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Coordinates: 48°24′35″N 2°42′09″E / 48.409722°N 2.7025°E / 48.409722; 2.7025

Commune of Fontainebleau

Chateau Fontainebleau.jpg
Château de Fontainebleau
Location
Fontainebleau is located in France
Fontainebleau
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Administration
Country France
Region Île-de-France
Department Seine-et-Marne
Arrondissement Fontainebleau
Canton Fontainebleau
Intercommunality Fontainebleau-Avon
Mayor Frédéric Valletoux
(2008–2014)
Statistics
Elevation 42–150 m (140–490 ft)
(avg. 69 m/230 ft)
Land area1 172.05 km2 (66.43 sq mi)
Population2 16,236  (2006)
 - Density 94 /km2 (240 /sq mi)
Miscellaneous
INSEE/Postal code 77186/ 77300
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.
2 Population sans doubles comptes: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Fontainebleau is a commune in the metropolitan area of Paris, France. It is located 55.5 kilometres (34.5 mi) south-southeast of the centre of Paris. Fontainebleau is a sub-prefecture of the Seine-et-Marne department, and it is the seat of the arrondissement of Fontainebleau. The commune has the largest land area in the Île-de-France region; it is the only one to cover a larger area than Paris itself.

Fontainebleau, together with the neighbouring commune of Avon and three other smaller communes, form an urban area of 36,713 inhabitants (according to the 1999 census). This urban area is a satellite of Paris.

Fontainebleau is renowned for the large and scenic forest of Fontainebleau, a favourite weekend getaway for Parisians, as well as for the historical château de Fontainebleau, which once belonged to the kings of France, It is also the home of INSEAD, one of the world's most elite business schools; of the École supérieure d'ingénieurs en informatique et génie des télécommunications (ESIGETEL), one of France's grandes écoles; and of a branch of the École nationale supérieure des mines de Paris, the Paris School of Mines, also one of the elite grandes écoles.

Inhabitants of Fontainebleau are called Bellifontains.

Contents

History

Originally called Fontaine Belle eau or Fontaine Belleaue, Fontainebleau settled on its ultimate name in 1169.

This hamlet was endowed with a royal hunting lodge and a chapel by Louis VII in the middle of the twelfth century. A century later, Louis IX, also called Saint Louis, who held Fontainebleau in high esteem and referred to it as "his wilderness", had a country house and a hospital constructed there.

Philip the Fair was born there in 1268 and died there in 1314. In all, thirty-four sovereigns, from Louis VI, the Fat, (1081-1137) to Napoléon III (1808-1873), spent time at Fontainebleau.

The connection between the town of Fontainebleau and the French monarchy was reinforced with the transformation of the royal country house into a true royal palace, the Palace of Fontainebleau. This was accomplished by the great builder-king, Francis I (1494–1547), who, in the largest of his many construction projects, reconstructed, expanded, and transformed the royal château at Fontainebleau into a residence that became his favourite, as well as the residence of his mistress, Anne, duchess of Étampes.

From the sixteenth to the eighteenth century, every monarch, from Francis I to Louis XV, made important renovations at the Palace of Fontainebleau, including demolitions, reconstructions, additions, and embellishments of various descriptions, all of which endowed it with a character that is a bit heterogeneous, but harmonious nonetheless.

On 18 October 1685, Louis XIV signed the Edict of Fontainebleau there. Also known as the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, this royal fiat reversed the permission granted to the Huguenots in 1598 to worship publicly in specified locations and hold certain other privileges. The result was that a large number of Protestants were forced into exile, mainly in the Low Countries, Prussia and in England.

The 1762 Treaty of Fontainebleau, a secret agreement between France and Spain concerning the Louisiana territory in North America, was concluded here. Also, preliminary negotiations, held before the 1763 Treaty of Paris was signed, ending the Seven Years' War, were at Fontainebleau.

During the French Revolution, Fontainebleau was temporarily renamed Fontaine-la-Montagne, meaning "Fountain by the Mountain". (The mountain referred to is the series of rocky formations located in the forest of Fontainebleau.)

On 29 October 1807, Manuel Godoy, chancellor to the Spanish king, Charles IV and Napoléon signed the Treaty of Fontainebleau, which authorized the passage of French troops through Spanish territories so that they might invade Portugal.

