Archive for December 22nd, 2021

December 22, 2021

The Porte Dorée of Fontainebleau!!

As I have been saying, Fontainebleau has a nice special meaning to our family. We never lived there but it was the first castle visited in France ever by us. This as consequence that my dear late wife Martine was from the region and she took me there first proud of her Fontainebleau. We have come back several times, I am friend of the castle, and plenty of posts in my blog on it. However, let me tell you about a spot briefly mentioned but never a post of its own, which it deserves , me think. Therefore, here is my take on the Porte Dorée of the Château de Fontainebleau. Hope you enjoy it as I.

The Porte Dorée was Fontainebleau main entrance to the royal palace of the Renaissance, the Porte Dorée is the sumptuous door decorated with frescoes and gilding but also the golden door of the forest.These frescoes illustrate chants XIV and XV of the Iliad, an epic written by Homer. It was the entrance chatelet, it has long marked the entrance to the castle. It opens onto the oval courtyard on one side and the edge of the Fontainebleau forest on the other. It was in the apartment on the 1st floor (2nd US) that Madame de Maintenon was housed and that the revocation of the Edict of Nantes of October 17, 1685 was concluded. The golden door or Porte Dorée giaes access to the Oval courtyard, courtyard of honor in the Middle Ages as in the 16C. Its time of construction is identifiable in particular thanks to the figure of the sponsor, François I, on several capitals, as well as the date visible on one of them, 1528. This first achievement uses the syntax and vocabulary of Renaissance architecture, incorporating the codes of Antiquity and Italian taste, However, this building, built before the full blossoming of the French Renaissance, retains an overall medieval appearance.

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A bit more on the endless beautiful history of the Château de Fontainebleau from my books.

Fontainebleau is not the castle of a sovereign, but that of each of them, a “family house” of the kings of France, handed down from generation to generation from the Middle Ages to the 19C. Indeed a monument of France in itself, If the medieval origins of the castle are still visible thanks to the old keep, which dominates the oval courtyard , it was king François I, seduced by the site and the game forest, who orders from 1528 spectacular developments, rebuilding the medieval palace and growing it into an Italian palace, a reflection of the power of a literate king and lover of the arts. The castle thus preserves, nowadays, the greatest decorative vestiges of the French Renaissance, such as the Italian artists invited by François Ier to Fontainebleau ,like Rosso Fiorentino and Primatice, imported the principles.

The successors of François I will continue his work: the favorite castle of Henri IV reviving in a time of splendor, the birth of the future Louis XIII in the king’s apartment will impose it as the cradle of the Bourbon dynasty. The young Louis XIV will assert his absolute power there, while Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette will set up there, on the eve of the French revolution, enchanting escape spaces away from the splendor of Versailles. During the reign of the brothers of Louis XVI (Louis XVIII and Charles X from 1815-1830), it embodied the splendor of monarchical history, which had to be returned to public veneration. For the Duke of Orleans, who became King Louis-Philippe I (reigning from 1830 to 1848), it was the historical setting of a sovereign who assumed his passion for history there. For Napoleon III, nephew of Napoleon I, it offered an opportunity to restore the greatness of the Empire in one of his uncle’s most emblematic palaces. This competition of thrones had a beneficial effect on the castle. Constantly embellished with new decorations, solemn effigies, and enhanced with historicist furniture allowing these ephemeral rulers to anchor themselves in long history, it went through these fleeting regimes being the object of all attention and all restorations. It is in the final state in which Napoleon III and Eugénie, the last rulers of its long history, fitted it out, that it can still be visited today!

And more sites to indulge yourselves on the magnificent story of this wonderful castle, cheers to Fontainebleau!

