Like the enormous chateau, the gardens of Fontainebleau have undergone major transformations over the centuries including a re-work by France’s most famous gardener Andre Le Nôtre. Today you see incredible statues, and watch the carp in the pond, just as Louis XIV did.
Out in the grounds, you can’t help but be impressed by the horseshoe-shaped double staircase commissioned by Louis XIII and added in 1634. The famous painting of Napoleon standing here bidding farewell to his tearful guard as he went into exile brings the history of the past right into the present.
Wander through the park laid out as France’s most famous gardener Andre Le Notre planned, and you’ll discover the artificial grotto created in 1533, the Garden of Diana set up in 1604 with its famous statue of the goddess hunter and her dogs.
Hunting was one of the favourite sports of the French aristocracy but they also loved jeu de paume “the game of kings, the king of games”, the fore-runner of tennis. Originally built under Henry IV, the jeu de paume hall at Fontainbleau was rebuilt in 1732, having been destroyed by fire in 1702. Restored in 1812, it retains almost all of its original features, such as its limestone flags and tournaments are regularly held there to this day.
This is a chateau that despite its size and grandeur, presents an intimate view of the history of French royalty over several centuries and allows you to get close to the past in a rare way. And, the gardens at the Chateau de Fontainebleau are absolutely magnificent.
More gorgeous Chateau gardens in France
The gardens of Chateau Vaux le Vicomte where Andre Le Notre’s style is impeccable…
The stunning Chateau de Rivau Vegetable garden
Wine tasting under the stars at the Chateau de Chenonceau
Chaumont – France’s most famous garden festival