Contemporary art tour
« Grandeur Nature. 18 artistes au jardin »
In the heart of the English Garden, you are invited to an astonishing art hunt, where you will discover some forty works. These installations, as ephemeral as they are whimsical, reveal the beauty of the English Garden, enhance its perspectives, but also highlight its importance and fragility.
The eighteen artists on this tour were chosen for their unique and personal relationship with nature. They have worked to integrate their works perfectly into this theatre of greenery, in complete complicity with the castle’s gardeners.
Come and enjoy a playful journey to discover the surrealist works in the heart of an exceptional plant setting.
Don’t hesitate to pick up a game booklet to discover the exhibition with your family! You can also downloading it here (only available in French).
As an echo and introduction to this tour, the artists MonkeyBird (Edouard Egea and Louis Boidron), under the direction of Cyrille Gouyette, have decorated the palisade on Boulevard Magenta with a fresco.
English Garden of the château de Fontainebleau | Entrance located at the Fountain Courtyard (see the interactive map)
From 14 May to 17 September 2023
Prices: €4 | €16 with the château entrance ticket | €15 pass (unlimited access to the English Garden for the duration of the exhibition)
Discovering Grandeur Nature in a new perspective
Only available in French
The starting point for the guided tours and other activities of the Grandeur Nature trail is at the entrance to the exhibition in the Fountain Courtyard.
The castle invites you to discover a selection of works from the Grandeur Nature tour and to explore the natural landscape in which they are exhibited. Come and take an artistic, offbeat and amused look at this unique plant decor.
From 14 May to 17 September
Saturdays and Sundays only
Let your senses and your inspiration carry you away, unleash your creativity and immerse yourself in a unique artistic experience! Take a new look at the Grandeur Nature tour through a sensitive exploration of the artworks and the Jardin Anglais.
Sunday 28 May at 2pm and 4pm
Monday 29 May at 11am and 4pm
Friday 14 July at 2pm and 4pm
All ages, children from 3 years old accompanied by an adult
Price: 17 €, 29 € with the château entrance ticket | 10 € reduced price | free for children under 4 years old
Come and meet the dancers of the company Les Orpailleurs, who invite you to discover the works of the Grandeur Nature exhibition in a different way. The choreographer Jean-Christophe Bleton, by setting the bodies in motion, extends the artistic gestures of the 18 artists in this exhibition. A sensitive and participative exploration, which will leave young and old amazed.
Company: Les Orpailleurs
Choreographer: Jean-Christophe Bleton
Sunday 28 May at 11am and 2.30pm
Monday 29 May at 11am and 2.30pm
Saturday 15 July at 2.30 pm and 4.30 pm
All audiences, children from 6 years old accompanied by an adult
Duration: 1 hour
This sensitive visit invites you to discover mediation and proposes a real journey towards well-being. Through mediation, connect with the colours and materials present in the works, as well as the sounds and smells they evoke. A unique experience in the peaceful English garden.
Workshop conducted by Isabelle Martinez, lecturer, art historian and mediator specialising in contemporary art
Sunday 28 May at 11am
Saturday 17 June at 11am
Saturday 15 July at 11am
For the general public
Price: 17 € , 29 € with the castle entrance ticket | 10 € reduced price | free for children under 4 years old
Prices: 4 € | 16 € with the castle entrance ticket | The ticket is valid all day.
Pass at 15€ (unlimited access to the English Garden for the duration of the exhibition)
Free admission for under-26s from the European Union and all persons entitled to free admission to the castle (see our conditions).
The exhibition is free during the Festival of Art History (2-4 June), the first Sunday in September and the European Heritage Days (16-17 September).
119 hectares of park and gardens – Diana Garden, Grand Parterre and the park – remain freely accessible every day.
In the event of exceptional closure of the garden for weather reasons (e.g. wind speed of over 60 km/h), you will be able to obtain a ticket for the Grandeur Nature trail valid for the date of your choice, to be collected from the ticket office.
The contemporary art trail is open daily, including Tuesdays, from 9.30am to 7.15pm. Last access at 6.15pm and evacuation begins at 6.30pm.
Recommended duration: 1h15.
You can buy your ticket directly at the ticket office, except on Tuesdays, when the castle is closed, when you can only book your ticket via the online ticket office.
The castle is open every day except Tuesday, from 9:30 am to 6 pm. Last admission is at 5.15 pm.
Visitors who have left personal belongings in the lockers located in the reception areas of the castle must collect them before 6 pm.
We strongly recommend that you start with a visit to the castle.
