain Jackson Ian Cade Ingemar Eriksson Ivan JBTOR JFrederking Jacob Choi Jagnes Jakob Frenzel James Hammond James Welker Jan Zimmermann Jan-Willem Janis Jarek Pokrzywnicki Jasam Jasm Javier Coro Jean Lecaillon Jean-Rene Berge Jeanne OGrady Jgera Jianhui Song Joao Farminhao Joel Baldwin John Green John booth Johnson Zhao Jolieb Jon Eshuijs Jonas Hagung Jonas Kremer Jonathanfr Jos Schmitz Jose Antonio Collar Joyce van Soest Judit Dalla Judith Tanner Julianna Lees Jun Jun Zhou Jurgen Stevens Kai Thorben Karen Theel Karina Kasienka5 Kati Drimmer Kbecq Kelly Henry Kenny Gam Kevin247 Kim, Soo-youn Klaus Bondar Klaus Freisinger Knomadc Krangalang Krijn LKERPS Lantian Lars Gunnar Gardo Lei Liu Leontine Helleman Liang Zhou Lidb93 Lisa Lisu Marian Lloyd Cross Lois Dekker Londonium Longdutch Lorenzo Mejino Luis Filipe Gaspar MAURO PODDA MH MMM MaYumin Mamc Marc Marie Morlon Marinov Martina Ruckova Mary ann janicki Mathieu Matthewgibbs Matthewsharris Mauro Martino MaxHeAnou Mibive Michael Mett Michael Novins Michiel Dekker Miguel Gallego Mike Harper Mikko Milan Jirasek Misio_pysio Moreworld2c Morodhi Naim Y Nan Nathalie Goldberg Nelson O Niall Sclater Nicole Kilian Nicole P Nihal Ege Nikolay Marinov Ninifishes Olivier MONGIN Olli-Pekka Turunen PJ Parrot Pascal Cauliez Patphilly Patrick C. Venenoso Patrick Matgen Patriks Patty Verhoeven Paul Schofield Payen de La Garanderie Isabelle Peltzi Peter Alleblas Peter Loov PeterH Philip T.K. Philipp Peterer Pieter Dijkshoorn Pressdm Qqalexqq RNanbara Randi Thomsen Ray matlock Roberta MacRae Roberto Diaz Roger Enarsson Roger Ourset Roman Koeln Roman Raab Rswood Sanxu Sazanami Scubarrie Sergio Arjona Seudy Shandos Cleaver Shijie ZHU Shirley Xue Shyeen Simon Penton Solivagant Squiffy Sschooler Stanislaw Warwas Stephanvermeulen Stephen S. Kamin Stetrab Stewart Findlay Stijn Sun_jianyuan@me.com Super-Sophie Susan Mead Susan Stair Svermeulen Szucs Tamas Tamara Ratz Tammy Gouldstone Tevity Therese Steen Thibault Magnien Thomas Buechler Thomas cahalan Thomas van der Walt Timallen Tkinou Tsunami ValiaVeweth Vanessa Buechler Veelineen Vlad Lesnikov Voyager WHS Lux WILLIAM RICH Wait About Walter Walter H. Wang Qin Werner Huber Willem van Altena William Quan Wojciech Fedoruk Wolfgang Hlousa WolfgangHl Xiquinho Silva Zhenjun Liu Zoë Sheng