A square in the center of Fontainebleau is named after Napoléon Bonaparte, who chose the Château of Fontainebleau as an Imperial Residence (one of several) during the First Empire (1804-1814).
Napoléon was in Fontainebleau in 1814 when he was deposed, for the first time, and sent into exile on the island of Elba under the terms of the Treaty of Fontainebleau.
In Fontainebleau, Napoléon gave an emotional farewell speech to his troops, before leaving for Elba. He later returned to France for 100 days, before suffering his final defeat at the battle of Waterloo, Belgium, in 1815.
See also: Tomb of l’Emperrrreurrrrr in Paris.
Like many other French cities, Fontainebleau has a square named after the American president Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882–1945).
This is where the Fontainebleau city hall is located, also the post office and the bus stop where you can catch the bus back to the train station Fontainebleau-Avon.
Starting in 1953, Fontainebleau was the headquarters of the Allied Forces Central Europe (AFCENT) under the command of the American general Dwight D. Eisenhower. This NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) command headquarters remained in Fontainebleau, in various forms, until France withdrew from NATO’s centralized military structure in 1967.
This post office building still has its original name “Postes et Télégraphes” chiseled in stone above the front door, but now the official name is just “La Poste”.
My photos in this post are from 2014. I revised the text in 2021.
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