Event news

The Chateau’s highlights for 2024

Exhibitions, tours and festivals : discover the rich cultural programming of the Château de Fontainebleau in 2024 !

In 2024, the Château de Fontainebleau invites you to come and enjoy unique experiences throughout the year, both by taking advantage of an exceptional heritage site that will lead you to the heart of eight centuries of history, and through an abundance of programming.

This season will be punctuated by a host of events combining heritage, history, historical and contemporary works in this unique artistic setting.

Until March 25, 2024, the Château de Fontainebleau will present the exhibition Fontainebleau, portraits d’un château. This original exhibition of 250 graphic works from the château’s collections, accompanied by two large-scale historical models of the château, highlights the evolution of its architecture, decor and gardens. The exhibition is a true portrait of the residence of kings over the centuries.

The Fontainebleau en stéréo(scopie) tour continues until March 25, offering visitors the chance to discover the château under the Second Empire (1852-1870).

Made possible by sponsorship and the #UnGesteHistorique campaign, the vast restoration project at the Porte Dorée is drawing to a close. From mid-April, visitors will be able to discover the restored Porte Dorée, the first royal entrance to the château built under François I.

210 years later, the château will bring to life Napoleon I’s farewell to his guard. On April 20 and 21, come and enjoy a weekend of historical re-enactments! Don’t miss this unforgettable event, during which the château’s teams will take you back in time to relive the Twenty Days that preceded the Emperor’s abdication and the fall of the First Empire.

Music will once again enchant the château with exceptional concerts. Thomas Hengelbrock and the Balthasar Neumann Ensemble and Choir return in May, September and December. The Festival of American Art Schools will be held, as always, in July.

At the start of the summer season, art history enthusiasts and the curious can look forward to the thirteenth edition of the Festival de l’histoire de l’art, on May 31, June 1 and 2. This year’s theme is sport, and the guest country is Mexico.

In autumn 2024, the public will be able to discover the exhibition Peintre de courre: Jean-Baptiste Oudry et les chasses royales, dedicated to Jean-Baptiste Oudry, the King’s painter and Louis XV’s great commission to immortalize his hunts. Some of the preparatory cartoons for the tapestries depicting the King’s hunts, which usually adorn the Château’s Appartement des Chasses, have recently been restored and will be unveiled, along with the corresponding tapestries and an evocation of the King’s hunting activities at court.

In December, an enchanting holiday program will invite young and old alike to end the year 2024 in style.

Finally, a host of other events for families and young visitors will punctuate the year, including guided tours, workshops and shows.
So many opportunities to come to Fontainebleau and (re)discover the fascinating history of the château!



Les temps forts en 2023

Until March 25, 2024

The château presents an original exhibition of 250 graphic works (drawings, watercolors, gouaches, photographs, prints) from the château’s collections. These works, accompanied by two large-scale historical models of the château, highlight the architecture, decor and gardens of the château over the centuries, and form a veritable drawn portrait of the home of kings. The exhibition invites visitors to take a fresh look at the architectural evolution of the imperial residence, illustrated by artistic masterpieces and architectural details.

The exhibition is conceived as a stroll through time and space, presenting the many facets of the château, centered around the courtyards and gardens, the emblematic rooms and the grand decors. Two scale models of the estate reveal buildings that have disappeared or been transformed, and help visitors understand the château’s architectural evolution. The exhibition concludes with an evocation of how the château’s image was disseminated in the second half of the 19th century, notably through photography, as tourism developed.

The public is thus invited to discover the château through the centuries, thanks to the vision of the artists and architects who shaped and immortalized it.

Exhibition in the Salle de la Belle Cheminée, accessible with château admission ticket, and coupled with an anthology of 27 drawings in the Petits Appartements on guided tour.
Curated by Vincent Cochet, chief curator at Château de Fontainebleau.
Every day except Tuesday.

