To mark the end of summer, my husband and I decided to go for a picnic with his parents. We thought Fontainebleau will be the perfect place, they have beautiful park and we get to visit the castle. Fontainebleau is famous for its forest, where you can do activities like horse riding, rock climbing and hiking. You can have a picnic in the castle’s outside park but not the gardens inside the castle. So we decide to have a picnic just by the canal!
Fontainebleau isn’t too far from Paris, you can get there via train from Gare De Lyon for Montereau-Fault-Yonne or Laroche Migennes or Montargis get off at Fontainebleau Avon stop. Then take bus no 1 directions Les Lilas Château and get off at Poste-Château stop. So if you are looking for a day trip I think it’s the perfect place, because it is not as crowded as Versailles. And this is one of the castle that wasn’t attacked during the revolution, and was still used up until Napoleon III era.
Fontainebleau is famous for its opulence, as many french kings have made it their home, each one of them redecorate and expand the château according to their needs. The château itself was first built in the early 1137. It was then rebuilt by François I, he was then inspired by Italian Architecture, you can see many Italian Renaissance influence in the design and decoration of the building.
It is quite interesting to see the many different style and arts that influence this château. Every king has made a mark, whether it’s an extension of a wing, a chapel or even the way their apartments were decorated. It’s like you can see the different era distinctively as you walk from one sections of the château to another. The detailed and opulent decorations are evident everywhere even its door knobs, windows handles and the curtains tassels. Not too mentions the furnitures, beds and the powder room.
Napoleon Bonaparte took up residence here and refurnished the château back to it’s glory after the revolutions. Here you can also find the Napoleon Museum, where they exhibit his regalia and the story of his life. The even create a mock up tent to show how he was living when he was in battle. Sad for him, he was also abdicated here.
You also need to spend some time exploring the garden, especially if it’s a sunny day. You can also hire a paddle boat and enjoy the château’ beautiful pond. It has the largest French Style formal garden in Europe design by Le Nôtre, Louis XIV’s gardener and there is also the English garden with its beautiful landscapes and trees.
While you are there, look out for all the different symbols and initials around the château and see how many you can find!