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Overview

Set in the 50,000-acre Forêt de Fontainebleau, this spectacular Renaissance palace was the old hunting preserve of the kings of France. At the Farewell Court, on the famous horseshoe staircase designed by Du Cerceau, Napoleon bade his men farewell on April 20, 1814 before going into exile. Fontainebleau is smaller and more intimate than Versailles. The highlights of a visit to the château include the Gallery of François I, a gem of Renaissance architecture that Il Rosso built in 1533; the mid-16th-century Salle de Bal, a grand ballroom renowned for its mythological frescoes; and the Grands Appartements, where Louis XV married ...

Set in the 50,000-acre Forêt de Fontainebleau, this spectacular Renaissance palace was the old hunting preserve of the kings of France. At the Farewell Court, on the famous horseshoe staircase designed by Du Cerceau, Napoleon bade his men farewell on April 20, 1814 before going into exile. Fontainebleau is smaller and more intimate than Versailles. The highlights of a visit to the château include the Gallery of François I, a gem of Renaissance architecture that Il Rosso built in 1533; the mid-16th-century Salle de Bal, a grand ballroom renowned for its mythological frescoes; and the Grands Appartements, where Louis XV married Marie Leczinska. The surrounding forest is a magical retreat of ravines, wild gorges, Martian rock formations, and dark ponds. A beautiful area for hikes and picnics, it used to lure some of the greatest 19th-century painters, including Rousseau and Millet.

Danforth Prince
About the Expert

Darwin Porter and Danforth Prince have written many guidebooks for Frommer's, including Frommer's France and Frommer's Germany.

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Fontainebleau is a commune in the metropolitan area of Paris located 55.5 km south-southeast from the centre of Paris.
  • Language: French
  • Currency: Euro
  • Research: Paris | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Late spring, summer, early fall