Monday, August 23, 2010

Fontainebleau...the best palace so far!

On Sunday we visited Fontainebleau.  It was an hour's drive from our house.  The Castle has been inhabited by all of the sovereigns since the Middle Ages and every king left his mark.  It is an absolutely incredible place.  Portions of the Castle date back to the 12th century.  We were able to do an audio tour in English and we could take pictures without our flash.  I have to admit, it took me 7 weeks to figure out how to turn off my flash...but I finally did I have pictures of the inside of the palace to share!

Main Entrance

As we entered, we saw an almost identical couple to one we had seen in Paris at Notre Dame.

One side of the Palace

I liked this carving!

Frescoes in the Grand Hall
The Grand Hall

Unbelievable arches in the ball room
Fascinated by the history of the place!

Our group in one of the chapels
Cool fire place mantel
This room at one time was the Queen's public birthing room...that's right...queens had to give birth in public to guarantee that the baby was the real heir.  What a bummer!!!!

The library...absolutely awesome room!

Napoleon's Throne's the last Throne Room in France...all the rest were destroyed during the revolution.

This is the spot that Napoleon gave his farewell speech in 1814...notice any resemblance?
Soldiers of my Old Guard: I bid you farewell. For twenty years I have constantly accompanied you on the road to honor and glory. In these latter times, as in the days of our prosperity, you have invariably been models of courage and fidelity. With men such as you our cause could not be lost; but the war would have been interminable; it would have been civil war, and that would have entailed deeper misfortunes on France.
I have sacrificed all of my interests to those of the country.
I go, but you, my friends, will continue to serve France. Her happiness was my only thought. It will still be the object of my wishes. Do not regret my fate; if I have consented to survive, it is to serve your glory. I intend to write the history of the great achievements we have performed together. Adieu, my friends. Would I could press you all to my heart.

Napoleon Bonaparte - April 20, 1814

We toured the inside of the Castle for about two hours (could have used an entire day)...then it was time to eat our picnic lunch and explore the gardens. 

The incredible gardens...

More buildings of the Palace

The great can't even see the end of it!

Enjoying the gardens!
Wow...the Castle is huge!

At this point, the kids were a little tired of sight seeing, so they rented a row boat and explored the pond while we adults explored the gardens!

This guy was terrified of the kids!

A little mother/daughter moment.

We then discovered that you could go in a horse drawn wagon through parts of the park and we couldn't resist.  The Park is huge and the suggested walking tour is three hours long!  Seeing it in a horse drawn wagon was a great way to rest our weary feet and enjoy the scenery.  However, it was a tad bit smelly!


Our beautiful guide!

All in all, another amazing day discovering French history and architecture.

Gosh, they really could be brothers!

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