Our final full day in Paris was a little more relaxing in that we only had one thing on our list but we were still on-the-go for most of the day. I couldn’t go to Paris without visiting a fancy palace and I was so excited when we were able to fit a visit to one in our itinerary. We opted to skip Versailles (and the infamous crowds) and instead went to Château de Fontainebleau.
Other Paris posts: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4
I didn’t think we would have time to visit Château de Fontainebleau but we ended up fitting so many landmarks into our first couple of days that day five of our trip was completely free. I had read that Château de Fontainebleau was a good choice out of all of the other palaces around Paris- it isn’t nearly as busy as Versailles and it’s only 40 miles outside of the city so a visit only takes about half a day. It is a bit more difficult to get to and not quite as “tourist friendly,” but I read a few travel posts about which trains and buses to take and what to look for when traveling and it helped a lot. We took the metro to the Gare de Lyon where we took a train to the Fontainebleau-Avon stop. Just outside the train station we caught bus #1 and headed into town.
As a side note, I tried speaking French whenever I could (when buying train tickets, ordering food, saying hello, etc) and the problem with that is that everyone speaks French back to you! My French just isn’t quite good enough to keep up with a native speaker but with enough hand gestures on their side and broken French on mine, I was able to make it work. And everyone was so nice and patient- I think it really did help that I tried to speak French, however badly it was. I also put the Google Translate app on my phone before we left and it was super helpful when trying to figure out what the train and bus signs meant.
But back to Fontainebleau. Somehow we missed the main bus stop in front of the château and ended up walking to the palace from the back. It was actually pretty fun- we got to see some of the gardens before heading inside to tour the château.
While the gardens at Château de Fontainebleau aren’t quite on the same level as the gardens at Versailles, they were really pretty and it was nice to see so much greenery in the middle of the city. I was surprised when I saw Château de Fontainebleau- I imagined it being out in the middle of a field or on the top of a hill or something, but it was just in the middle of town, on a main street and facing a courtyard shopping area. The gardens wrap around the sides and back of the château but not much separates the palace from the rest of town.
Château de Fontainebleau was pretty impressive. The architecture is beautiful (just like every other building in Paris) and it definitely felt like we had gone back in time a bit.
I was surprised by just how big the palace was. The building wrapped around a giant courtyard and while we spent several hours touring Château de Fontainebleau, I don’t think we saw even half of it.
The cobblestone streets and walkways in France are no joke- comfy shows are a must-have when visiting! I was so glad I took some super comfortable flat boots and ended up wearing them most of the time we were there.
I was also glad I overpacked, although I almost wish I had taken more clothes! The weather looked like it was going to be pretty cool so I took a lot of layering pieces but by the end of the week we were in the middle of a heat wave. This day was so hot and there wasn’t any a/c to be found. I can’t imagine how hot it must get during the summer, especially if you’re standing in crowds all day.
Château de Fontainebleau is so opulent and over-the-top inside. It was really fun wandering the halls and trying to imagine what it would be like to live there. Every single surface is covered with paint, gilding, or fabric. And every room was full of furniture and draperies. It’s hard to imagine how many dozens of prints are in each room or how many hours it would have taken to paint each ceiling. It was so crazy to see and definitely had a feeling of “sensory overload.”
It wasn’t crowded at all the day we visited. I knew Château de Fontainebleau wouldn’t be as busy as Versailles but I didn’t expect it to be quite so empty. It made for a great visit and we were able to spend as much time as we wanted in each room.
Château de Fontainebleau was a great place to visit! It only took about half a day and it was really fun to get outside of Paris and see a little different area of France. The lack of crowds was amazing and while it wasn’t the easiest place to get to, we didn’t have much trouble with the journey.
After our visit, we popped across the street for some lunch. It was kind of fun to sit and eat a croque monsieur right across from a palace where French kings and queens used to live. It wasn’t nearly as good as the croque monsieur I’d had earlier in the week, but the view couldn’t be beat. :)
Visiting Château de Fontainebleau was a pretty good way to end an amazing, exhausting week. I loved Paris and it definitely lived up to all the hype in my opinion. We managed to do a lot during our five days in the city and there is still so much that we didn’t get to see! In fact, we spent the flight home talking about what we wanted to do during our next visit. It was a fantastic, memorable trip and I can’t wait to go back.
Dress: Forever 21, last seen here, also love the printed dresses here, here, and here // Gray Cardigan: J. Crew, similar here and here // Boots: Born Cory Boots, similar here and here // Black Crossbody: Kate Spade Mindy Bag, similar here and here // Sunglasses: The Row, similar here and here // Necklace: Rocksbox, similar gray and gold necklaces here and here // Nail Polish: Essie in French Affair // Lipstick: YSL Rouge Volupte Shine in Pink in Paris