A Travellerspoint blog

Day 61

Chateau de Fontainebleau

sunny 23 °C

Our first picture today is of the sunset last night from the outskirts of Paris. The Eiffel Tower is small in the sunset.

Sunset over Paris June 22, 2018

Sunset over Paris June 22, 2018

Morning greeted us today, bright and blue. We are happy about that. The high temperature today was 23 C or 73 F which was very pleasant.

Our plan for today was to visit the Chateau de Fontainebleau which was a French Royal Family home. It was a preferred hunting lodge for many kings and Napoleon. The keep or central part of this chateau is the only remaining part of the original chateau. The earliest records of this building date back to 1137.

We are not well educated in the history of France and its rulers. We will try to give you just a simple version of the history of this chateau. King Francis 1 who was king from 1515 to 1547 started the modern renovations of the chateau. He chose the Golden Gate which was inspired by Italian architecture. He also started the royal apartments and ballroom which are built around the oval courtyard. This project was completed by King Henry II, who was king from 1547 - 1559. He was also involved with building the Belle Chiminee Wing with the impressive Imperial Staircase. King Henri IV ruled from 1589 to 1610. Henry IV added many substantial wings to the chateau. Louis XV ruled from 1715 to 1754. He removed some of the buildings and built even more spacious ones. The rooms were redecorated and repurposed by many kings and queens.

The chateau was stripped of its furniture during the French Revolution but the buildings were spared. Napoleon 1 returned it to its status of an imperial residence and had it refurbished. Some buildings were torn down and replaced by Napoleon III.

Much of the furniture that we saw today was from the time of Napoleon 1 and Napoleon III. This chateau is a UNESCO Heritage site. Work has been done to restore and maintain the rooms and furnishings.

We did an audio tour of the chateau. We were there for five hours. We toured the building and then took a rubber-tired train ride around the gardens and park. We ate our lunch and then started on our way to our lodgings for tonight. We did not take photos of the interior of the chateau.

Our first glimpse of Fontainebleau

Our first glimpse of Fontainebleau

A picture taken from the opposite side of the "Carp Pond" to show the back of the chateau

A picture taken from the opposite side of the "Carp Pond" to show the back of the chateau


Picture of the back of the chateau from the English Garden

Picture of the back of the chateau from the English Garden

The grand canal which is one kilometre long and took eight days to fill with water - built by King Henry 1V at the beginning of the 1600's

The grand canal which is one kilometre long and took eight days to fill with water - built by King Henry 1V at the beginning of the 1600's


Four Sphinx statues in the garden near the grand canal.  These sphinxes are part woman and part lion.

Four Sphinx statues in the garden near the grand canal. These sphinxes are part woman and part lion.


The rubber-tired train on which we took the tour

The rubber-tired train on which we took the tour

Today there were many weddings and wedding pictures taken by this staircase. The French still ride around in their cars after the wedding blowing their horns like we used to do in Canada in the 1960's. We experienced this last weekend in the beach community that we stayed in and today in the community around the chateau.

The Imperial Staircase

The Imperial Staircase

You can have a horse and wagon tour of the gardens and park.  This was popular with young families.

You can have a horse and wagon tour of the gardens and park. This was popular with young families.


Interesting light fixtures

Interesting light fixtures

Impressive front gates

Impressive front gates

We are spending the night in a Bed & Breakfast in Nogent-sur-Seine. Our hostess asked us if we were in town for the wedding. We said, "No". She said she heard Canadians were invited to the wedding and thought that might be why we were here. Tonight, we are watching another Football (Soccer) game from Russia, Germany and Sweden. It is half-time. The score is Germany 0 and Sweden 1.

The view out of our window.

The view out of our window.

Tomorrow we travel on to Vimy Ridge.

Posted by A-RPoulton 12:34 Archived in France

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