Palais Fontainebleau in Paris


Fifty kilometers south of Paris is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The beautiful Palace of Fontainebleau (Château de Fontainebleau) is a valuable architectural monument, the construction of which was begun during the time of the French ruler Francis I on the territory of the richest royal hunting grounds and continued for centuries.

About the palace

Many heir-kings completed and improved the architectural masterpiece, and even Napoleon III, born three hundred years after the first stone of the royal residence was laid, had a hand in the construction of a new palace theater. This centuries-old construction could not but affect the current appearance of the palace and its world historical and architectural value.

The change of eras is reflected in the many architectural styles in which different parts of the palace are executed: the Renaissance and the First School of Fontainebleau, Mannerism and the Second School of Fontainebleau, and of course the magnificent Empire style. It was not for nothing that Stendhal called this castle "an architectural encyclopedia", and Napoleon called the "House of Ages".

Palace of Fontainebleau

Today, the Fontainebleau Palace is a national treasure of France, a state museum and just a favorite place for a relaxing holiday for the French and foreign tourists. And there is really something to see here! Golden Gate, Royal Room, Gallery of Francis I, Holy Trinity Chapel, Throne and Ballroom, Napoleon III Theater, Royal Library, Diana Gallery, magnificent gardens with ponds - this is just a small list of the sights of the Fontainebleau palace complex.

Francis I Gallery

The Francis I Gallery is a true architectural masterpiece created in the Renaissance style. The many frescoes on the walls are truly works of art and successfully coexist here with inlaid decorative panels made of polished wood. The centerpiece of the Francis I Gallery is the richest collection of paintings.

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During his reign, it was the first art collection in Europe, a special place in it was given to the mysterious painting by Leonardo da Vinci "Mona Lisa". The gallery is an example of the First School of Fontainebleau, as a fresh Italian movement in Renaissance painting. The Francis I Gallery combines the royal chambers with the Holy Trinity Chapel.

Francis I Gallery

Royal chambers

The triumphal Golden Gate opens access to the royal chambers and the fireplace room. In the royal bedrooms and the inner chambers of the emperor, expensive furniture, unique paintings and gilding, frescoes and stucco moldings on the walls, Lyons silk in the decoration - everything speaks of luxury and grandeur.

Royal chambers

The Ballroom is located in the same wing. The decoration of the Ballroom was carried out already under Henry II and Catherine de Medici, but it is no less luxurious and majestic. The initials that can be seen on the ceiling and in various elements of the hall's decoration carry the love secret of Henry II to his favorite Diane de Poitiers.

Holy Trinity Chapel

An excellent example of the style of the Second School of Fontainebleau is the Chapel of the Holy Trinity. The theme of the Last Judgment runs through the whole idea of ​​the style of the church. In all the works of art, which the chapel keeps in itself a huge variety, one can feel the hand of true masters of mannerism. Throughout the church, as well as throughout the palace, the original decoration with frescoes and wood paneling with royal ornaments.

Holy Trinity Chapel

Kingdom of Napoleon

Under Napoleon Bonaparte, the palace significantly changed its appearance. The spirit of the Napoleonic era is preserved in many rooms of the palace: the Throne Room (the former royal bedroom), the Diana Gallery, the study and private chambers of the emperor, the Red Salon, where in 1814 Napoleon officially abdicated the throne. Rich textile decoration, many columns, stucco moldings and sculptural compositions - the bright Empire style speaks to everything.

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Palais Fontainebleau - staircase

The famous horseshoe-shaped staircase in the White Horse Court, later called the “Farewell Court”, has survived to this day, since it was here that the emperor who abdicated the throne once said goodbye to his loyal army.

In the palace, you can also visit the Napoleon Museum, which stores the personal and memorabilia of the emperor.

Fontainebleau Park

The Fontainebleau Palace is famous not only for its architecture and interior decoration. The royal park surrounding it with numerous fountains, ponds and a beautiful lake is also magnificent. The park complex includes the English Garden, the Grotto of the Pine Grove, the Big Parterre, created in honor of the goddess of the hunt, Diana's Garden and decorating its magnificent fountain, numerous flower beds laid out in the Versailles style.

Fontainebleau Park

По парку гуляют павлины, совсем непугающиеся огромного количества людей. Особенно много посетителей в парке в выходные дни, когда французы съезжаются сюда семьями, чтобы устроить пикник и отдохнуть от удушающей атмосферы больших городов. Туристы тоже не прочь посидеть на лужайках и, наслаждаясь живописными пейзажами, подышать свежим воздухом.

As one French historian said: "Whether I am deeply unhappy and seeking solace in nature, or whether I am happy beyond measure, I will still go to Fontainebleau."

Getting there

Address: Place du Général de Gaulle, Fontainebleau.