The Fontainbleau castle has evolved over the years: of the 12th century fort all that remains is the dungeon and King's Chambers. It was in 1528 that François Premier had the château levelled to raise another on the site.
Of this 16th century configuration we can still admire the golden gate, the Ballroom, a few buildings in the courtyard, and of course the François I gallery (designed by Rosso and Francesco Primaticcio) which is a masterpiece of frescoes, stucco and woodwork. This is representative of the first Fontainebleau art school. When Henri II commissioned Philibery Delorme to design the Cerfs and Diane galleries and the Dauphine gateway, the result was a perfect example of the second school of Fontainebleau (with Flemish and French artists).
Napoleon, upon his arrival in Fontainebleau, was confronted with a lack of furnishing; he had the entire place refurbished and the Petits Appartements laid out. It wasn't until the reign of Louis-Philippe that the château was restored as a whole.
Group tours: reservations required (free of charge; guide in French/English/Italian). Reservations for group guided tours on 01 60 71 50 77 (call mornings)
Reservations for free-roaming group tours on 01 60 71 50 60 (call mornings).
Open every day except Tuesdays; also closed on January 1st, May 1st and December 25th. Otherwise from 9:30AM to 5PM October to May, and to 6PM from April to September.
From Saturday 1 November to Wednesday 31 December 2014 :
From Wednesday to Monday from 09:00 to 17:00
Admission prices :
Full price : 11 €
Reduced price : 9 €
Up to 25 years : Free
Unemployed : Free
Disabled (adults) : Free
Group rates (adults) : 9 €
Closed on 1 January, 1 May and 25 December