Fontainebleau

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Fontainebleau
Chateau Fontainebleau.jpg
Blason ville fr Fontainebleau (Seine-et-Marne).svg
Coat of arms
Location of Fontainebleau
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Fontainebleau
Ile-de-France region location map.svg
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Fontainebleau
Coordinates: 48°24′35″N2°42′09″E / 48.4097°N 2.7025°E / 48.4097; 2.7025 Coordinates: 48°24′35″N2°42′09″E / 48.4097°N 2.7025°E / 48.4097; 2.7025
Country France
Region Île-de-France
Department Seine-et-Marne
Arrondissement Fontainebleau
Canton Fontainebleau
Intercommunality CA Pays de Fontainebleau
Government
  Mayor (2008–Present) Frédéric Valletoux
Area
1
172.05 km2 (66.43 sq mi)
Population
(2014)2
14,637
  Density85/km2 (220/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+01:00 (CET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
77186 /77300
Elevation42–150 m (138–492 ft)
(avg. 69 m or 226 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries. 2 Population without double counting : residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Fontainebleau ( /ˈfɒntɪnˌbl/ ; French pronunciation:  [fɔ̃tɛnblo] ) [1] is a commune in the metropolitan area of Paris, France. It is located 55.5 kilometres (34.5 mi) south-southeast of the centre of Paris. Fontainebleau is a sub-prefecture of the Seine-et-Marne department, and it is the seat of the arrondissement of Fontainebleau. The commune has the largest land area in the Île-de-France region; it is the only one to cover a larger area than Paris itself.

Paris Capital of France

Paris is the capital and most populous city of France, with an area of 105 square kilometres and an official estimated population of 2,140,526 residents as of 1 January 2019. Since the 17th century, Paris has been one of Europe's major centres of finance, diplomacy, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts.

France Republic with mainland in Europe and numerous oversea territories

France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.

Subprefectures in France

In France, a subprefecture is the administrative center of a departmental arrondissement that does not contain the prefecture for its department. The term also applies to the building that houses the administrative headquarters for an arrondissement.

Contents

Fontainebleau, together with the neighbouring commune of Avon and three other smaller communes, form an urban area of 39,713 inhabitants (according to the 2001 census). This urban area is a satellite of Paris.

Avon, Seine-et-Marne Commune in Île-de-France, France

Avon is a commune in the Seine-et-Marne department in the Île-de-France region in north-central France.

Fontainebleau is renowned for the large and scenic forest of Fontainebleau, a favourite weekend getaway for Parisians, as well as for the historic Château de Fontainebleau, which once belonged to the kings of France. It is also the home of INSEAD, one of the world's most elite business schools.

Forest of Fontainebleau forest in France

The forest of Fontainebleau is a mixed deciduous forest lying sixty kilometres southeast of Paris, France. It is located primarily in the arrondissement of Fontainebleau in the southwestern part of the department of Seine-et-Marne. Most of it also lies in the canton of Fontainebleau, although parts of it extend into adjoining cantons, and even as far west as the town of Milly-la-Forêt in the neighboring department, Essonne. Several communes lie within the forest, notably the towns of Fontainebleau and Avon. The forest has an area of 250 km2 (97 sq mi).

Palace of Fontainebleau castle in Fontainebleau, France

The Palace of Fontainebleau or Château de Fontainebleau, located 55 kilometres southeast of the center of Paris, in the commune of Fontainebleau, is one of the largest French royal châteaux. The medieval castle and subsequent palace served as a residence for the French monarchs from Louis VII to Napoleon III. Francis I and Napoleon were the monarchs who had the most influence on the Palace as it stands today.. It is now a national museum and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

INSEAD business school

INSEAD is a graduate business school with campuses in Europe, Asia (Singapore), and the Middle East. The name "INSEAD" originated as an acronym of Institut Européen d'Administration des Affaires.

Inhabitants of Fontainebleau are sometimes called Bellifontains.

History

Fontainebleau has been recorded in different Latinised forms, such as, Fons Bleaudi, Fons Bliaudi, Fons Blaadi in the 12th and 13th centuries, with Fontem blahaud being recorded in 1137. It became Fons Bellaqueus in the 17th century, which gave rise to the name of the inhabitants as Bellifontains. The name originates as a medieval composite of two words: Fontaine– meaning spring, or fountainhead, followed by a person’s Germanic name Blizwald. [2]

This hamlet was endowed with a royal hunting lodge and a chapel by Louis VII in the middle of the twelfth century. A century later, Louis IX, also called Saint Louis, who held Fontainebleau in high esteem and referred to it as "his wilderness", had a country house and a hospital constructed there.

