Chateau de Fontainebleau

Chateau de Fontainebleau

Chateau de Fontainebleau
4.5
Architectural Buildings • Castles • Gardens
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Monday
9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
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About
With over 1500 rooms at the heart of 130 acres of parkland and gardens, Fontainebleau is the only royal and imperial château to have been continuously inhabited for seven centuries. A visit to Fontainebleau opens up an unparalleled view of French history, art history and architecture.
Suggested duration
1-2 hours
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4.5
3,480 reviews
Excellent
2,118
Very good
1,049
Average
213
Poor
62
Terrible
38

Alice R
Hobart, Australia8,215 contributions
Friends
A little difficult to get here train and buses from Paris, but we spent about 3 1/2hrs looking around - the grounds were close due to construction work. The admission price was good and there wasn't as many visitors which made the experience more pleasurable and easier to navigate. Though some of the rooms were quite dark for photography. Some outstanding and lavish rooms to admire - we didn't use an audio guide either. I loved the Tapestry rooms.
Written March 11, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Sam D
Brookline, MA9 contributions
In France they call it "Jue de Paumme", in England "Real Tennis" and in the US "Court Tennis". There are only 49 active courts in the world and one of them is at Fontainebleau. I actually play the game at a club in Boston, MA so I arranged to actually play at the court. But everyone can go in and see the court. In fact while I was playing a bunch of tourists stopped by to watch. As you face the front of the chateau within the main courtyard look for a door on the left with tennis racquets hanging above.

This is the original racquet sport that all modern games including tennis and squash descend from. There has been a world championship held since the late 1600's and the game's roots are in the 1200's!

Enjoy!
Written July 27, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Otto M
Delft, The Netherlands166 contributions
Business
Such a great palace. The gardens are amazing. I did some running and it was unique. Aside from the gardens around and the nice alleys, you can also walk around the huge pond on the back which is surrounded by trees. Super nice place. No access to the interior though. Why not?
Written March 5, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

VancouverBC10
Vancouver124 contributions
Family
Long commute requiring metro, train& bus rides. Most difficult was navigating train station to find the train platform. Train has ac & has power outlets - wish I had my air pods etc. Bus ride was no problem but it arrived late. Our return train only ran every hour so we made sure to catch the bus on time. Our metro line was closed so more confusion & time to get home. Took 4 hours to travel for both ways .
Found a quick place to grab a burger & fries at Le Chapel - near Chateau (in expensive, good & friendly service). Chateau is amazing with lots to see but would skip it if u haven’t been to Versailles. This site is less crowded.
Written August 1, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Peter B
Cincinnati, OH310 contributions
Rather than deal with the crowds of Versailles, consider a much more relaxed tour of its predecessor. There are fewer rooms, but they are just as grand and at times you will have an entire room to yourself. That never happens in Versailles.

Fontainebleau is more challenging to reach on your own, but there are several tours that take you there through the country roads. I recommend Blue Fox.

The audio guide is timed to take you through the open sections in 90 minutes.
Written June 5, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Albywon
Sydney, Australia11,595 contributions
Couples
A definite must see only an hour or so from Paris. Château originally built in 1137 and added to in 17th, 18th and 19th Centuries. The allowed areas for the 12€ entry are the Napoleon 1 museum, the Popes apartment (Pope Pius VII visited in 1804 and 1812) and the Great Apartments. Period furnishings including some original furniture this is a must see for any Napoleon fans or even later French Royalty.
Highly recommended!
Written July 14, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