For further information, click here

The Porte Dorée, the first royal entrance to the château built under François I, will be unveiled in April after almost two years of restoration work, which will enable visitors to rediscover Primaticcio’s frescoes.

FIRST ROYAL ENTRANCE TO THE CHÂTEAU DE FONTAINEBLEAU

Witness to the great hours of the Renaissance, the Porte Dorée, built under François I from 1528, is the first royal entrance to the château built in the 16th century. Combining fresco painting, sculpture and gilding, the Porte Dorée is a complete masterpiece. The frescoes are the work of Italian master Primaticcio. The sculpted decorations are to the glory of its patron, François I, whose figure appears on the capitals and whose emblem, the salamander, dominates the main entrance door.
The Porte Dorée serves as a grand setting for welcoming foreign sovereigns. It was through this alley that Charles V, a great rival of the French sovereign, first saw the silhouette of the Château de Fontainebleau in the winter of 1539. Opening directly into the forest, it became the preferred route for kings and emperors to leave and return from their hunting expeditions.

A RENAISSANCE JEWEL IN THE MAKING

The Porte Dorée, along with the Galerie François Ier, the Salle de Bal and the Chambre de la Duchesse d’Etampes, is one of the rare artistic testimonies to the Renaissance. These frescoes, particularly deteriorated by time, climatic conditions and restoration work carried out in the 20th century, were in danger of disappearing.
During the diagnostic study entrusted to Patrick Ponsot, chief architect of historic monuments and carried out from 2015 to 2017, the restorers-engineers drew up a condition report on the frescoes, determined their technical characteristics (support, execution techniques, binders, pigments, etc.), and carried out emergency consolidation work.

In 2020, an additional study was carried out to investigate climatic conditions.
The restoration work undertaken in 2022 focused on consolidating the vaulted ceiling of the vestibule, renovating the sculpted decorations, woodwork, portico, columns, cornices and coffered ceiling, consolidating and restoring the fresco paintings, and cleaning and restoring the cobblestones.
The ambitious project, estimated to cost 650,000 euros, was made possible thanks to the support of the #UnGesteHistorique campaign, 300,000 euros from Gecina and exceptional support from the Fondation du patrimoine.
The first major project to restore Renaissance frescoes in France since the 1960s, the restoration of the portico and vestibule at the Porte Dorée is being overseen by a scientific committee comprising heritage architects, curators, restorers, art historians and scientists from a variety of backgrounds.
The aim of this exceptional project is to present this ensemble to the public, to help them understand its quality and historical importance, and to enrich their understanding of the artistic program designed by François I.
The restoration will enable visitors to admire Primaticcio’s paintings from the Cour Ovale.

Join us in mid-April to pass through the Porte Dorée and rediscover this Renaissance masterpiece in all its splendour!

April 20-21,

Take a trip back in time to the spring of 1814, with an extraordinary event. On April 20, 1814, Napoleon I bid farewell to the Guard before leaving for exile on the island of Elba.

This year, 210 years after the Emperor’s abdication at Fontainebleau, the château will bring to life Napoleon I’s farewell to his old guard on the Horseshoe Staircase, during a weekend of historical re-enactments.
On this occasion, the Château de Fontainebleau invites you to relive the Twenty Days that preceded the Emperor’s abdication and the fall of the First Empire.

Twenty decisive days, between March 31 and April 20, 1814, which marked the end of the Napoleonic era and shaped the future of France and Europe. A veritable political and military soap opera, the Twenty Days were the scene of complex and exciting negotiations between Napoleon I’s staff and Tsar Alexander I, crucial exchanges between the European coalition forces and the Emperor, who had retreated to Fontainebleau, military intrigues and political reversals.

During this unique weekend, more than 250 passionate re-enactors, surrounded by a team of actors, will invite visitors to plunge into the heart of this period.

