Fontainebleau, the chimneys!

I am always fascinated by architecture and lucky to have plenty to see here in my belle France. Architecture usually goes hand and hand with history , which I like too. Therefore, what better combination than to visit Fontainebleau in Seine et Marne dept 77 of the Ïle de France region. And only about 57 km (about 35 miles) from Paris.

I like to have memories and nowdays even more. I remember Fontainebleau castle as it was the property in Seine et Marne dept 77 that my late wife Martine, took me first to show me her department/region back in 1990. We have come here ever since,and it is one of my favorite castles been friend of the association that helps protect its heritage (see post).  And once in town head for the castle and check out its chimneys, lovely things so richly done and in some of the most beautiful rooms of the Château de Fontainebleau. I like to tell you a bit on the chimneys.

The Salle Saint-Louis and its chimney. There are two rooms maintain, by their very name, the memory of the most famous sovereign of the Middle Ages: Louis IX, known as Saint Louis. It is indeed in the second room housed in the thickness of the old wall of the keep that was installed, since the Middle Ages, the King’s bedroom. When the room changed location in the 17C, this room was demoted to an antechamber, that is to say a clear and spacious room, furnished with benches, where one waits to be introduced to the sovereign . On the other side of the arcade, the marble equestrian figure of King Henri IV , a vestige of a monumental fireplace from the end of the 16C, was installed at the entrance to the King’s apartment ,the most loved of kings; Louis IX.


The Salon François I chimney. This living room was, in the 16C, the bedroom of Queen Eleanor of Austria, wife of François I. When the queen’s bedroom was moved in the 17C, it became the second antechamber of the queen. It is here that the courtiers waited to be able to access the room in order to witness the great rising and great sleeping of the sovereign. During the Renaissance, this illustrious piece was decorated by Primatice. Of all its decoration of stucco and frescoes, only the chimney remains, a heavy massive square whose central motif, on the hood, forms a painted medallion representing the loves of Venus and Adonis. The fireplace forced admiration for the centuries that followed and gave the room a Renaissance tone. In 1865, under the reign of Napoleon III, the living room was indeed completed by the installation of five tapestries of the Gobelins, executed at the end of the 17C after a Flemish Renaissance; “ Les chasses de l’Empereur Maximilien” or the hunts of the Emperor Maximilian, grandfather of the former occupant of these places, Queen Éléonore.


Salon des Officiers chimney  or Officers’ Lounge. This reception room is decorated with Gobelins tapestries representing “L’Évanouissement d’Esther” or the fainting of Esther , and Joseph and his brothers after cartoons by Mignard, dated 1687. Above the door, two paintings representing muses: Clio , Calliope, Érato, Euterpe and Terpsichore. The furniture consists of a set from the 17C to which are added copies of the 19C in the Louis XIV and Louis XV style. On the fireplace is a Louis XVI style pendulum.


Bureau de l’Empereur (first part and chimney) or Imperial Office of the Emperor .This room is located on the site of the former baths of François Ier, and half of the dining room of Louis XVI. The Louis XVI style cornice was completed under the Empire, while the chimneys were laid in 1862, date on which several paintings are embedded in the wall: Concert d’oiseaux par Frans Snyders (birds concert), Oiseaux de proie s’abattant sur des canards sauvages dans un marais par Jan Fyt (birds of pray killing wild ducks in a swamp), Oiseaux et deux lièvres anonym (birds and two hares anonymous), Perroquet, faisan blanc et spatule anonyme or parrot,white pheasant and spatule anonymous), and twelve anonymous paintings representing pigeons and ten anonymous paintings representing hawks, as well as two studies: Canards et Aigles or ducks and eagles. The furniture consists in particular of a mahogany chair, a cylinder desk 1806 ,and sconces with a branch of 1808.


The salon des Tapisseries or the tapestry room . This room was the former Queen’s Guard Room before becoming an ante-room itself. With the lightening of the label in the 19C, the old anterooms of the apartment lost their sobriety to become rich and comfortable reception rooms. The Tapestry Room was indeed completely redesigned in 1835 under the reign of the last king of Fontainebleau, Louis Philippe I, and received a superb carpentry ceiling with octagonal boxes. The new lounge was furnished, by Louis-Philippe, with family tables around which the King, the Queen and the princesses gathered. Louis-Philippe took pleasure in seeing his family gathered around him and savoring the beauty of ancient works. Passionate about history, he collected historical furniture to his taste, such as luxurious Boulle marquetry pieces from the 17C or old tapestries enhanced with gold from the beginning of the 17C, representing the main episodes in the history of Psyche.


And there you go some magnificent chimneys or fireplaces that needs to be in my blog and on my beloved Château de Fontainebleau, a must to see while in France. Hope you enjoy this most architecturally and historical post.

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

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