JUL 14,2019 - JUL 14,2019 (1 DAYS)
Chateau de Fontainebleau:
How to arrive from Paris: The best time: Take the train (Line R) from Gare de Lyon on SUN 10.16. Price: 9.80 euros. There is a trainfrom Gare de Lyon to Avon-Fontainebleau every 30 minutes. It takes 40 minutes to arrive to Avon-Fontainebleau. You can buy this ticket in every train station, at the counter and the machines, with you credit card and cash. Mobilis Day Ticket available for the 5 zones of the Île-de-France network : 17,80 € (both directions). From there catch bus line 1 (on Sundays - every 1/2 hour) (2 euros) to the Chateau de Fontainebleau.
You can enter the Fontainebleau from the Jardin de Diane. It is the first garden of the Fontainebleu complex to hit when you are walking from the bus stop. The Diana Garden is the former garden of the Queen. Its name comes from the fountain (17th century) which occupies its centre. This garden is limited by the "Galerie des Cerfs" built under Henry IVth (Deer Gallery), the small apartments (Louis XVIth), the Trinity Chapel, the Real Tennis court and separated from the town by a wall with some openings.This garden was closed off until the 19th century by buildings whose destruction, following the purchase of a strip of adjoining land, allowed expansion towards the town. An English-style formal garden.
From this garden we advance to the main entrance of the castle/palace. Chapelle de la Trinité is the first impressive building we see (on our left). Former conventual church of the monks Mathurins installed by Saint Louis, it was attached to the castle under Francoise I. Rebuilt from this reign and under that of Henry II, it receives the current vault under Henry IV. Its exceptional decor typical of the Second School of Fontainebleau foreshadows the Baroque style.
Ceiling of the Holy Trinity Chapel of Fontainebleau Palace by Zairon:
The Château de Fontainebleau has one of the largest collection of antique furniture in France. The Château de Fontainebleau has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1981 and is listed as a historical monument by the 1862 list. The Château de Fontainebleau is a museum and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and justly, as it predates the Louvre by 50 years, and Versailles by 5 centuries. French royal families such as Capétiens, Valois, Bourbons, Bonaparte and Orléans have all resided within its walls, and it is the only royal castle in France to have been steadily lived in for eight centuries straight. So why isn’t it as famous as it’s other château counterparts? It could be because although the castles was always inhabited, it was only for a few months out of the year, as the château is what one could call a glorified hunting lodge. The forest of Fontainebleau is the second largest national forest in France, perfect for all of those French kings who enjoyed hunting. It remains a mystery as to why the Château de Fontainebleau has remained in the background as far as famous French castles go, but do yourself a favor and take a visit.
History of the castle: The medieval castle: The medieval castle, attested from 1137, only the dungeon remains. The location of the medieval castle is mentioned in a charter of Louis VII the younger, but the exact date of the foundation remains unknown. The first building was probably built under the reign of Philip I or his son Louis VI. At Christmas 1191, Philippe-Auguste celebrated at Fontainebleau the return of his first crusade. The castle is enlarged under the reign of Saint-Louis who called it "his deserts". Philippe-le-Bel is the first king to be born at the castle in 1268, and had apartments built in 1286. He died there in 1314 after a fall from his horse and a long agony. The castle of the Renaissance: from 1528, François 1st rebuilds the castle. The Golden Gate, inspired by Italian architecture, marks the entrance to the Oval Court, around which the royal apartments and the Ballroom unfold, completed under Henry II. This courtyard is connected to a secondary courtyard, today a court of honor, by the François 1er gallery. The wing of the Belle Cheminée, designed by Primatice, with its astonishing double-railed staircase, is an accomplished example of the Italian renaissance adapted for France. In the seventeenth century: Henry IV is the other great builder of the castle. He opens and enlarges the Oval court, endows it with the Baptistery door, named after the baptism of the future Louis XIII. She faces a new court of Commons or Uffizi court. Henri IV also build the wing housing two galleries superimposed, the galleries of Diane and Deer, the Aviary and the Jeu de Paume. In the eighteenth century: Louis XV had the old gallery of Ulysses replaced by a more spacious building and build the big pavilion designed by Gabriel in 1750. At the revolution, the castle is emptied of its furniture, but the buildings are spared. In the 19th century : Napoleon 1st made it his imperial residence which he remodeled. The wing of Ferrara is destroyed and replaced by the current grid. Under the reign of Louis-Philippe, the Aviary is shot. The works under Napoleon IIII mainly focus on interior decorations.