A unique program awaits you: military demonstrations in the gardens and courtyards of the château; the installation of a Napoleonic bivouac and the staging of daily life in the early 19th century through the presence of small trades in the English garden; the re-enactment of the famous scene of Napoleon I’s farewell to his loyal soldiers in the Cour d’Honneur; scenes performed in the rooms of the Château de Fontainebleau to tell the story behind this historic moment! An unforgettable experience to better understand this key moment in French history, shed light on the great political and military figures who marked this period, and remind us that history shapes the contemporary world.

In partnership with the Conseil départemental de Seine-et-Marne.

Click here for more information

May 3, 4 and 5, September 27, 28 and 29 and December 13, 14 and 15

In 2024, internationally renowned violinist and conductor Thomas Hengelbrock and the Baltasar Neumann Orchestra return to the Château de Fontainebleau as part of their artistic residency! In May, September and December, their musical notes will resonate throughout the château, creating an unforgettable experience.

The ambition of the Château de Fontainebleau is to restore the arts to the place they occupied throughout its history, during the stays of the court, in order to revive its age-old tradition as a hotbed of artistic creation, in a new and contemporary form.
Giving free rein to the arts and creativity, and bringing them into dialogue with Fontainebleau’s rich history through a varied artistic programme
This is the aim of the residency that the château has entrusted to the German conductor Thomas Hengelbrock and the Balthasar Neumann Ensemble and Choir since 2021.

Thomas Hengelbrock is founder and director of the Balthasar Neumann Choir and Ensemble, and one of today’s most celebrated
conductors of our time. Since 2005, he has worked regularly with orchestras in France – including the Orchestre
Orchestre National de France and Orchestre de Paris – and appears regularly at the Opéra de Paris and Théâtre des Champs-Élysées.
He is also a guest of the most prestigious phalanges (Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, Munich Philharmonic Orchestra) and major international stages. Thomas Hengelbrock has been appointed Music Director of the Chamber Orchestra, effective September 2024.

> May 3, 4 and 5 – “Dixit Dominus
Handel / Bach
Conducted by Thomas Hengelbrock
> September 27, 28 and 29 – “Madrigals, Songs, Court Airs in Europe
Roland de Lassus
Conducted by Thomas Hengelbrock
> December 13, 14 and 15 – “Christmas at the castle!
Monteverdi / Mendelssohn / Rheinberber
Conducted by Thomas Hengelbrock

Price: €27 with château entrance ticket | €15 with reduced admission €14

For further information, click here.

From July 3 to 28

Every summer since 1921, the château has welcomed teachers and students from the American Schools of Art in Fontainebleau, a storied institution from across the Atlantic that perpetuates French-style teaching excellence in music and architecture. In 2018, strengthened by this shared history and driven by a common desire, the Château de Fontainebleau and the American Art Schools Foundation have decided to strengthen their partnership by creating a Music Festival.

A hotbed of artistic creation since the Renaissance, the Château de Fontainebleau has always resonated with music. In addition to the occasional music that punctuated the daily life of the sovereigns, many new works were performed at the Court.
The American Art Schools of Fontainebleau, born during the Great War, are closely linked to the innovative currents that swept through the French art scene, notably the emblematic figure of Nadia Boulanger. True to this tradition, the Ecoles d’art are committed to introducing the public to little-known works, and to celebrating creation, women artists and nature at every session.

Consisting of the famous “American Conservatory”, doubled with an Ecole des Beaux-arts (Architecture), the Écoles d’art academy brings together a team of prestigious artists and contributors. As part of their partnership, the Château de Fontainebleau and the EAAF, under the artistic direction of cellist Diana Ligeti and architect Anthony Béchu, have turned this summer academy into a veritable festival dedicated to excellence, working to professionalize young people, promote collaboration between music and architecture, and encourage creation and encounters with all publics.

Festival events will take place in the château’s Chapelle de la Trinité, Salle de Bal and Salle des Colonnes, as well as in the courtyards and gardens.

