Discover Fontainebleau


About an hour’s drive south of Paris you’ll find an idyllic town that’s long been a favorite day or weekend trip for Parisians: Fontainebleau. You’ll want to learn more about this destination for several reasons and you’ll enjoy them all!

What to See


The Château

The main draw to the town of Fontainebleau is the sumptuous royal château. Though it receives fewer visitors than Versailles, it’s as impressive or more so. Dating from 1137, the structure is five centuries older than Versailles. Originally a royal hunting lodge, the castle housed an unbroken line of French royalty for eight centuries. You can have the full château experience without traveling too far from Paris. Warning: you may need more than a day to cover the entire thing, from the gorgeous double front stairway to the more than 200 acres of gardens all around. Frescoes, stunning artwork and furnishings, and beautiful architecture awaits you.

Open: 9:30 am to 6 pm from April to September and until 5 pm the rest of the year.

Tickets: 14€ for adults. Optional video guide on a tablet for 4€ extra. Guided tour in French, 7€. Youth under age 26, 12€. Children under 6 are free.


The Town

The city of Fontainebleau is upscale and culturally rich. Stoll along sandstone pedestrian streets with shopping and cafes following your visit to the château. Historic architecture surrounds you. Fontainebleau also hosts equestrian shows and races.



The Forest

Discover the famed Forest of Fontainebleau, over 50,000 acres, near the town. It’s the second-largest national forest in France and is perfect for hiking, rock climbing, and walking (as well as picnicking.) Four hundred of its paths are marked.


How to Get There

By train: Take the train from the Gare de Lyon station to the Fontainebleau-Avon station. To go to the château, get on bus 1 in the direction of Les Lilas. Descend at the Château stop. It takes about 40 minutes and costs under 10€. The Paris Visit Card is accepted, as well as Navigo Découverte. Make sure whatever ticket you get will cover 5 zones.

By car: Take the A6 highway south. It takes just over one hour. The advantage of having a car is going from Fontainebleau to the forest or one of the other towns nearby (below). Take the Fontainebleau exit.


Nearby Towns



Milly-la-Foret is an attractive, smaller town due west of Fontainebleau. If you are traveling by car, you can do a day visit and easily see the three towns of Fontainebleau, Milly-la-Foret, and Barbizon, or for less of a rush, just pick two out of three.


Barbizon In the 19th century, the town drew landscape painters, such as Theodore Rousseau and Jean-François Millet. Today you’ll still find galleries and artistic charm in this village. It’s worth a visit if you are seeking a quaint change of pace from the big city. There are several good restaurants (from simple crêperies to gastronomic fare), shops, and galleries. It won’t likely take you the whole day unless you want to linger for a while. It combines nicely with nearby Fontainebleau and/or Milly-la-Fôret. The village lies northwest of Fontainebleau.

What a perfect day (or two) trip!

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