Restrooms: Free restrooms are located at the start and the end of the château tour routes. Handicapped restrooms are located on the ground floor, opposite the model of the château. There are paying restrooms in the Cour de la Fontaine.
We shall pass near the main entrance to the Fontainebleau Castl / Palace on our way to the English Garden:
The Castle/palace Gardens: These royal and imperial gardens are witnesses to the evolution of taste since the 16th until the 19th century in terms of landscaping. The Renaissance gardens created for Francis Ist and Henry IVth were mainly based upon a system of draining canals which started from the different wells and the carp pond and lead to the great canal.
The English garden / Jardin Anglais: The English garden was created in its present shape under the reign of Napoleon Ist. It is organised around an artificial romantic creek. Its valley like landscape integrates some sculptures and rare species of trees and plants. Called Garden of Pines under François 1st and constituted of multiple gardens. It was redrawn under the reign of Louis XIV, then remodeled under the reign of Napoleon 1st by Hurtault. It presents picturesque landscapes, thanks to its river and its winding alleys, its artificial rock and its remarkable collection of exotic species. The English Garden borders the Carp Pond (see below):
Jardin Anglais from the Palace windows:
The main building of the Fontainebleau Palace from the English Garden:
The Grand Parterre: The Grand Parterre (Huge flowerbed) was created later in a very humid part situated between the carp pond and the canal. Under the reign of Louis XIVth, this "parterre" (the biggest one in Europe) will adopt a very classical appearance du to André Le Nôtre who conceived a real perspective leading from the pond to the canal with the fountain of "Tibre" in the centre of the parterre. This royal parterre reaches from the Maintenon alley to the cascades, from the ballroom and the quarter Henry IVth to the side perspective of "Saut du Loup" (the wolf hop). This is the largest French-style formal garden in Europe and has retained the geometric layout designed by Le Nôtre, Louis XIV’s gardener, although its box hedge ’embroidery’ no longer exists. In the summer you can admire its 45,000 flowering plants.
The Grand Parterre from the Ball Room:
The Park :
Beyond the Grand Parterre, extends the park and the canal which extends its perspective. The length of the canal, built under the reign of Henry IV reaches 1200 meters.
The Carp Pond, which dates back to the Middle Ages, is bordering this garden. In the centre of the pond the architect Louis Le Vau constructed a romantic pavilion under Louis XIVth (1662).
The Main Entrance to Fontainebleau Palace behind the Grand Parterre:
The Grand Parterre - view from from one of the side entrances:
Between the Entrance and the Carp Pond:
The Grandes Apartments include: Gallery of Francis I, Ballroom, St. Saturnin's Chapel, Room of the Guards, Stairway of the King, Queen's Bedroom, Boudoir of Marie-Antoinette, Throne Room of Napoleon (former bedroom of the King), Council Chamber, Apartment of the Pope and of the Queen-Mothers, Gallery of Diana.
The François 1er Gallery:
The gallery was started by François 1st in 1528 to connect the royal apartments, at the bottom, to the chapel of the Trinity. The Gallery of Francis I is one of the first and finest examples of Renaissance decoration in France. It was originally constructed in 1528 as a passageway between the apartments of the King with the oval courtyard and the chapel of the convent Trinitaires, but in 1531 Francis I made it a part of his royal apartments, and between 1533 and 1539 it was decorated by artists and craftsmen from Italy, unFiorentino: Rosso Florentino, follower of Michelangelo, and a little later, Primatice, artist of the court of Mantua. The lower walls of the passage were the work of the master Italian furniture maker Francesco Scibec da Carpi:
- a paneling carved woodwork and enhanced with golden patterns. We can see the F of François 1er, his emblem the salamander, and the royal arms, the three lilies,
- stuccoes, carved decorations made with plaster and marble powder,
- frescoes painted directly on the walls, from the Italian affrescho, painted on fresh plaster.
