Two weeks ago, some friends and I decided to leave Paris for a little day trip to Fontainebleau, France, a little less than an hour by train from Paris. To get there, we took the RER and Metro to Gare de Lyon and took a train to Fontainebleau, and then we took a bus to the Chateau. The Palace and Park of Fontainebleau (also called Chateau de Fontainebleau), is a castle and surrounding grounds where many French royal families lived, from the the middle ages (around 1200) through Napoleon’s reign. This chateau is not as well known as Versailles, making it less of a tourist destination. However, because fewer people visit this castle, we could explore beautiful rooms (comparable to those at Versailles) completely undisturbed by other visitors. Being completely alone in rooms like Napoleon’s bedchamber and the massive grand hall was such a cool experience.
When we arrived, we received our free student tickets (by showing our French school ID cards) and wandered through the grand apartments, Napoleon’s apartments, ball rooms, great halls, and chapels, all decadently decorated in rich fabrics and painted ceilings. After our visit inside the Chateau, we decided to explore the gardens. Although no flowers were blooming (as it was mid-January), the gardens were still beautiful and worth a look. We probably spent about an hour and a half visiting the castle and an hour walking through the gardens.