Access to the contemporary art trail via the Fountain Courtyard (see the interactive map)
The exhibition is accessible to people with reduced mobility. Persons accompanying the disabled may enter the Fountain Courtyard with their vehicle through the Mathurins gate (9 rue Denecourt, opposite the municipal theatre) and then the Main Courtyard to drop off the disabled person in front of the landing stage. The vehicle must then be parked outside the Domaine.
Picnics are permitted in the English garden. There are takeaway stands in the courtyards and gardens of the castle. You can also enjoy a gourmet break on the terrace of the Café des Mariniers, located in the Fountain Courtyard, or in the restaurant Les Petites Bouches de l’Empereur.
A booklet-game is available to help you discover the route with your family.
A tour guide will be available at the entrance to the tour. (only in French at the moment)
The contemporary art trail is accessible with a stroller.
Enhancing our green heritage
Work in the English garden
Since 2022, major works have been carried out to facilitate the staging of the contemporary art exhibition, a major first for the gardens of Fontainebleau. The gardeners have been at the helm to enhance this exceptional site, to which they are particularly attached, and to help welcome the public while ensuring the safety of the property and its visitors. The paths around the Carp Pond have been completely restructured and consolidated, with the installation of crushed limestone covered with gravel to improve the walk for visitors and also to facilitate the exceptional passage of heavy vehicles. The edges of the paths have been reshaped and completely resodded. It has also been possible to carry out actions to restore the vegetation, as recommended in the management plan. A number of trees and flowerbeds that had been poorly planted or were anachronistic were removed to preserve the spirit of the garden and preserve the authenticity of the site. In some areas of the garden, shrubberies have been regenerated, or even completely restored, such as the heather bed in front of the Sénarmont riding school. All the trees in the garden were pruned and checked for the occasion. A small amount of thinning was carried out, with the carpenter branches lightened, to preserve the unity of this remarkable heritage of trees over the long term. The boxwood hedges were also restructured using a lamier to give them an architectural shape, and all the driveway borders were cut according to the rules of the trade to preserve the authenticity of the garden. The River Anglaise, an essential feature of the garden, has been completely cleaned out, allowing clear water to return. Nearby masonry structures (bridges, fountains, columns) have been consolidated and cleaned. Lastly, the replacement of the fencing, particularly around the RD606, has enhanced the security of the site. Thanks to these large-scale operations, managed by the Château’s garden department, the English Garden is back in all its glory for Grandeur Nature. 18 artists in the garden.
Restoration of the sculptures
Under the Third Republic in the 1880s, two fabriques were erected as “places of memory”, to visually mark the rediscovered site of the Fontaine Belle-Eau spring and its counterpart, the so-called “Colonne” spring. The symbolic birthplace of “Fontaine Belle-Eau”, magnified by aediculae since the time of François I, had been lost over the centuries. Under the First Empire, these two springs came together to form the Rivière, the main feature of the new garden, which ends at the Rocher de la Cascade. In the centre of a grove, an exedra adorned with a statue of Flora and a fire pot based on a model dating from Louis XIII face each other around a coping, octagonal like the one built under Henri IV. At the column, in the spirit of picturesque gardens, this same fire pot is placed above a column, which is thought to have come from the ensemble known as the Belle Cheminée d’Henri IV, an ornament of the château dismantled under Louis XV. This is a rare example of polychrome marble placed outdoors, and a particularly lavish choice, echoed in the Dancing Stones marbles by the artist Gérard Kuijpers. Behind the Fontaine Belle-Eau and the Colonne, the architect Boitte set out to reproduce a rockwork niche or basin in imitation of the unrestored rockwork in Napoleon’s garden. The restoration of the Fire Pot and the Column used the most respectful means possible to remove moss and lichen, using an alternative, essential oil instead of the usual biocide. The aim of the restoration was to reduce the traces of damage and breakage. As for the coping, this was micro-gummed, without the use of the chemical products normally employed. Finally, the pine cone at the top of the Fontaine Belle-Eau, which was found in storage, has been replaced in the heart of the English garden.
Discover the château and gardens in a unique way
Every day, the castle offers numerous guided tours, allowing you to discover the secrets and historical anecdotes of this royal palace. petits Appartements, Empress Eugenie’s museum, Imperial Theatre… access exceptional spaces that will amaze young and old alike!
Depending on the season and your wishes, discover the gardens through unforgettable experiences. Horse-drawn carriage rides, mini-train rides, canoeing, or a visit to the Jeu de Paume court, choose the activity that suits you best.
You can also take advantage of the restaurant Les Petites Bouches de l’Empereur, the Café des Mariniers and a wide range of takeaway food for both big and small appetites.