When the leaves start dropping their leaves and the floor becomes a patchwork blanket of Autumnal tones, that’s when you’ll find me out with my camera. Snapping photos for Instagram and Facebook, wearing my cosiest knit and drinking as many coffees as possible! If you’re visiting Paris in the fall, then Autumn in Fontainebleau is the perfect place to do all of the aforementioned activities!
Another great day trip from Paris in the fall is fruit picking in Versailles. At the Fermes de Gally, you’ll be able to pick your own fruit for bargain prices. But if you’re really looking to see some fall foliage against the backdrop of a stunning Château, then a Fontainebleau day trip is the perfect option.
Autumn in Fontainebleau: A Day Trip from Paris.
If you’re looking for a day trip from Paris that’s like Versailles, (but not actually Versailles) then Fontainebleau is the perfect option! Fontainebleau is basically Versailles without the crowds.
Built by French Princes as a medieval Hunting Lodge, the small house grew into a grand palace over the ages. Construction of the current palace began in 1528. Each monarch since Francois I had Fontainebleau as a royal residence and added a touch of their own. Following the French revolution, Napoleon himself added some touches to the palace and it was here that he made his final speech to his troops.
After Napoleon, the Château fell into extensive ruin and was deemed uninhabitable. Thanks to the efforts of the French nation, the Château was painstakingly restored using memoirs, sketches and the castle’s remains. Today, you can visit the renaissance style Château, stroll the extensive gardens and explore the large wooded area that surrounds the Château.
Renting a boat!
I don’t know about you, but there’s just something about being on the water that makes rowing so appealing! It’s possible to rent a boat at Versailles to row across the small lake that borders the château.
Filled with swans and other wildlife, the lake is serene and offers amazing views of the Château. You can rent boats on the lake for either half an hour or hour slots. With a couple of friends renting a rowboat with you, it works out at under €5 each!
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The Forest at Fontainebleau
The forest of Fontainebleau is deceptively named because it doesn’t just surround Fontainebleau but a number of other towns and villages as well. It is so large that it has been named a National Park by the French government.
A former hunting ground for royalty, the forest of Fontainebleau now attracts up to 11 million visitors each year. The forest is also known for its peculiar rock formations; including rocks in the shapes of tortoises and elephants!
The forest also happens to be the perfect place to spot some fall colours. Recently, I wrote an article about how to change the colour of the leaves in your photos using a smartphone app. However, if you’re looking for the real deal, then Fontainebleau in Autumn offers every autumnal tone you can imagine!
Visiting Fontainebleau Château
The work that was carried out by the French nation to restore the Château to its former glory. And you can tell. Attention has been paid to every detail; from mouldings on the ceiling to the style of the furniture. No detail of the 1500 room palace has been overlooked.
Highlights of the vast palace include the Pope’s apartments; Pius VII was imprisoned the château in the early 1800s and the papal apartments were subsequently named after him. Another highlight of the palace is the horseshoe staircase; a particuarly quirky architectural feature. It was from here that Napoleon gave his final speech to his men.
How to get to Fontainebleau.
The easiest way to get to Fontainebleau is by train. There are multiple trains a day to and from Fontainebleau from Paris’ Gare de Lyon.
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