We do have a Fontainebleau!!!

Oh yes one of my favorite castles of France and my first ever visited back in 1990, when I came to be shown this castle by my girlfriend then wife of 28 years, my dear late Martine! It has a love affair ever since ,and proud member of the Friends of the castle. It has so much in architecture and history of France, its huge and of course of the world.

Let me tell you some areas not have touch base much yet and they are sublime. These I believe… are new pictures into my blog from various years. Oh yes ,we do have a Fontainebleau!

Between 1856 and 1858, Empress Eugenie undertook a complete renovation of the furnishings in her grand salon at the Château de Fontainebleau. Her choice fell on Louis XVI period furniture from two distinct sets which were covered with the same fabric with a white background embroidered with flowers; these were two sofas from the Garde-Meuble (the storage of royal belonging by the French govt)   belonging to a larger set and a series of richly decorated seats. And sculptures taken from the throne room and the chapel of the Château de Fontainebleau. Then she had another Louis XVI piece of painted wood furniture placed, which she then sent to the Petit Trianon. The most striking element in her approach was that she arranged in Fontainebleau antique furniture and not of style as can be seen in the large salons of the other imperial residences.

The dining table, place of the spectacle of power since the Ancien Régime, becomes for the Emperor the stake of a staging with great pomp of his regime reviving the monarchical tradition. Evolving in the codes of the old monarchy, the Emperor resuscitates, on the occasion of his marriage to Marie-Louise on April 1, 1810, a ceremonial large table where the monarchical etiquette reigns around a table drawn up with the large vermeil, some exceptional pieces of which are presented in the glass cabinet windows.

fontainebleau imperial dining room side jun15

The Grand Parterre or large garden, or even king’s garden was created under François Ier, and redrawn under Henri IV then redrawn by André Le Nôtre. The Tiber and Romulus basins take their name from a sculptural group that adorned them successively in the 16C and 17C. Melted during the French revolution, the Tiber, cast again after the original preserved in the Louvre, has now regained its place. The central basin was adorned in 1817 with a basin succeeding a rock-shaped fountain called the « pot bouillant » or boiling pot which existed on this site in the 17C. Enclosed by walls between 1528 and 1533, it was imagined a pleasure pavilion for this garden. Arranged between 1660 and 1664, it included scrolls forming the figures of King Louis XIV and Queen Mother Anne of Austria, which disappeared in the 18C. The terraces were planted with lime trees under Napoleon I. The waterfalls basin was built in 1661-1662 at the end of the Parterre, but since the 18C, it has only a basin with niches decorated with marble. The basin is decorated in its center, since 1866, with an Eagle defending its prey in bronze.To recap, the Bassin de Romulus, created by André le Nôtre between 1660- 1664 is the central basin in a square shape . In the round basin there is the statue to Tiber near the forest done in resin as souvenir of the bronze melted during the French revolution.

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Today it is the only Napoleonic salle du Trône or throne room still in existence with its furniture. The Grand Salon and the Empress’s bedroom are also in a First Empire state. Napoleon’s interior apartment was completely refurbished from 1804. The most spectacular room remains the Emperor’s bedroom which was then the bedroom of all the sovereigns until 1870. The small bedroom, the living room particular known as the « salon de l’Abdication » or abdication room, the « passage des bains » or alley of the baths, the living room of the field helpers constitute the continuation of an apartment magnificently restored from 1987 to 1995. The Small apartments of the Emperor and the Empress installed on the ground floor under the François Ier gallery were fitted out in 1808 and 1810 and reserved for the personal use of the imperial couple.

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In the Grand Parterre then in the courtyards of the Castle, you can walk along the aqueducts of François I and Henri IV, and will see the very complex water networks that are in particular the Cour Henri IV, Place d’Armes and Cour des Adieux. You can trace where the foundations of the first Saint Saturninus Chapel consecrated by Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury are located, foundations that have been sought for a long time. In the Jardin de Diane, it has been found the bases of the Fontaine de la Volière, the foundations of another chapel, the limits of the Orangery and the Galerie des Chevreuils, as well as an underground passage starting from the Oval Court and going towards the Porte des Mathurins.

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At Fontainebleau ,the water follows a fairly complex topography between high points and low point: the Grand Canal occupies the course of the Changis stream or creek and is located with the Grande Prairie at the bottom of three steep slopes. The Porte Blanche or white gate and the Porte Rouge or red gate, which have kept their original names, are located about 17 meters and 14 meters above the level of the Grand Canal respectively. The Miroir is at about 11 meters, the Pépinière at 12.5 meters, and the Grand Parterre at about 5 meters. The Ponds are at an altitude of 20 meters lower than that of the Porte Blanche. The Porte Blanche becomes a very frequented entrance to the Castle from the moment the train arrives at Avon in 1849. From the Porte Blanche veins leave at high volume towards the Porte de Changis, towards the Ponds, both at a altitude 20 meters lower, and towards the Napoleon’s Fountain where you can observe a change in the direction of flow of the waterfalls.

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A unique spot at least by us is the Place d’Armes, which is in the neighborhood of Henri IV in Fontainebleau. The square is dominated by the Grand Portail, worthy of a royal entrance. The Oval Court of François Ier , built on the medieval site, was the heart of the Castle. Henry IV decided to precede it with a forecourt to house his kitchens, hence the name of the Cour des Offices or the Uffizi Court. But since it also provided space for the mounts and cars of its guests, he made it the main entrance to the castle. The ensemble was built between 1606 and 1609. This majestic entrance deserved the creation of a royal square, largely open to the city and surrounded by beautiful, orderly houses. The king’s death in 1610 halted work and the place envisaged was not really marked out but simply cleared. To the left of the Henri IV façade, a gate allows you to reach the Grand Parterre, the largest in Europe, the work of the gardener André Le Nôtre . On your right, continuing along rue de la Chancellerie, you will reach the city center.

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And of course, changes again, we move on do not know if better. Our favorite parking since coming here in 1990 has been change. The parking lot at Place d’Armes is schedule to be removed by December 31, 2019. The castle and the city are coordinated around the project to renovate and manage the Henri IV neighborhood, which will soon have a new entrance. The project, which for the moment has not been disclosed in details by the castle, in fact plans to use the grandiose portal of the cour des offices or Uffizi by Henry IV, inspired by the Vatican Belvedere. The Henri IV neighborhood will eventually make it possible to welcome visitors for a new circuit visit, as well as new facilities such as a reception center for young audiences, an auditorium or even restaurants.   The castle was hoping for an opening in 2021, but due to current events will have to wait: This project is still relevant, it is a major stake for the development of the castle. The opening of the gates is scheduled between 2023 and 2025 now.

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The city of Fontainebleau on the castle: https://www.fontainebleau.fr/seduisante/fontainebleau-ville-imperiale-aux-portes-de-paris/la-vraie-demeure-des-rois-la-maison-des-siecles-524.html

The Fontainebleau tourist office on the castle: https://www.fontainebleau-tourisme.com/en/discover-the-region/patrimoine-2/the-chateau-a-grand-history-book-of-france/

The official Château de Fontainebleau: https://www.chateaudefontainebleau.fr/en/

There, is in, another special post for me on my beloved dear Fontainebleau, can’t wait to be back as soon as possible. There are places , one cannot be tired of seeing, and the city of Fontainebleau and its castle are top on the list. Hope you enjoy it as I did writing it.

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

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