On 20 June 1812, Pope Pius VII arrived at the château of Fontainebleau, after a secret transfer from Savona, accompanied by his personal physician, Balthazard Claraz. In poor health, the pope was the prisoner of Napoléon, and he remained in his genteel prison at Fontainebleau for nineteen months. From June 1812 until 23 January 1814, the pope never left his apartments.

On 18 April 1814, Napoléon Bonaparte, shortly before his first abdication, bid farewell to the Old Guard, the renowned grognards (gripers) who had served with him since his very first campaigns, in the "White Horse Courtyard" (la cour du Cheval Blanc) at the Palace of Fontainebleau. (The courtyard has since been renamed the "Courtyard of Goodbyes".) According to contemporary sources, the occasion was very moving. The 1814 Treaty of Fontainebleau stripped Napoléon of his powers (but not his title as Emperor of the French) and sent him into exile on Elba.

In July and August 1946, the town hosted the Franco-Vietnamese Conference, intended to find a solution to the long-contested struggle for Vietnam’s independence from France, but the conference ended in failure.

Fontainebleau also hosted the general staff of the Allied Forces in Central Europe (Allied Forces Center or AFCENT) and the land forces command (LANDCENT); the air forces command (AIRCENT) was located nearby at Camp Guynemer. These facilities were in place from the inception of NATO until France’s partial withdrawal from NATO in 1967 when the United States returned those bases to French control. NATO moved AFCENT to Brunssum in the Netherlands and AIRCENT to Ramstein in West Germany. (Note that the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, also known as SHAPE, was located at Rocquencourt, west of Paris, quite a distance from Fontainebleau.

Tourism

Fontainebleau is a popular tourist destination; each year, 300,000 people visit the palace and about 11 million people visit the forest.

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Fontainebleau forest

The forest of Fontainebleau surrounds the city and dozens of nearby villages. It is protected by France's Office National des Forêts, and it is recognised as a French national park. It is managed in order that its wild plants and trees, such as the rare Service Tree of Fontainebleau, and its populations of birds, mammals, and butterflies, can be conserved. It is a former royal hunting park often visited by hikers and horse riders. The forest is also well regarded for bouldering and is particularly popular among climbers, as the biggest developed area of that kind in the world.

Royal Château de Fontainebleau

The Royal Château de Fontainebleau is a large palace where the kings of France took their ease. It is also the site where the French royal court, from 1528 onwards, entertained the body of new ideas that became known as the Renaissance.

Town centre

INSEAD

The European (and historical) campus of the INSEAD business school is located at the edge of Fontainebleau. INSEAD students live in chateaux and other accommodations in the Fontainebleau area.

Other Notables

The graves of G. I. Gurdjieff and Katherine Mansfield can be found in the cemetery at Avon.

Transport

Fontainebleau is served by two stations on the Transilien Paris–Lyon rail line: Fontainebleau–Avon and Thomery. Fontainebleau–Avon station, the station closest to the center of Fontainebleau, is located near the dividing-line between the commune of Fontainebleau and the commune of Avon, on the Avon side of the border.

Famous residents

Also, Tom Ripley, the fictional protagonist of several novels by Patricia Highsmith, lives in a small village a few miles away, and he sometimes visits the town.

Image gallery

See also

References

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Europe : France : Île-de-France : Fontainebleau

Fontainebleau is a lovely historical town south of Paris, France (55.5 km - 34.5 miles). It is renowned for its large and scenic Forest of Fontainebleau, a favorite weekend getaway for Parisians, as well as for the historical Château de Fontainebleau of the kings of France, which attracts crowds of tourists.

Getting there

Getting there is very easy from Paris.

By train

You can go by train from Paris Gare de Lyon with at least two trains an hour. At Gare de Lyon, the train ticket should be purchased to the destination Fontainebleau Avon from the green colored Billet Ile-de-France machines and not from the yellow colored SNCF machines. As of August 2008, the adult return fare is 15.60 Euros and the ride lasts about 35 minutes and stops only in the towns of Melun and Bois-le-Roi before arriving in the green town of Fontainebleau (you will feel the fresh forest air as soon as you come out). Later, upon your return back to Gare de Lyon, note that you may continue using the same train ticket to get to any Metro destination within Paris.