On the side of gallery with windows, the frescoes represent Ignorance Driven Out; The Unity of the State; Cliobis and Biton; Danae; The Death of Adonis; The Loss of Perpetual Youth; and The Battle of the Centaurs and the Lapithes. On the side of the gallery facing the windows, the frescoes represent: A Sacrifice; The Royal Elephant; The Burning of Catane; The Nymph of Fontainebleau (painted in 1860–61 by J. Alaux to cover a former entry to the gallery); The Sinking of Ajax;The Education of Achilles and The Frustration of Venus.
Seduced by the Italian Renaissance during his military campaigns, François 1er called on Italian artists trained in the latest fashion: These Italian masters introduce a new style of decoration, where are associated clothing:
Salon de Francois I:
Bedroom of Anne of Austria, 1601-66, wife of King Louis XIII: The room is decorated by Charles Errard and Gilbert de Seve c. 1660. The Renaissance style sculpted walnut furniture, (four-poster bed, 2 bedside tables, 2 commodes, a console sofa, 6 armchairs, 6 chairs and 2 footstools) was delivered in 1860 by the house of Fourdinois. The 2 tapestries depict the Triumph of Mars and the Triumph of Religion, from cartoons by Noel Coypel, 1628-1707.
Salon de Recreation:
Le Grand Chaplain:
Salle de Graves:
The Council Chamber, where the Kings and Emperors met their closest advisors, was close to the Throne Room. It was originally the office of Francis I, and was decorated with painted wooden panels showing following designs of Primatice, the virtues and the heroes of antiquity. The room was enlarged under Louis XIV, and the decorator, Claude Audran, followed the same theme. The room was entirely redecorated between 1751 and 1754 by the architect Ange-Jacques Gabriel, with arcades and wooded panels showing the virtues, and allegories of the seasons and the elements, painted by Jean-Baptiste Marie Pierre and Carle van Loo. The painter Alexis Peyrotte added another series of medallions on the upper walls depicting floral themes, the sciences and arts. The five paintings on the vaulted ceiling were the work of François Boucher, and show the seasons and the sun beginning his journey and chasing away the night. A half-rotonda on the garden side of the room was added by Louis XV in 1773, with a painted ceiling by Lagrenée depicting Glory surrounded by his children:
Two non-identified rooms in the Grandes Apartements:
When Napoleon Bonaparte founded his empire, he chose Fontainebleau as his favorite residence, calling it ‘the King’s true home’ and ‘house of the centuries’. He also refurbished the state apartments and lived there during the last days of his reign before he abdicated on April 6th, 1814. What you see today is very much as he left the château.
Ivory sculpture of Napoleon from Belgium:
Tapestry depicting Napoleon:
For more halls and rooms in the Fontainebleu Palce - see Tip 2 below.
Tip 2: Chateau de Fontainebleau (cont.):
Portrait of Napoleon:
Chambre de la Duchesse d'Etampes: François I mistress, Duchess d’Etampes, is suitably decorated with scenes of Alexander the Great’s amorous exploits:
The Ballroom: The ballroom completes the glorious rooms, again covered in frescoes and making a wonderful room for the balls that so impressed the royal guests. Commissioned by François 1er to Gilles Le Breton, the ballroom was completed by Philibert Delorme during the reign of Henry II. The carpentry was entrusted to François Scibec de Carpi and Niccolo dell'Abbate took charge of the paintings, according to drawings by Primatice. This room 30 meters long and 10 meters wide has been the subject of various restorations. These frescoes, 58 in number, were painted from 1552 and restored twice: under Henri IV, by Toussaint Dubreuil, then in 1834, by Jean Alaux:
The lower chapel Saint Saturnin (Chapelle Saint Saturnia): The lower chapel St. Satu RNIN occupies the site of the chapel consecrated by St. Thomas Becket in 1169. It had disappeared under François I er so she was rebuilt. Restored under Louis-Philippe, she then receives the large stained glass windows of Sèvres designed by Princess Marie, his daughter, and made by Emile Wattier.
