Fontainebleau, just under 40 miles south of Paris, is the perfect destination for a break combining relaxation and discovery. With history, culture and the great outdoors, you won't have time to get bored!
Obviously, Fontainebleau is famous for its chateau and its forest. Lovers of history and the great outdoors will be delighted. But the town and the surrounding area are also full of other surprises.
You can start your visit in the town centre and discover the town's history and its heritage by following the historic sandstone route. Fontainebleau will dazzle you with its charming squares, such as Place d’Armes, Place du Marché with the Église Saint-Louis, and Place du Général de Gaulle, which leads straight to the chateau via the "Cour des Adieux", as immortalised by Napoleon.
You can then start exploring the Palace of Fontainebleau. “The true home of kings, the house of ages” as Napoleon described it, can be explored with a tour of the Grands Appartements, the ballroom, the Francis I gallery and the throne room. Discover the luxurious living environment of the 34 sovereigns who have lived there. Several additional tours are also on offer, or you can simply admire the architecture, inspired by Italian palaces, as commissioned by Francis I when construction began in 1528.
It would be a shame not to explore the forest of Fontainebleau. Spread over 25,000 hectares, it is a sheer delight for nature lovers, with an abundant diversity of wildlife and plant life. A number of hiking trails are also available for visitors, some of which start in the town centre, and it's also a popular spot with climbing enthusiasts, owing to its rocky and sometimes rugged terrain.
But Fontainebleau's appeal doesn't end there. Did you know that it was also the equestrian capital? The town has impressive facilities, such as the Grand Parquet and the Hippodrome de la Solle, and hosts major equestrian events. You can also explore the surrounding area, like Barbizon, which is famous for having inspired the first Impressionist painters, the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte and Samois-sur-Seine, which hosts the Django Reinhardt festival.
There are several options for travelling to Fontainebleau: Fontainebleau-Avon train station is on the Paris-Lyon line, and the town is also easy to get to by car. For those who prefer to fly, Roissy and Orly airports are within easy reach of Fontainebleau, with transfers by public transport or by car.
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