From the Gare de Fontainebleau Avon you can use a Line A bus, operated by Veolia Transport to get to the Chateau (about 15 minutes) although buses seem to stop around eight in the evening. The bus ticket costs 1.60 Euros.

To find the last stop, you can either look for the Place Napoléon Bonaparte or the Castle as each stop is in the centre.

By car

The total distance from centre to centre is about 65 km or an hour. From Paris, follow signs towards the south, then signs for Lyon and the A6. After about 35 minutes you will see signs for Fontainebleau. Once entering the city there is a tall apartment block which is a remnant of some architectural style a lot in the city would like to see disappear. However, it still forms part of the town’s history – as much as the castle even if in much less splendour.

Get around

Orientation in town is very easy as there is only one main artery called the “Rue Grande” which goes from the Castle to the other end of town, passing by the central “Napoléon Bonaparte” place. Many shops, bars and restaurants abound on either sidewalk for every possible taste. Walking is by far the best option as the most you’ll walk without stopping (very difficult thing to do considering all the pretty windows to look at) would be 20 minutes.

Learn

The town is so close to Paris and yet so protected by its forest that Harvard professors in the sixties started the now world renowned INSEAD MBA school. This unique environment attracted other top universities and grandes écoles such as ESIGETEL Engineering School.

http://www.insead.edu

http://www.esigetel.fr

The Chateau de Fontainebleau also hosts a summer music institution. It is a combination of a music conservatory and an architecture studio in a historic chateau setting. Courses are taught in English by predominately French musicians, composers, artists, and professors. Nadia Boulanger, a young composition and harmony professor led the school until 1979. The school has influenced such composers as: Aaron Copland, Virgil Thomson, Louise Talma, Samuel Dushkin, Elliott Carter, Beveridge Webster, Kenton Coe and many others.

LES ECOLES D’ART AMERICAINES DE FONTAINEBLEAU http://www.fontainebleauschools.org/

Do

There are many cultural, sporting, entertainment or shopping activities one could do. For more information on this, the best available and updated website is http://www.fontainebleau-tourisme.com

The town is also famous for a horse race track and its Sunday morning food market.

As if the town didn’t offer enough as it is, there are many other attractions in the surrounding region. Towns like Barbizon (home of the artists), Milly-la-Foret, Samois-sur-Seine, and many others…

The Forest is also full of sandstone boulders perfect for climbing/bouldering. http://www.bleau.info has lots about the climbing

Buy

There are plenty of shops from high-end pastery shops to the latest French fashion cloth wear and jewellery.

Eat

The town boasts many different restaurants from Mexican to Japanese, Pizza to Fish-only. Of course there are Brasseries (the most authentic being, quite unknowingly called the “Franklin Roosevelt”) and very good French restaurants (the best one being in the Hotel Napoleon).

Drink

There are plenty of places to drink, from modern ambient bars to traditional French bars, English pubs and Mexican bars.

Sleep

There are plenty of places to sleep in Fontainebleau but the three best places are the Aigle Noir Hotel, the Napoléon Hotel and the Hotel of London.

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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From LoveToKnow 1911

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Simple English

File:Chateau
Le Chateau de Fontaineblue

Fontainebleau (French pronunciation: [fɔ̃tɛnblo]) is a commune in the metropolitan area of Paris, France. It is located 55.5 kilometres (34.5 mi) south-southeast of the centre of Paris.

Fontainebleau is a sub-prefecture of the Seine-et-Marne department, and is the seat of the Arrondissement of Fontainebleau. The commune has the largest land area in the Île-de-France region; it is the only one to cover a larger area than Paris itself.

Fontainebleau, together with the neighbouring commune of Avon, Seine-et-Marne and three other smaller communes, form an urban area of 36,713 inhabitants (according to the 1999 census). This urban area is a satellite of Paris.

Fontainebleau is renowned for the large and scenic Forest of Fontainebleau, a favourite weekend getaway for Parisians, as well as for the historical Palace of Fontainebleau, which once belonged to the kings of France.


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