The Porte Dorée

Join in the restoration and enhancement of the first royal entrance to the Château de Fontainebleau.

Following the fundraising for the Horseshoe Staircase, the Château de Fontainebleau, along with the Fondation de Patrimoine, will launch #UnGesteHistorique, a new campaign to collect donations and raise the 900,000 euros needed for the restoration and enhancement of the Porte Dorée.

The first royal entrance to the château

In 1528, François I launched his first major architectural campaign and with it the construction of the Porte Dorée and the Galerie François I. The architecture and decor that was built in place of the old medieval castle suggest the glory of its patron, François I, whose figure appears on the capitals.

The Porte Dorée kept its historical function as the main entrance to the castle until the second half of the 16th century. As part of the staging of this majestic royal entrance, an alley of lime trees led to the pavilion. Later named the Allée de Maintenon, this became the alley through which, during the winter of 1539, Charles V saw for the first time the Château de Fontainebleau.

As the royal entrance adjoins the ballroom that was built under Henri II, the Porte Dorée is an integral part of the entrance scenography of the sumptuous parties organized at the court of the Valois.

Primaticcio's frescoes

The Italian artist Primaticcio produced the frescoes of the vault and portico of the Porte Dorée. Accustomed to the place, he chose to depict mythological themes that were important to François I. He drew his inspiration from the emblematic stories of antiquity, such as the Illiad or Ovid’s Fasti. As such, Hercules, Zeus, Hera, Hypnos, and other mythological gods appear in sandstone brushstrokes.

 

A Renaissance gem in need of urgent restoration

Today, these French Renaissance insignia decorations are in poor condition. Due to the humidity and temperature conditions of their location, these remarkable Renaissance frescoes are in need of urgent restoration. Most of the frescoes are dirty and their visibility is compromised. The restoration project covers several elements, which are the:

– Consolidation of the vestibule vault

– Restoration of the carved decorations of the vestibule and the portico

– Restoration of architectural elements

– Restoration of door joinery

The lighting of the Porte Dorée is also included in this restoration program. The lighting is designed to not only highlight its decorations and gilding, but also to reprise its role as a landmark from the path of the forest.

Since 2015, the public establishment of the Château de Fontainebleau has implemented a master plan for renovation in order to restore the château to its full splendor. The circulation plan will be streamlined and key places of the castle, such as the Porte Dorée, will again be highlighted in order to enrich the historical reading of the “True residence of kings, house of centuries.”

Our Supporters

The Fondation de Patrimoine is supporting the restoration of the Porte Dorée of the Château de Fontainebleau thanks to Gecina’s sponsorship of 300,000 euros. For the past three years, Gecina has provided five million euros through its corporate foundation. These funds are used to finance emergency work and to secure identified sites in the Île-de-France region at risk — all with a goal of reopening them to the public.

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Opening hours

The chateau

The chateau is open every day except Tuesday, January 1st, May 1st and December 25th.

From October to March: 9.30 am to 5 pm (last access at 4.15 pm).

From April to September: 9.30 am to 6 pm (last access at 5.15 pm).

The park and gardens are open, under the usual conditions, free of charge.

The restaurant is open every day for lunch (exceptionally closed on Tuesdays until the end of March, except on Tuesdays 13th and 20th, February).

Coming to the chateau

    Calcul de l'itinéraire jusqu'au Château de Fontainebleau