Salle Louis XII: This large room was originally the king's cabinet, in other words the office in which the king exercised his royal function, his profession of king. If this room bears the name of the sovereign Louis XIII, son of Henry IV and Marie de Medici, it is because this king was born in these walls, September 27, 1601. At the birth of a Dauphin, who rooted the young Bourbon dynasty, Henry IV, it is said, shed tears "as big as peas." The child will be baptized in the Oval court (visible through the window) five years later, receiving the name "Louis", who will be the next four Bourbon kings. Henry IV thus recalls, at the foot of the keep where Saint-Louis lived in the 13th century, that he is the legitimate descendant of the illustrious Capetian. This room is decorated with paintings on all sides, executed by Amboise Dubois, great name of the "second school of Fontainebleau" due to the artistic patronage of Henri IV. They represent the mythological cycle very popular in the seventeenth century, Théagène and Chariclée, telling a long story with many episodes, continuing even in the intervous beams! The room is now furnished with Second Empire furniture.
The Gallery of Diana, an eighty-meter long corridor now lined with bookcases, was created by Henry IV at the beginning of the 17th century as a place for the Queen to promenade. The paintings on the vaulted ceiling, painted beginning in 1605 by Ambroise Dubois and his workshop, represented scenes from the myth of Diana, goddess of the Hunt. At the beginning of the 19th century, the gallery was in ruins. In 1810 Napoleon decided to turn it into a gallery devoted the achievements of his Empire. A few of the paintings still in good condition were removed and put in the Gallery of Plates. The architect Hurtault designed a new plan for the gallery, inspired by the Grand Gallery of the Louvre, featuring paintings on the ceiling illustrating the great events of Napoleon's reign. By 1814 the corridor had been rebuilt and the decorative painted frames painted by the Moench and Redouté, but the cycle of paintings on the Empire had not been started, when Napoleon fell from power. Once the monarchy was restored, King Louis XVIII had the gallery completed in a neoclassical style. A new series of the goddess Diana was done by Merry-Joseph Blondel and Abel de Pujol, using the painted frames prepared for Napoleon's cycle. Paintings were also added along the corridor, illustrating the history of the French monarchy, painted in the Troubador style of the 1820s and 1830s, painted by a team of the leading academic painters. Beginning in 1853, under Napoleon III, the corridor was turned into a library and most of the paintings were removed, with the exception of a large portrait of Henry IV on horseback by Jean-Baptiste Mauzaisse. The large globe near the entrance of the gallery, placed there in 1861, came from the office of Napoleon in the Tuileries Palace.
The White Salon (Salon Blanc):
Grand Salon de L'imperative:
Chambre de L'imperative:
The bedchamber of the Queens: All of the Queens and Empresses of France from Marie de Medici to the Empress Eugènie, slept in the bedchamber of the Queen. The ornate ceiling over the bed was made in 1644 by the furniture-maker Guillaume Noyers for the Dowager Queen Anne of Austria, the mother of Louis XIV, and bears her initials. The room was redecorated by Marie Leszczynska, the Queen of Louis XV in 1746–1747. The ceiling of the alcove, the decoration around the windows and the wood panelling were made by Jacques Vererckt and Antoine Magnonais in the rocaille style of the day. The decoration of the fireplace dates to the same period. The doors have an arabesque design, and were made for Marie-Antoinette, as were the sculpted panels over the doors, installed in 1787. The bed was also made specially for Marie Antoinette, but did not arrive until 1797, after the Revolution and her execution. it was used instead by Napoleon's wives, the Empress Josephine and Marie-Louise of Austria. The walls received their ornamental textile covering, with a design of flowers and birds, in 1805. It was restored in 1968–1986 using the original fabric as a model. The furniture in the room all dates to the First Empire. The balustrade around the bed was originally made for the throne room of the Tuileries Palace in 1804. The armchairs with a sphinx pattern, the consoles and screen and the two chests of drawers were placed in the room in 1806.
