In the Shadow of French Royalty at Château de Fontainebleau

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After spending the morning at Vaux-le-Vicomte, I continued my château-palooza at Fontainebleau, which served as a royal residence for eight centuries and was even the spot where Napoleon abdicated before being exiled to Elba. Needless to say, there’s a lot of history here.

With such a storied past, it is not surprising that there’s a ton to see at Fontainebleau. The palace itself is home to not just the royal apartments but also to several museums, and of course to the vast gardens. I decided to focus on what interested me the most: the apartments and the gardens. I began with the apartments, which were everything you think of when you think of European royalty: gilded interiors, elegant chandeliers, and paintings galore. I mean, just look at these ceilings!

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Outside, though it was overcast and chilly, I found the gardens lovely, with all the symmetrical precision of a typical French garden. I imagine this would be the perfect spot to spend a sunnier day.

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Just 34 miles outside of Paris, Fontainebleau is an easy escape from the city, and pairing it with Vaux-le-Vicomte makes for an extremely regal daytrip. To get to both, I joined a bus tour with Paris City Vision, which was perfect for me: the bus takes you exactly where you need to go, but once there, you’re completely on your own to explore (ideal for me as I would much prefer to tour according to my own pace and agenda). I’d recommend it!

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