City/town hall of Fontainebleau!

Well if you have been reading my blog over the years (since 2010) you will know my attachment to certain cities/towns in my belle France. One of them is Fontainebleau which was the first castle ever I visited in France because been from my dear late wife Martine home dept 77 Seine et Marne. I have several posts on Fontainebleau in my blog but not on a particular building. The city/town hall or mairie or Hôtel de Ville!

The city of Fontainebleau is situated in the Seine-et-Marne department 77 in the ïle-de-France region, 57 km (about 35 miles) from Paris. The streets of Fontainebleau are wide with the main artery, called Rue Grande, stretching for 2,600 meters long. The transversal artery, which passes in front of the Church Saint Louis and the City/Town hall, extends on 1 200 meters. A few squares in the city of note are the place Solférino, the Place Denecourt, where the gate of the Jardin de Diane opens, the Place d’Armes or place François-Ier, the Place de l’Hotel-de-Ville, the Place de l’Étape-aux-Vins and the Place de la République. The city of Fontainebleau is served by the train station of Fontainebleau-Avon on the line Paris-Lyon – Montereau / Montargis (Transilien R); the stops of Fontainebleau-Forêt and Thomery, located on the same line, serve the Forest of Fontainebleau.

By road which my most times have been here there is the easiest from Paris along the A6B from Porte d’Italie to connect the road D637 connects to the road D607 and entering the city by the Avenue de Verdun, /Rue de la Paroisse to corner slight right onto Rue Grande and the City hall or Hôtel de Ville. As I usually come from Meaux here, we take the A140 to A4 to N36 at Melun take the D606 which is the bd du Maréchal Foch and it becomes the Rue Grande main street to Hôtel de Ville/castle.Just a bit over an hour both runs.

However, I like to tell you a bit now about the Hôtel de Ville or City Hall of Fontainebleau! Which I have overlook in the past , and is an interesting building from both architecture and history. The Hôtel de Ville or mayor’s office of the city of Fontainebleau has a longer history than official sites tells you. All has to do with the French revolution. In actuality, all started way back when conversations were held as far as 1584!


It all started with the Count of Maine which had always belonged to princes of the blood, the last was the Duke of Alençon, brother of Henry III who died in 1584, it is necessary to arrive at the letters of Louis XIV to find a duke of Maine, his son legitimated, Louis Auguste de Bourbon, born of Madame de Montespan, then aged 6 years. Shortly after, in 1678, that the king acquires the Hôtel de l’Epargne and as of 1679 appears the name of the Hôtel de Maine. The Hôtel de l’Epargne was located at rue Basse with a right of passage on the Rue Grande. The Hôtel de Maine since its creation is a property of the duke of Maine. On his death, his son Count d’Eu, the Duke of Penthievre inherits it and sells it to King Louis XVI , and the king installed the stables of the Vénerie. OK

The city council of 1784 established the headquarters of its administration in a local loaned by Louis XVI to the provost, at Place d’Armes, opposite the portal Henry IV, then the main entrance to the Château de Fontainebleau. This project included the construction, on the site of the provost, of an important city hall whose would have been endowed by the king without untied the purse. The work was begun and carried out even up to the first floor but suspended in 1788 due to insufficient resources, the French revolution stopped it all. The king, who had provided everything in the city, gave orders for the installation of offices a three-story house at the corner of rue Basse (now rue du Chateau) and Place d’Armes. This house, which included seventeen rooms in all, had a facade development of 5 tosses 3 perches on the same amount in depth. Sufficient for offices that were not busy at all, and for the accommodation of employees, it does not seem to have served regularly as a meeting place for the city….

As was not a doubt to ask the King or the Crown officials for favors, the Committee obtained permission from the Grand Master of Water and Forests, to meet at its hotel, rue Basse at the Maison d’Andigné, currently the École libre des frères (Free School of the brothers). The deliberations ,often very agitated took place in the auction room. At the provisional City/Town Hall was annexed a small adjoining house at rue Basse, to serve as a jail pending the construction of the City/Town Hall in the Place d’Armes. As the occupation was to be only temporary, no serious planning had been done for its special purpose, so the prisoners escaped with desperate ease for the unfortunate guardian who could not due much.

The new city of Fontainebleau, constituted under the events of 1789, held its meetings at the Hôtel des Eaux et Forets from 1790. But soon after, the forest service needing all its premises, a new displacement was necessary. The city council of that time would have been in great embarrassment . Very graciously it was granted to the city of Fontainebleau, in the castle itself, a local in waiting that the city could get a hotel,as that of Waters and Forests is no longer available and being otherwise insufficient to receive all the people called to the city/town hall. The inauguration took place on April 3, 1790; when the city threw its sights on the Hôtel du Maine, (see above) at that time occupied by the vénerie. This building had for it the advantage of being located on the main market square in the center of the city, and on the most advantageous location This is the current city/ hall whose reconstruction almost total occurred in 1865.

The new City/Town Hall was rebuilt in 1864 under Napoleon III, as a replica of that of Rueil-Malmaison (Hauts de Seine dept 92). The coat of arms of the city was conceded by Napoleon III in 1864. It is located at 40 rue Grande. In 1865, the mayor completely rebuilt the city/town hall in a renaissance style. In 1889, the city acquired the part that had been conceded during the French revolution. The last transformation of the City/Town Hall dates back to 1963. The mayor of the time destroyed the barn adjoining the City/Town Hall and instead built a modern building while using the same materials used for the rest of the City/town hall. And voilà, this is what you see today in Fontainebleau!

OF course, there are no specific tourist webs on the city hall but will give you the city hall and tourist office webpages of Fontainebleau to help you plan your trip here and it is a must!

City of Fontainebleau on things to do and see

Tourist office of Fontainebleau on heritage to see

And there you go another nice building in my belle France and nostalgic Seine et Marne dept 77 and historical architecturally stunning Fontainebleau! Hope you enjoy the tour.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!




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