Continue below with Tip 3.
Throne Room of Napoleon (former bedroom of the King) (Salle de Trione): The throne room was the bedroom of the Kings of France from Henry IV to Louis XVI. In 1808 Napoleon decided to install his throne in the former bedroom of the Kings of France from Henry IV to Louis XVI, on the place where the royal bed had been. Under the Old Regime, the King's bed was a symbol of royal authority in France and was saluted by courtiers who passed by it. Napoleon wanted to show the continuity of his Empire with the past monarchies of France. The majority of the carved wood ceiling, the lower part of the wood paneling, and the doors date to the reign of Louis XIII. The ceiling directly over the throne was made at the end of the reign of Louis XIV. Louis XV created the portion of the ceiling directly over the throne, a new chimney, sculpted wooden medallions near the fireplace, the designs over the doors, and the fine carved woodwork facing the throne (1752–54). He also had the ceiling painted white and gilded and decorated with mosaics, to match the ceiling of the bedroom of the Queen. Napoleon added the standards with his initial and the Imperial eagle. The decoration around the throne was originally designed in 1804 by Jacob-Desmalter for the Palace of Saint-Cloud, and the throne itself came from the Tuileries Palace. The chimney was originally decorated with a portrait of Louis XIII painted by Philippe de Champaigne, which was burned in 1793 during the French Revolution. Napoleon replaced it with a portrait of himself, by Robert Lefèvre. In 1834, King Louis-Philippe took down Napoleon's picture and replaced with another of Louis XIII, from a painter of the school of Champaigne.
Emperor's bedroom (Chambre de l'Empereur): Beginning in 1808, Napoleon had his bedroom in the former dressing room of the King. From this room, using a door hidden behind the drapery to the right of the bed, Napoleon could go directly to his private library or to the offices on the ground floor. Much of the original decor was unchanged from the time of Louis XVI; the fireplaces, the carved wooden panels sculpted by Pierre-Joseph LaPlace and the sculpture over the door by Sauvage remained as they were. The walls were painted with Imperial emblems in gold on white by Frederic-Simon Moench. The bed, made especially for the Emperor, was the summit of the Empire style; it was crowned with an imperial eagle and decorated with allegorical sculptures representing Glory, Justice, and Abundance. The Emperor had a special carpet made by Sallandrouze in the shape of the cross of the Legion of Honor; the branches of the cross alternate with symbols of military and civilian attributes. The chairs near the fireplace were specially designed, with one side higher than the other, to contain the heat from the fire while allowing the occupants to see the decorations of the fireplace. The painting on the ceiling of the room was added later, after the downfall of Napoleon, by Louis XVIII. Painted by Jean-Baptiste Regnault, it is an allegory representing The clemency of the King halting justice in its course. The Salon of the Emperor was simply furnished and decorated. It was in this room, on the small table on display, that the Emperor signed his abdication in 1814.
The Chapel of the Trinity was built under Francis I and decorated at the end of the reign of Henry IV. The apse representing "Noah bringing his family into the ark" is the work of Martin Fréminet, an admirer of Michelangelo, whose influence is at home so obvious that it often turns to the pure and simple copy . The poses performed by the characters, their musculature, all evoke the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel.
We leave the Fontainebleu Palace and head to the city of Fontainebleau. We recommend visiting the Eglise Saint-Louis. The church Saint-Louis is a catholic church located at Fontainebleau ( Seine-et-Marne ) at 2 rue de la Paroisse, in the diocese of Meaux . It is the parish church of the city, not far from the castle of Fontainebleau. The church has been undergoing renovations and restorations for a number of years. The exterior is rather attractive while the interior is pleasant but not over-the-top. Entrance is free but because it is an active church be aware that services may be taking place. Bus No 1 - taking you to the Railway Station - is opposite the church.