tiz S
Rome, Italy191 contributions
Couples
The Château de Fontainebleau is decorated by the famous Italian Mannerist artists Rosso Fiorentino and Francesco Primaticcio. It is a must for Renaissance and Napoleon enthusiasts (it was at Fontainebleau that Napoleon signed his abdication in 1814). It is also a must for someone interesting in tapestries. You can also immerse yourself in the daily life of France's first Renaissance king Francis I as Château de Fontainebleau gives you the possibility to rent historical costumes and dress up in period costumes to have fun and take hilarious photos! Way better then Versailles and maybe the best castle in France.
Written January 2, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Eileen108
Mount Shasta, CA3,937 contributions
Fontainebleau was really mind-blowing - all those lavishly decorated rooms, used by Kings and Queens for so many centuries! The audio guide was a bit overkill, though, with the long and very detailed explanations. We kept skipping through them - listening to all the explanations would have taken days, and we were on a time crunch with our day tour! (We did the excellent and recommended "Paris City Vision, Fontainebleau & Vaux le Vicomte Day Trip from Paris" with Dominique as our tour guide and Maxine as driver. The tour was an English/Spanish combo.)
Written March 1, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Deedoka411
49 contributions
I just got back from a week long trip in Paris. My husband and I took a day trip to Chateau de Fontainebleau by train from Gare de Lyon to Fontainebleau Avon. Then, we took a bus line, clearly marked Chateau. It is very convenient. The chateau is in the middle of the town. We love it! It is like a wow after a wow. Every room shows history, beauty, and grandiose of the palace. It is a lovely and happy place. We love it more than Chateau de Versailles. The palace is well decorated, room after room. The garden is beautiful. It is a perfect day trip from Paris. We started at Gare de Lyon at 11:30 a.m., arrived at the Fontainebleau Avon train station at around 12:00 pm, waited for the bus for five minutes. The train ride, all day pass, is 15.60 euro per person. (according to the staff at the train station, it is cheaper to buy a day pass than just a round trip. The staff speaks English fluently.) The bus ride took about 10-15 minutes through the center of the Fontainebleau town. It stopped right in front of the tourisme office. We got some info on where to wait for the bus back to the train station and buy the chateau admission tickets there, 8 euro per person. We were at the chateau for about 4 hours. We took the train back and have time to walk around Saint-Germain des Pres and have dinner there. (no it is not close by Gare de Lyon but the metro makes it super convenient to go anywhere.)

If you buy the Paris Vision day trip to Fontainebleau, it will cost around 65 euro per person. I was told by a lovely Parisienne lady I met at Brasserie Lipp that the chateau is named Fontainebleau because the people think that the water at the fountain of the chateau is a very good water (belle eau). I can't praise enough for the chateau trip.
Written November 30, 2009
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

dleifker
Nevada102 contributions
Solo
I've wanted to visit Fontainebleau for years, but I've never done it until now because I hated the idea of giving up a full day of Paris sightseeing. Here's how I made it to Fontainebleau and back in just half a day, and still felt like I had a thorough visit at the chateau.

I got up at 6:00am and got ready, and when the hotel breakfast buffet opened at 7:00am I popped down and was out by 7:30am.

Got to the Paris Metro by 7:45am and it was an easy trip to Gare de Lyon, where the trains to Fontainebleau depart. If you're coming from central Paris, the Metro line 1, named "Chateau de Vincennes," will whisk you to Gare de Lyon very swiftly. Then, as in most Paris metro stations, you feel like a lab rat in a maze trying to reach your destination, but it wasn't too painful finding the the platforms for the trains.

Gare du Nord is not enclosed, so on cold days it's not a place you want to sit. However, there was a restaurant on an upper level overlooking the train platforms, and it was enclosed. So you could also just go to Gare du Nord early and eat breakfast there before your train out.

I easily made the 8:19am train to Fontainebleau-Avon. I had a Paris Visite carte for zones 1-5 and knew it was valid for Fontainebleau, but I didn't know if I had to stamp it or show it to anyone, and as it turns out nobody ever asked me to show my ticket and I didn't have to pass through any turnstiles.

The trip to Fontainebleau took about 35 minutes and was quite fascinating. Sit on the left side of the train for nice views. It's industrial at first, then residential through Melun, and then very wooded and beautiful. I went in mid-November when it was deep autumn, and the leaves covered the forest ground like a rich carpet.

