The Fontainebleau Palace is a beautiful palace with gorgeous gardens, located about 60 km south of Paris. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1981. During the twelfth century, it was used by the kings of France as place came and hunt, as it is in the middle of a large forest of the Ile de France. During the 16th century, it was transformed and enlarged by François I, ve wanted to make it a New Rome with Italian Renaissance details, mixed with traditional French art.
You can get there by train from Paris, and the trip takes about one hour. Trains leave every hour and there is a special rate for visitors to the castle, which includes the train, guide and entrance to the castle. Once you get to the station, you can then take a bus to go to the castle entrance. Admission is 8 euros. The main tour of the castle includes the Pope's apartment, Renaissance rooms, the chapel Saint Saturnin and several large apartments that belonged to the kings. We also visited the galleries of Diane, goddess of the hunting, and the emperor's apartment.
The price includes an audio guide and the total visit lasts an hour and a half. There is the option of taking a guided visit which allows entry to places which are normally closed to the public. If you come in a group, you must reserve a space ahead of time. These visits take place every day at 10h30 and 15h30 to the Napoleon Museum and then at 11h30 and 14.30 for the second empire tour. These visits cost 12.50 euros, but include the normal entry to the castle. The gardens are open access, and many people use them, first French gardens, and then the rest of the forest, where you can walk and hike.
The Chateau de Vincennes allows you to understand the historical diversity of this city-museum that is Paris. In Vincennes, next to Paris, on the east side, at the metro stop of the same name, stands the Castle of Vincennes, built in the fourteenth century by the kings of France. Surrounded by a wall, which encloses the town in the style I studied in school ;), There are different buildings (a chapel, a tower, several outbuildings), recent renovations allow you to enjoy the town which I loved for its cleanliness and grand appearance . For the normal price of 8 euros, unfortunately the visit (at least when I went) only includes a visit to the tower, and outdoor patios - some buildings are now occupied by the department of defence and other public institutions which restrict access . If you are lucky one of the side doors in the wall may be open, and you may be able to enter the courtyard without paying an entrance fee (who knows ;) Still, this offer another point of view on the history of the capital, and the Bois de Vincennes is just beside to enjoy a picnic or a walk. This is an excellent way to spend a day off!