May 31, June 1 and 2

An initiative of the French Ministry of Culture and organized by the Château de Fontainebleau and the Institut national d’histoire de l’art, the Festival de l’histoire de l’art is an annual three-day event that brings the public together around 300 events, free of charge and open to the public, focusing on a particular theme and country.
The Festival offers conferences, debates, book presentations and round-table discussions, as well as film screenings, concerts, readings, guided tours and activities for families and children, all with the aim of helping visitors discover, deepen and share art and its history.

In 2024, the chosen country is Mexico, and the theme will be sport.

Festival-goers are invited to discover Mexico’s ancient and contemporary artistic production, as well as its museum and heritage policy. In this Olympic year, the unifying theme of sport has been selected. Researchers, curators, artists, art world professionals, publishers and students from France, Mexico and elsewhere will be on hand to share their knowledge of the arts with festival-goers, retrace the history of images and objects and reveal their meanings, passing on their passion and their professions.

13th edition
Theme: sport
Guest country: Mexico
Free access

From October 13, 2024

The exhibition Peintre de courre: Jean-Baptiste Oudry et les chasses royales will invite visitors to take a fresh look at the links between art and hunting, and highlight the work of artist Jean-Baptiste Oudry, famous for his depictions of hunting during the reign of Louis XV. The exhibition will showcase the results of a major restoration campaign, still underway today, of the immense Oudry cartoons preserved at the château.

Built in the heart of a forest full of game, and made unique by its history and architecture, the Château de Fontainebleau has been a favorite hunting ground for the kings of France since the 12th century. The tutelary presence of Diana the Huntress, who appears in the galleries and gardens, testifies to the importance of the château as a hunting ground in the hearts of the sovereigns.

Autumn visits to Fontainebleau were introduced by the Valois family, and the Bourbons remained faithful to this tradition. Louis XIV and Louis XV were particularly keen on hunting. The latter’s reign marked the apogee of the art of hunting. Hunting three times a week, multiplying the number of teams and packs, the sovereign was a passionate hunter, and his dogs accompanied him even into his apartments, where precious kennels sheltered them.

To immortalize his love of royal hunting, Louis XV commissioned Jean-Baptiste Oudry to depict his hunts. This title conferred on the artist the status of a true “court painter”. Impassioned, the sovereign placed two major commissions with Jean-Baptiste Oudry, a young artist trained in the studio of the famous portraitist Nicolas de Largillière. Oudry gradually rose to the heights of the Court.
These monumental works depict the various episodes in the king’s hunt, and pave the way for the tapestries of the Chasses Royales to be woven by the Gobelins manufactory. The finesse and realism of his works stem from the painter’s new vision of nature and forests, which he explored for pictorial purposes, as well as of the animals in the royal packs. This turning point, both in Jean-Baptiste Oudry’s conception of landscape and in his career, made him an unrivalled reference in 17th-century animal painting.

The château has preserved numerous works of art from this heritage, testifying in particular to the role of hunting under the Ancien Régime, as a symbol of power and royal tradition, as well as a fundamental social component at court. Since the reign of Louis-Philippe, the largest collection of Oudry’s works in France has been preserved at the Château de Fontainebleau, where the hunting cartoons have undergone ambitious restoration.
From October 13, 2024, visitors are invited to discover a major exhibition highlighting the exceptional work of court painter Jean-Baptiste Oudry. For the first time, the incomparably fresh tapestries of the Infant Don Philippe de Parme, woven on cartons from Fontainebleau, will be presented side by side.

Exhibition in the Salle de la Belle Cheminée, accessible with château admission ticket.
General curator: Muriel Barbier, Director of Heritage and Collections, Château de Fontainebleau
Curator: Oriane Beaufils, Director of Collections, Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild Vincent Cochet, Chief Curator, Château de Fontainebleau
Every day except Tuesday.

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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.

We would like to inform you that the chateau will be exceptionally closed on Wednesday 24 April morning. It will reopen from 1 p.m., under the usual conditions. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

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