Beware that the Fontainebleau train station has rest rooms (the "WC"), but it's a single-user women's room and a single-user men's room, and I had to wait for almost 5 minutes while the guy ahead of me was finishing up his power-primping or whatever. You can swipe your train ticket to get into the WC for free, or pay 30 "centimes," as an elderly French woman told me, not "Euro cents." Anyway, take the opportunity now, because I did not see any rest rooms at the Fontainebleau chateau until the very end of the tour... maybe this is how they keep the crowds moving swiftly through the tour.

I like to walk, so I decided to walk from the train station to the chateau and not take the bus. I timed it, and the walk took 32 minutes, although I walk fast. When you leave the train station, you see signs to the chateau, but I believe they lead you to a slightly shorter path through a residential area and then into a side entrance on the east side of the chateau grounds. I wanted to walk through town, so I took "Avenue Franklin Roosevelt" instead, which leads to the main entrance of the chateau by a different route on the north.

If you walk, I strongly recommend that you go to Google maps and print out the route before you leave for France. You can't really get lost, because every bus shelter in Fontainebleau has a lovely map. However, the entrance to the chateau was hard to find, at least in my opinion. The maps may lead you to think that you walk west from the train station and enter the chateau from the north. I did this and wound up in a small parking lot. In truth, you must enter the chateau from the west, not from the north. Directly across the chateau entrance is a hotel called the Hotel de Londres. Find this on Google Maps and the chateau entrance is directly across the street. Between the hotel and the chateau entrance is the bus stop of the bus that can take you back to the train station. You can stop here and note the bus schedule now for your ride back after your tour of the chateau. The schedule was a little confusing because it changes based on whether school is in session or not, but the times weren't that different.

The chateau of Fontainebleau is like a mini-Versailles. The grounds, the buildings, the rooms, the decor... everything was a clone of Versailles. Fontainebleau has a few extra goodies, like Napoleon's uniforms and throne room, and the rooms where the pope stayed when he was detained there by Napoleon. But Versailles and Fontainebleau are so similar that you shouldn't feel obligated to see both on one trip unless you have lots of time or are really interested in chateaux.

The audio tour cost 1 euro (beyond the admission price, I had a PMP) and was well worth it. In general, I detest audio tours because they force you to go at their speed, and if you walk too fast you can get off track and never recover. But the audio tour at Fontainebleau was quite nice, you simply key in the number of whatever sign you are standing at, and you hear a nice description. If you want to hear it again, or make the audio device shut up, no problem, and it's easy to get back on track at the next exhibit. The audio device is a long stick-shaped thing that is easy to drop, so use the lanyard. (I dropped mine and am lucky I didn't break it.)

I wandered leisurely through the tour, inspected everything in the gift shop, and then wandered around the grounds very briefly. I timed it, and it was 90 minutes from the time I entered the chateau gate to the time I exited. However, this was November, and there were no lines at all, and I don't dawdle. Oh, if there is any chance of rain, take your umbrella, or you will be very wet and very sorry.

I walked back to the train station and passed a zillion little shops and restaurants. Lots of opportunities for shopping and food fun, but I skipped them all.

I got back to the station and easily made the noon train back to Paris. Again, I was quite baffled about how to use the Paris Visite carte with the Transilien trains. I saw a scary device that said I should "compost" my ticket before boarding. (Later I looked this up, and "composter" in French means "to punch" or "to timestamp.") I composted my Paris Visite carte just to be on the safe side, but I don't think this is right because it stamped some indecipherable thing onto the front ("68221.326") and made me worry that I had damaged the magnetic strip on the card, which from my experience is highly fragile and can be damaged just by looking at it the wrong way. But once again, I rode the whole way back to Paris and nobody asked me to show my ticket and there were no turnstiles to go through. Quoi faire? Je ne sais pas. What a civilized nation France is, to allow you to do so much on the honor system. (But I was stopped by fare inspectors the next day on the RER.)

Stopped at the Starbucks in Gare de Nord for a $7 venti latte and headed back to the hotel.

Total time: left hotel at 7:40am, back at 1:20pm, and I felt like I had seen the whole Fontainebleau shtick. You can, too, if you plan ahead.
Written November 24, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Chateau de Fontainebleau

Chateau de Fontainebleau is open:
  • Wed - Mon 9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
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