The Château de Fontainebleau on the Porte Doréehttps://www.chateaudefontainebleau.fr/devenez-mecene-au-chateau-de-fontainebleau/projets-en-cours/porte-doree/

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

The Seine et Marne dept 77 tourist office on the castle:  https://tourisme.seine-et-marne-attractivite.fr/670011-chateau-de-fontainebleau

There you go folks, a splendid castle in all the glory of my belle France. As said, many times and repeat, it’s a castle dear to me and friends of the castle since 2011 as it is the first visited taken by my dear late wife Martine in her dept Seine et Marne 77, memories forever. A must when visiting France, go to Fontainebleau ! And of course the Porte Dorée is one nice monument to see while there.Hope you enjoy the tour; it is a must I repeat…

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

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December 22, 2021

The Napoléon I Museum of Fontainebleau

Well not my cup of tea as I have mentioned in my previous posts but need to see it at least once for the history of it. And of course, visiting the beautiful,historical, architecturally stunning Château de Fontainebleau  in my nostalgic dept 77 Seine-et-Marne in the ïle de France region is a must. Again written many posts on it and a very attaching castle for me and my family but feel need to tell you more about the goodies inside. I like to update this older post on a museum of a controversial figure in history; the Napoléon I Museum.

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After much debate, this museum was opened in 1986, and built on two levels at the same princely apartments located in the Louis XV wing. For security reasons, the collections were repatriated on the only first floor. It is therefore a condensed presentation of these priceless furniture, paintings, weapons, art, goldsmith’s, ceramics, costumes, historical documents and souvenirs, covering the period of Napoléon I.

A museum entirely devoted to Napoléon Bonaparte was thus created in Fontainebleau, its aim being to present a view of the self name emperor and his family. It was set up in the part of the château which had been restored by Napoleon I in 1810 and which before that restoration (from 1803 to 1808) had been the headquarters of the the special military academy, later known as Saint-Cyr. The exhibition begins by introducing Napoléon and Josephine and the splendour of the imperial regime, before turning to Marie-Louise, the King of Rome and Napoléon’s mother, as well as his brothers and sisters, all of whom played a part during this period. Special attention has been paid to the fabric on the walls and furniture in order to present the portraits, the memorabilia, the arms, the china, the gold and silver objects and the items of clothing in luxurious surroundings.

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The collections are largely derived from the succession of the Imperial family, the Prince Napoléon descending from Jérôme de Westphalia, younger brother and last heir of Napoleon I (heir as Napoléon V, I must mentioned had met Princess Napoléon his wife at the Institut de France event) ,that allow the evocation of Napoléon ,emperor between 1804 and 1815, from his family and in particular of his brothers, sovereigns in Europe. The meeting of an important gallery of portraits introduced to the course which successively presents the coronation, the splendours of the imperial table, the siblings and the diplomatic gifts, a campaign tent, the daily life of an emperor-soldier, the Empress Marie-Louise and then the heir, the king of Rome.

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The Napoléon I Museum has been renovated and improved with new lighting and redesigned Museography, the museum acquired 88 new pieces, bringing to 650 the number of exhibits on 700 m2 in the Louis XV wing of the château. Among these new treasures is a Cabaret, a Sèvres porcelain tea service representing the members of the Imperial family. Property since the 1930s of the Baron-Cohen family.

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The official Château de Fontainebleau on Napoléonhttps://www.chateaudefontainebleau.fr/en/explore-the-castle-and-gardens/chateau-fontainebleau-history/the-palace-of-napoleon-i/

The official Château de Fontainebleau on the museum of Napoléonhttps://www.chateaudefontainebleau.fr/en/explore-the-castle-and-gardens/fontainebleau-rooms/napoleon-museum-fontainebleau/

The official Napoléon’s family imperial webpage (in English/French): https://www.napoleon.org/en/

It is always wonderful nostalgic , words cannot describe my coming here each time. The castle is very nice and show the history of France and the Bonaparte’s family of France, and Europe. An educational as well as historical take back in time at the Napoleon I Museum of Fontainebleau.

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

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December 22, 2021

Chapelle de la Trinité of Fontainebleau!!!

My roots of my encounter with France was Paris, therefore the part of the title of my blog; however, my first encounter of a monument was the Château de Fontainebleau. You need to read about the castle in my blog, several posts over the years. However, I believe this corner of it, deserves a post on its own, been my favorite. The memories of my dear late wife Martine taking me to show off her region still is strong even more so today.

