Fontainebleau: A unique castle in France!
The complexity of its architecture and the diversity of its décor bear witness to the times and tastes of the sovereigns who lived there. Strolling through the galleries, admiring the frescoes and stuccoes from the Renaissance, walking through the row of the King’s or Queen’s Apartments and discovering the solemnity of the Throne Room are all stages on this journey into the heart of history.
Each room resonates with the memory of the rulers and their court. Following the example of François I, Henri IV, Louis XIII and Louis XV, Napoleon I also wanted to leave his mark on Fontainebleau by restoring the castle in the aftermath of the Revolution. His apartments and the museum dedicated to him are priceless testimonies of this imperial past. Fontainebleau presents Renaissance masterpieces, the refined interiors of Marie-Antoinette, Napoleon I’s ceremonial apartment as well as the ‘comfortable’ furnishings desired by Napoleon III and Eugenie.
These monarchs were also aesthetes and invited the best artists of their time to shape this palace where family life, court life and the exercise of power mingled. Here we relive the stays of the Sun King, the royal wedding of Louis XV and even Napoleon I’s legendary Farewell to the Old Guard on the Horseshoe Staircase. You can also imagine the balls at the time of Catherine de Medici, the walks of Marie-Antoinette in the gardens designed by Le Nôtre, the fireworks on the carp pond or the water jousting on the Grand Canal.
According to Napoleon, Fontainebleau was the ‘true home of kings’. This castle embodies, like no other, the convergence of pleasure and power, intimacy and politics. Walking through its galleries and gardens, visitors witness eight hundred years of art and history unfolding over the course of a day.