Fontainebleau was originally called Fontaine Belleaue or Fontaine Belle eau, but in 1169 was named as it is known today. She has had many famous residents live there, including kings of France who were born here such as Phillipe IV, Francois II, Henri III, and Louis VIII. Fontainebleau is situated in the Ile-de-France region and is 55.5 kilometers from the hustle and bustle of Paris. According to a 2014 census, there were 14 637 inhabitants living in Fontainebleau together.
Forest of Fontainebleau
Fontainebleau is well known for the scenically beautiful and large Fontainebleau forest which surrounds this city as well as many nearby villages. This protected forest is acknowledged as a national park of France. It is looked after so that its trees and wild plants and population of birds, butterflies and mammals can all be conserved. There is a rare tree at the Fontainebleau forest called the Service Tree.
Formally a hunting park for royalty, Fontainebleau forest is now frequented by hikers as well as horse riders. Climbers particularly enjoy the sport of sandstone bouldering in the forest area, which is the largest developed region of this kind worldwide.
Palace of Fontainebleau
Fontainebleau is also known for the Royal Chateau de Fontainebleau, a historical palace where many French kings took up residence. Situated 55 km from Paris, it was already been used in the late 1200′s by Louis VII. The building itself is set around a chain of courtyards, and is today home to a school of architecture, art and music for American students.
The chateau is also host to a summer music institute, which is a combined architecture studio and music conservatory set in the historically beautiful chateau. The world famous INSEAD MBA institution was started back in the 60′s by Harvard professors and subsequently attracted other grandes ecoles like the ESIGETEL Engineering School.
Paris to Fontainebleau
Getting to Fontainebleau from Paris is quite easy by train or car. The train ride from Gare de Lyon will take approximately thirty five minutes and stops at only two towns on the way. The fresh air of the forest can be felt upon arrival at Fontainebleau. The distance from the center of Paris to the center of Fontainebleau by car is about sixty five km and will take about an hour.
Orientation within the town is quite easy. The ‘Rue Grande’ is the main artery running from the chateau to the further side of the town. A favorite option would be to walk around the town, which will probably take about twenty minutes without stopping.
Things To Do
Fontainebleau is also well known for its horse racing track as well as its food market on a Sunday morning. High end pastry shops and the latest in French fashion and jewelry can be found at the many shops in the town. There is a diverse array of restaurants offering Japanese to Mexican to pizza to fish that can be savored, as well as Brasseries and excellent French restaurants.
Nightlife offers plenty of drinking spots, from the traditional French bar to the modern ambient bar and also Mexican bars and English pubs. Fontainebleau also offers plenty of lodging for the weary tourist.