|The main entrance|
I know. I know. Your eyes glaze over. You want to get to the good stuff!
Hmm. Licking my lips.
|A closer look at the main entrance|
We stopped before we entered the chateau to have lunch. In a cafe on the main street, we walked in to order champagne (because what else would you have, if not a bottle of Sancerre from the nearby Loire Valley). We each ordered the mussels, too. And let me say, OMG (like a screaming girl) I counted no less than 5 dozen mussels in my fabulous white wine broth. Served, yes, it was, with French bread . We were stuffed as we crossed the street and took our first look at this building.
Famous for the attention given the original hunting lodge by Francis I, the chateau was occupied by many French kings and queens. Anne of Austria, the mother of Louis XIV, loved this palace and her receiving room and bedroom are grandiose examples of the sumptuous appointments in which French royalty lived.
Fontainebleau was also a favorite of Napoleon. In fact, in 1814, he abdicated his imperial throne from here and spoke harshly to his generals whom he felt had deserted him in his time of desperation.
The furnishings are scrumptious, many assembled from lesser castles and chateaux and restored. The friezes and art, including innumerable tapestries, take your breath away. But the sight that stopped me cold and kept me enchanted was the hallway you see pictured here.
|Napoleon's throne room with his famous imperial bees decorating the canopy.|
|The side apartments to the left of the main entrance where|
attending ministers and servants lived when the king or emperor was in residence.
Seeing the gilded splendor on the walls and door knobs, the richness of Aubusson carpets and fine Sevres china on the tables, you do understand why and how the French ultimately revolted from a system that favored the few above the many.
|The far gate, looking away from the cobblestoned main entrance, adorned with Napoleon's imperial Eagles.|