Renowned for its 17th-century chateau, Fontainebleau is a charming provincial town south of Paris. It’s surrounded by forested trails teeming with birdlife and is a short drive from the Museum of the National Gendarmerie.
Things to do in Fontainebleau
Explore the walking trails of the Fontainebleau Forest where oak, Scots pine and European beech trees surround the town and its neighbouring villages. It’s home to peculiar-shaped rocks resembling elephants, tortoises and crocodiles and is one of the most popular destinations for bouldering near Paris.
Fontainebleau is famed for its Heritage-listed royal chateau where French monarchs, from Louis VII to Napoleon III, once resided. Wander through the Emperor's Throne Room and royal apartments, then explore the papal quarters and elegant gardens inhabited by peacocks.
A short drive north of Fontainebleau is the Museum of the National Gendarmerie, which exhibits artefacts dating back to the Middle Ages. Its striking displays include old uniforms, weaponry and folk art set within converted old barracks in the town of Melun.
Also nearby is the 17th-century Château de Vaux le Vicomte, a lavish Baroque estate that marks the beginning of the Louis XIV style. Wander through its opulent private apartments and period-furnished ceremonial salons, visit the on-site Carriage Museum, then take in the 360-degree views across its magnificent gardens from the chateau’s dome.
Getting around Fontainebleau
Fontainebleau is a 45-minute train ride south of Paris, with the station at Fontainebleau-Avon closest to the town centre. Charles de Gaulle Airport is a one-hour drive away, while the town itself is easily explored on foot.