The Château de Fontainebleau is the only castle inhabited by all the sovereigns from the 12th to the 19th century,
An Italian-style palace
If the medieval origins of the castle are still visible thanks to the old keep , which dominates the Oval courtyard , it was François I, seduced by the site and the game-filled forest, who ordered spectacular developments in 1528, rebuilding the medieval palace and increasing it into an Italian-style palace, a reflection of the power of a learned king and lover of the arts. The castle thus preserves, nowadays, the greatest decorative vestiges of the French Renaissance, such as the Italian artists invited by François Ier in Fontainebleau (like Rosso Fiorentino and Primatice) imported the principles.
Favorite castle of Henri IV
The successors of François I will continue his work : favorite castle of Henri IV reconnecting with a time of splendor, the birth of the future Louis XIII in the king’s apartment will impose it as the cradle of the Bourbon dynasty. The young Louis XIV asserted his absolute power there, while Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette created enchanting escape spaces away from the splendor of Versailles on the eve of the French Revolution. Became an imperial palace after the Revolution, Fontainebleau bears witness to the redevelopments of Napoleon I and retains, among other things, the only Napoleonic throne room still in existence.
True residence of kings
Place of captivity of Pope Pius VII between 1812 and 1814, Fontainebleau became the scene of the collapse of the First Empire in April 1814. It was at the castle that Napoleon I abdicated on April 4 and 6, and after a famous speech by farewell to his old guard in the Cour d’Honneur, went into exile on the island of Elba. « True residence of kings, house of centuries », as Napoleon I liked to say, the castle will continue to be a place of stay for French sovereigns until the last of them, Napoleon III, offering an incomparable glimpse of several centuries of French history, of power, of tastes, of the arts.