Fontainebleau is a small town really, and the castle property takes a big shunk of it. Its forest, theater, St Louis Church and the castle. The Château de Fontainebleau is huge in French history and a must to visit all of it.  The city is in the Seine et  Marne dept 77 of the Ïle de France region . I like to update this older post and tell you a bit more on the Trinity Chapel or la Chapelle de la Trinité inside the castle of Fontainebleau. Hope you enjoy it as I.

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Ancient Church Convent of Trinitarian clerics settled here by Saint Louis in 1259, this one was attached to the castle under king François Ier. Rebuilt from this reign and under Henry II, the Chapel received the present vault under Henri IV and was finished by Louis XIII and then enriched by Louis XIV, Louis XV and Louis XVI. This chapel is a masterpiece of classicism! Let me tell you more on its construction ok.

The Trinity Chapel is rectangular in shape. It is placed in the east wing of the Cour d’honneur ,to the left of the Great horseshoe staircase. The roof is double-sloped. The Interior is on two levels, the Chapel hosts the Royal Tribune in the background above the entrance. It is illuminated by high rectangular windows placed on the second level, alternating with oval cartridges decorated with paints. The first level is composed of side chapels closed by ornate wooden grates alternating with the batteries decorated with double Corinthian pilasters.

On the north side, the monumental altar is composed of a triumphant arch altarpiece decorated with bronze incense bearer statues of angels and adorned in its center a painting depicting the deposition of the Cross. Behind this altarpiece was located the choir of religious Trinitarian. The arched vaulted ceiling is richly decorated with paintings framed in cartridges, frames and floral decorations in stucco. The balconies were destined for the king’s music.

 A bit on the history I like, and a description brief as possible.

The scenes of the mystery of the Redemption of Man (the Trinitarians being a redeeming order): The Apparition of God to Noah above the rostrum, the Annunciation behind the high altar, the Christ of the Last Judgement surrounded by Seven first intelligences in the center, as well as characters of the Old Testament (kings of Judah, prophets, virtues), painted on the vault between 1608 and 1619.

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The master altar, realized in 1633, which the paving of multicoloured marble of the soil, is surrounded by statues of sovereigns (Saint Louis to the right of the altar with the traits of Louis XIII, and Charlemagne to the left with the traits of Henri IV). The altar and the original tabernacle are located at the parish Church St Louis (see post) of Fontainebleau, where they were transferred at the French revolution.

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The altar painted in 1642 and represents the Holy Trinity at the time of the deposition of the Cross. The tribune, carried by marble columns, as well as the closing of the choir dating from 1554. The bishop presided over the creation of two oratories: one for Henri II, directed in 1557, the other for Diane de Poitiers. The two were destroyed in 1605. The panelling and grids of the chapels are from 1629. The decorative paintings, finished the last decorative paintings performed in the chapel are the oval paintings made under Louis XVI.

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The organ of François-Henry Clicquot, still in place, was made in 1774.   The main event that took place in this chapel was the marriage of Louis XV and Marie Leszczyńska in 1725; the Chapel was also the scene of the marriage of Marie-Louise d’Orléans with Charles II of Spain (represented by the Prince of Conti) and the baptism of the Prince Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte (future Napoleon III) in 1810 with 24 other children and the marriage of Ferdinand-Philippe d’Orléans with Hélène of Mecklenburg-Schwerin in 1837.

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This is a must to visit in the must to visit Château de Fontainebleau; it is just gorgeous and one cannot come here without seeing it. I am friend of the castle for years and enjoyed even alone which is moving and grand. You can see it too and behold of its beauty. I do not have more words to describe it, it is just a masterpiece of our times. See it at the Château de Fontainebleau, the Trinity Chapel.

The Castle of Fontainebleau on the Chapels see Trinitéhttps://www.chateaudefontainebleau.fr/en/explore-the-castle-and-gardens/fontainebleau-rooms/the-grands-apartments/chapels-chateau-fontainebleau/

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

The Friends of the Castle of Fontainebleau publish a pdf file description of the Trinity Chapel here: https://www.amischateaufontainebleau.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/SAMCF_Chapelle_24p_FR.pdf

There you go folks, a dandy monumental castle in my nostalgic Seine et Marne dept 77 of my belle France! Hope you do come and enjoy this jewel of French history, the Château de Fontainebleau with its magnificent Chapelle de la Trinité!

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

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