Personal curiosities of Fontainebleau !!!

This is difficult to write as many wonderful moments with my dear late wife Martine visiting the castle and town of Fontainebleau in her region and becoming Friends of the Castle since 2008. However, I like to bring them to life for memories’ sake. This is new text using older personal pictures from my vault, Hope you enjoy the post, and do visit the castle is a must while in France. See my several posts in my blog.

The Galerie des Assiettes or Gallery of Plates was created during the reign of Louis-Philippe I in 1840, on the site of a former terrace. A tribute to the artistic and historical heritage of the château, its ceiling is adorned with 21 fragments of oil paintings on plaster from the vault of the former Galerie de Diane, created by Ambroise Dubois. 128 Sèvres porcelain plates are set in neo-Renaissance style wooden paneling, presenting some of the key events from the reigns of the greatest sovereigns, as well as different views of the castle and the forest of Fontainebleau.

The official Château de Fontainebleau on the 19C galleries

Fontainebleau galerie des Assiettes kids 15dec07

Within the Grands Appartements, the main modification was the transformation of the former King’s Chamber into the Throne Room in 1808. It is today the only Napoleonic throne room still existing with its furniture. 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 official Château de Fontainebleau on the palace of Napoléon

Fontainebleau throne room remi and pedro dec07

In 1979, following a major donation from Prince Napoleon and Princess Marie-Clotilde, a redistribution of the Napoleonic collections took place within the national museums. A Napoleon I museum was then created with the aim of presenting the Emperor and his family. The museum is housed in the Louis XV wing itself restored in 1810 by Napoleon after having been from 1803 to 1808 the headquarters of the Special Military School, the future Saint-Cyr School. The museum program successively presents the Emperor and Josephine with an evocation of the splendor surrounding the imperial power, Marie-Louise, the King of Rome, Madame Mère as well as the brothers and sisters who played a role during this period. To integrate portraits, personal memories, weapons, pieces of porcelain, goldsmithery and clothing into a palatial decor, particular attention was paid to the choice of fabrics for the walls and seats.

The official Château de Fontainebleau on the museum


The Salle des Gardes or guard room was that of the king’s guards, watching over the entrance to the sovereign’s apartment. All that remains today is the French ceiling and, at the top of the walls, a frieze of trophies of arms and armor painted in oil. In the 19C, under the reign of Louis-Philippe, this initially dilapidated room was transformed into a majestic reception hall with an overload of figures, ornaments, emblems and mottos paying homage to the sovereigns of the past. Decorated with a marble fireplace presenting the bust of Henri IV, and a parquet floor in marquetry reflecting the layout of the ceiling, the room ended up becoming a ceremonial dining room for Napoleon III.

The official Château de Fontainebleau on the royal apartments:

Fontainebleau salle des gardes sévres et MF dec07

The construction of a grand ceremonial staircase, leading directly to the Francis I Gallery and the Royal Apartments, turned the “White Horse Courtyard” into a main courtyard in direct competition with the very old Cour Ovale. Replacing the first horseshoe staircase built in 1550 by the French architect Philibert Delorme, the current staircase was built in 1632-1634. It was one of the few building projects commissioned by Louis XIII at Fontainebleau, as can be seen from his emblem, the caduceus, punctuating his curved double staircase. This monumental sandstone staircase composed of two monumental parallel fretted flights of 46 steps with an intermediate landing, it breaks with the medieval spiral staircase. It was at the foot of this symbol of royal pomp and ceremony, and following a memorable descent down its stairs, that Napoleon I made his famous farewell speech to the Imperial guard, on 20 April 1814. 

The official Château de Fontainebleau on the courtyards and gardens:


The Cour d’Honneur, (see post) closed on three sides and facing west towards the town since the fourth wing was demolished and a gate was created in 1809-1810. Known as “White Horse Courtyard” since it was built, after a horse statue at its center, it is bordered to the east by the iconic Horseshoe staircase wing punctuated by five pavilions which were built between the 16C and 19C. In the north, the Ministers’ wing, built in the 1530s bears the initials of Francis I and his salamander. Facing it, the Louis XV wing, which is taller and boasts brick and stone façades maintains the harmonious colour palette of the courtyard. Construction of the Louis XV wing started in 1739 on the ruins of the Ulysses gallery to house accommodation for the court, and it was only completed in 1773-1774. Since Napoleon I bid farewell to his Old Guard, on 20 April 1814, this courtyard which became the most famous view of the Château de Fontainebleau, was also known as the “Cour des adieux” or goodbye courtyard.

The official Château de Fontainebleau on the courtyards and gardens:

Fontainebleau pedro entrance to chateau Fontainebleau FRA sep1990

The Chapelle Royale de la Trinité or The Royal Chapel of the Trinity ,was in the reign of François Ist, the church of the former convent of Trinitaires  that was rebuilt and connected to the Gallery François Ist wing. It was not until the reign of ’Henri IV that it got its vault we see today. To house God in dignity, the management of the interior was entrusted to painter Martin Fréminet, who endowed the vault with a series of rich segments framed by thick stucco mouldings. Its exceptional decor is characteristic of what would later be called the second school of Fontainebleau dedicated to religious salvation.. It pre-dated the Baroque style and would not be finished until the reign of Louis XIII in 1633. This impressive royal chapel, celebrated the marriage of Louis XV to Marie Leczinska in September 1725 and Napoléon III was baptised on the knees of his uncle Napoléon Ier in 1810. It is dominated by a tribute dedicated to the king.

The official Château de Fontainebleau on the Royal chapels:

Fontainebleau chapelle de la trinite et PF dec07

There you go folks, this is special, a must to visit while in Francethe Château de Fontainebleau that is. So much history of France and Europe , and the World is here, as well as loving architecture. For me is sublime and a friend of the castle since 2007 !!  Hope you enjoy this personal curiosities of Fontainebleau post as I.

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

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