The Palace and Park of Fontainebleau

Fontainebleau Palace, France - detail

Ever considered getting an MBA? You could do a lot worse than to choose INSEAD. When I was at uni in the USA, several of my friends went on to do their Masters degrees here, and no wonder: not only is INSEAD one of the world’s best elite business schools, it’s also located in Fontainebleau, a large, gorgeous forest in Île-de-France, just outside of Paris.

Château de Fontainebleau

Now, business studies might not be your thing. You’re perhaps more interested in history or architecture or art or music. Fontainebleau has that, too. The pièce de résistance in this little town is the UNESCO World Heritage listed Château de Fontainebleau, used by the kings of France for eight centuries – from Louis VII in 1137 to the Napoleons in the 19th century. You may have heard of the Treaty of Fontainebleau. That’s where Bonaparte agrees with the victors (the Austrian Empire, Russia and Prussia) to go into exile at Elba. This is where he said his farewells.

Fontainebleau Palace, France - detail

Part of this stunning palace presently houses Écoles d’Art Américaines: an art, architecture, and music school for students from the USA.

Last November, I was in Paris for a meeting and managed to sneak out early. Hopping on the train to Fontainebleau, I arrived at the chateau about 4.30 pm, too late for a look inside, but luckily just in time for a quick stroll about the grounds. Here’s a tiny glimpse. Enjoy!

Chateau de Fontainebleau, gardens

Fontainebleau Palace, France

Gardens at Fontainebleau Palace, France

Bench at Fontainebleau Palace, France Bench at Fontainebleau Palace, France

Fontainebleau Palace, France

Fontainebleau Palace, France

Fontainebleau Palace, France - detail

Hiking in Fontainebleau

The forests of Fontainebleau is also a favourite weekend haunt of busy Parisians. If you’re interested in the outdoors, my friends Marlys and Michael of EasyHiker have explored the area and share some great suggestions for hiking in the Fontainebleau forest.


  • Fontainebleau – and the lovely château – is about 55 km from Paris, and easily reached by train from Gare de Lyon.
  • The château closes at 5pm this time of year (October – March) – and last admission is at 4.15. But you really need more than 45 minutes to see a good selection of the 1500 rooms. The château is closed on Tuesdays.
  • Admission is €10 (€8 concessions) for a self-guided tour of the Grands Appartements (incl audio guide). Various guided tours are available as well.

Fontainebleau Palace, France - detail

unesco logo

The Palace and Park of Fontainebleau is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Here are more UNESCO World Heritage sites around the world.

This article is part of Travel Photo Thursday, a weekly photo feast hosted by Budget Travelers Sandbox.



21 Responses to “The Palace and Park of Fontainebleau”

  1. Turkey's For Life 27 September 2012 1501 #

    Looks like a lovely place to visit and it certainly looks like a pleasant place to study. Lucky students!

  2. Muza-chan 27 September 2012 1517 #

    Great article, thank you for info.

  3. Jackie Smith 27 September 2012 1611 #

    Your photographer’s eye caught some great views on this post. With each photo, I kept thinking, “This is the best. . .no, this is the best” as the next one scrolled into view. Most interesting.

  4. Vera Marie Badertscher 27 September 2012 1735 #

    Too bad you didn’t get inside, but the lack of crowds certainly gave you an opportunity to take some stunning pictures. I love the way you capture a times-gone-by vibe. Just totally lovely.

  5. I haven’t been to the Palace but I do love the countryside around Fontainebleau! It amazes me how quickly you get into the country when leaving Paris. Really enjoyed your pictures. This needs to be put on the list for my next visit.

  6. jade 27 September 2012 2309 #

    These photos look like they are out of a movie! So beautiful. I would love to spend a few days spent here.

  7. jan 28 September 2012 0000 #

    Hi, I like all the photos, but enjoyed the two of the benches – I have taken photos of benches all over the place!

  8. InsideJourneys 28 September 2012 0402 #

    Another reason I have to go back to Paris!
    Great shots. Love the sepia.

  9. Margaret 28 September 2012 0543 #

    Wow! I love the photos with the arches and the pond. I’m sorry I didn’t make it here when I was in Paris.

  10. Leigh 28 September 2012 1416 #

    I hand’t realized it was so close to Paris. What a place and definitely worthy of a day trip the next time I get to Paris. I love your sepia looking photo with the cart and buggy.

  11. Steve 29 September 2012 0825 #

    I’d never be able to find my way from class to class in time in that place. Not only is it huge, but I’d keep stopping to look at everything. Fortunately I’m not about to re-enroll in school, so I can just enjoy the pictures.

  12. ItalianNotes 29 September 2012 1213 #

    It sure beats the university I’ve attended.

  13. Michele @ Malaysian Meanders 30 September 2012 1144 #

    I don’t think I’d be able to concentrate on studying here. I’m having trouble figuring out which photo is my favorite. I like the one with the arches framing each other, and the one with the 2 rows of trees and the carriage looks timeless.

  14. HIKING around a palace? Now that’s news to me! 🙂 would be lovely to visit such a slice of history, all while exploring the nearby forest. I still can’t believe I have been to more than 20 countries across 4 continents, YET, I haven’t made it to France. I feel a little silly. Gotta go up there soon

    – Maria Alexandra

  15. Nancie 2 October 2012 0136 #

    What a gorgeous place!

  16. Ana 2 October 2012 0940 #

    Such a great palace. It’s the first time I hear about it but I’ll place it on my travel list asap 🙂

  17. Johanna @ The Zigazag Mag 3 October 2012 1128 #

    What a feast for the eyes. Oh wow, I’d love to visit there one day. Great photos by the way 🙂

  18. Danyelle Franciosa 4 October 2012 0200 #

    Wow! That was truly beautiful place. Fontainebleau is one of the beautiful place that can be found inf France. The photos are very beautiful. I love it very much. Thanks a lot for sharing this!

  19. Milena Yordanova 16 April 2015 0952 #

    Château de Fontainebleau is one of my favourite palaces. I had the chance to visit it during my last trip to Paris. The place was so beautiful and calm.

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