In the palace of Fontainebleau

The original furniture disappeared from the palace of Fontainebleau during the French Revolution, so what we see now was acquired mainly during the nineteenth century, or from antique dealers in the twentieth.

The François I Gallery

According to the Château’s website, the interior of the Château as we see it today looks “more or less as Napoleon III and Eugenie left it in 1868, with the exception of Napoleon I’s inner apartment, which is shown as it would have been in the First Empire, and Marie Antoinette’s boudoir, which looks more or less as it would have in the 18th century.”

Ceiling and wall decorations

Large parts of the ceiling and wall decorations from earlier centuries have survived and have been carefully cleaned and restored.

Tapestries in the Château of Fontainebleau

The Château of Fontainebleau has several large and impressive tapestries on display, especially in the Grand Apartments of the Sovereigns.

It took years of patient and highly skilled labor to make tapestries like these, as I found out when I toured the Gobelin manufactory in Paris in the summer of 2013. A few weeks later I had the privilege of viewing the large collection of sixteenth-century Renaissance tapestries in the Richelieu Wing of the Louvre in Paris in the company of the Belgian art connoisseur Eddy Dijssel, whom I had met through the now-defunct website VirtualTourist.

Bedroom in the Sovereign Grand Apartments

As in other royal palaces, the ceremonial bedrooms of the King and Queen are important parts of the Royal Apartments.

Bedroom of the Emperor

In Fontainebleau, Napoléon continued this tradition while he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1814.

Bedroom of Anne of Austria

Anne of Austria (1601–1666) was actually a Spanish princess (not Austrian, despite the name) who for reasons of state was forced to marry to the French King Louis XIII when they were both fourteen years old. After several miscarriages (and years of neglect by her uninterested husband), she finally gave birth to a son, the future Louis XIV, in 1638.

My photos in this post are from 2014. I revised the text in 2021.

See more posts on Fontainebleau, France.

16 thoughts on “In the palace of Fontainebleau”

  1. dearest, Don Nemorino, I am a Leonardo da Vinci scholar and need an inventory list of the royal art collection from the time of King Francis I to Napolelan. Do you know if such inventories exist and how can I access them? .

    1. Yes, I liked the Fontainebleau Castle and grounds, but somehow I missed their Napoleon Museum. Maybe I’ll go back sometime for another look.

  2. Every time we go to Paris I mean to visit Fontainebleau, but so far every time I have failed to do so 🙁 Your post is a further reminder that I really must get there some time soon!

  3. When we were there, they had a painting of Josephine on display and a few days later we saw a copy of it as a hooked rug-type portrait only it was framed like a painting. We assumed it was a copy of the painting. It was at one of the special exhibits on Josephine at the Luxembourg Museum. They always have fun exhibits. Fontainebleau was having a special Napoleon exhibit so the two fit well. Lovely photos.

  4. I loved Fontainebleau, particularly in the autumn which I think was the favourite time of most Kings. I visited in October1978 and again exactly 25 years later to the day. Both the chateau and the surrounding countryside are beautiful. The town itself is charming too.

    1. In Françoise Chandernagor’s novel “L’allée du Roi”, Louis XIV moved his entire court to Fontainebleau each year in September. (Saint-Cloud in March, Saint-Germain in April, Versailles in June, Chambord in August.)

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