World Heritage of # 9: The Palace of Fontainebleau

As part of a series specially devoted to French sites recognized as World Heritage by UNESCO, we invite you to discover one by one the exceptional French destinations, preserved as heritage of humanity. We continue this series with one of the sites recognized in 1981, the Palace of Fontainebleau and its park. The architecture, integrity and history they have witnessed make them treasures of our country's heritage.

On says Palace of Fontainebleau that it has been "the true home of kings, the house of centuries". Fontainebleau is 800 years of history united in one place. 34 kings and 2 emperors used it as a hunting or holiday residence. For 7 centuries the rulers, officials, intimates and the court have continuously inhabited the place. With its 1 pieces spread over 500 hectares, Fontainebleau is an invitation discovering the history of France. But the places are also conducive to discovering the history of art, which is intimately linked to it.

“Fontainebleau embodies, better than elsewhere, the French art of living. "

A deserved recognition

Over the centuries, the Palace of Fontainebleau has played a considerable role in the development of architecture and the arts. The architecture and decor of the castle have indeed exerted a major influence on the development of the arts in France and in Europe. Many events in the history of France of the greatest importance are also associated with this emblematic historic site.

“Residence until the 1685th century of French sovereigns, who constantly maintained and enriched it with artistic contributions, the Château de Fontainebleau is also associated with history. Significant events took place there such as the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, in 1814, or the abdication of Napoleon I, in XNUMX. "

Fontainebleau has been constantly occupied, maintained and modified. But he kept the trace of every reign and every style. The successive contributions of François Ier, Henri IV, Louis XIII, Louis XV, Louis XVI and Napoleon I, however, have not altered its authenticity and its integrity.

A little bit of history

Fontainebleau is the only castle inhabited by all the rulers from the XNUMXth to the XNUMXth century. Formerly, the castle was a hunting residence, located in the heart of a large forest in the Ile de France. Then Fontainebleau has undergone many transformations during its history. In the XNUMXth century, under the influence of the Renaissance, François I wanted to make it the “new Rome”. He contributed greatly to its enlargement and embellishment. Italian artists, painters, sculptors and architects were invited to decorate the immense palace. It will eventually become a major center for artists.

In the XNUMXth century, after successive expansions, the palace and the park of Fontainebleau acquired the physiognomy that they will keep until today. Napoleon will greatly contribute to its restoration. It will completely refurnish the palace after the Revolution. It still remains today "the most furnished of the royal castles".

Fontainebleau today

500 visitors flock to the aisles and rooms of Fontainebleau every year. They admire there centuries of history in one place. Renaissance masterpieces commissioned by François I, with refined interiors by Marie-Antoinette. From the state apartment of Napoleon I, to discover the tastes of Napoleon III and Eugenie ...

The curators of the castle are implementing a rich program. The art history festival ou historical reconstructions around the life of Napoleon I are very popular. 2020 should be marked by the residence of Thomas Hengelbrock. An exhibition on the Renaissance, "The Art of Festivity at the Cour des Valois" will also be set up.