Louis VII of France King of France

Louis VII, called the Younger or the Young, was King of the Franks from 1137 to 1180, the sixth from the House of Capet. He was the son and successor of King Louis VI, hence his nickname, and married Duchess Eleanor of Aquitaine, one of the wealthiest and most powerful women in western Europe. The marriage temporarily extended the Capetian lands to the Pyrenees, but was annulled in 1152 after no male heir was produced.

Louis IX of France 13th-century King of France

Louis IX, commonly known as Saint Louis, was King of France, the ninth from the House of Capet, and is a canonized Catholic and Anglican saint. Louis was crowned in Reims at the age of 12, following the death of his father Louis VIII; his mother, Blanche of Castile, ruled the kingdom as regent until he reached maturity. During Louis' childhood, Blanche dealt with the opposition of rebellious vassals and put an end to the Albigensian Crusade which had started 20 years earlier.

Philip the Fair was born there in 1268 and died there in 1314. In all, thirty-four sovereigns, from Louis VI, the Fat, (1081–1137) to Napoleon III (1808–1873), spent time at Fontainebleau.

Philip IV of France King of France 1285–1314

Philip IV, called Philip the Fair, was King of France from 1285 until his death. By virtue of his marriage with Joan I of Navarre, he was also King of Navarre as Philip I from 1284 to 1305, as well as Count of Champagne. Although Philip was known as handsome, hence the epithet le Bel, his rigid and inflexible personality gained him other nicknames, such as the Iron King. His fierce opponent Bernard Saisset, bishop of Pamiers, said of him: "he is neither man nor beast. He is a statue."

Louis VI of France King of France

Louis VI, called the Fat or the Fighter, was King of the Franks from 1108 to 1137, the fifth from the House of Capet. Chronicles called him "roi de Saint-Denis".

Napoleon III French emperor, president, and member of the House of Bonaparte

Napoleon III, the nephew of Napoleon I, was the first elected President of France from 1848 to 1852. When he could not constitutionally be re-elected, he seized power in 1851 and became the Emperor of the French from 1852 to 1870. He founded the Second French Empire and was its only emperor until the defeat of the French army and his capture by Prussia and its allies in the Franco-Prussian War in 1870. He worked to modernize the French economy, rebuilt the center of Paris, expanded the overseas empire, and engaged in the Crimean War and the war for Italian unification. After his defeat and downfall, he went into exile and died in England in 1873.

The connection between the town of Fontainebleau and the French monarchy was reinforced with the transformation of the royal country house into a true royal palace, the Palace of Fontainebleau. This was accomplished by the great builder-king, Francis I (1494–1547), who, in the largest of his many construction projects, reconstructed, expanded, and transformed the royal château at Fontainebleau into a residence that became his favourite, as well as the residence of his mistress, Anne, duchess of Étampes.

From the sixteenth to the eighteenth century, every monarch, from Francis I to Louis XV, made important renovations at the Palace of Fontainebleau, including demolitions, reconstructions, additions, and embellishments of various descriptions, all of which endowed it with a character that is a bit heterogeneous, but harmonious nonetheless.

Fontainebleau palace garden fountain and Grand canal Le bassin des cascades (Chateau de Fontainebleau) (2935087125).jpg
Fontainebleau palace garden fountain and Grand canal

On 18 October 1685, Louis XIV signed the Edict of Fontainebleau there. Also known as the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, this royal fiat reversed the permission granted to the Huguenots in 1598 to worship publicly in specified locations and hold certain other privileges. The result was that a large number of Protestants were forced to convert to the Catholic faith, killed, or forced into exile, mainly in the Low Countries, Prussia and in England. [3]

The 1762 Treaty of Fontainebleau, a secret agreement between France and Spain concerning the Louisiana territory in North America, was concluded here. Also, preliminary negotiations, held before the 1763 Treaty of Paris was signed, ending the Seven Years' War, were at Fontainebleau.

During the French Revolution, Fontainebleau was temporarily renamed Fontaine-la-Montagne, meaning "Fountain by the Mountain". (The mountain referred to is the series of rocky formations located in the forest of Fontainebleau.)

On 29 October 1807, Manuel Godoy, chancellor to the Spanish king, Charles IV and Napoleon signed the Treaty of Fontainebleau, which authorized the passage of French troops through Spanish territories so that they might invade Portugal.

On 20 June 1812, Pope Pius VII arrived at the château of Fontainebleau, after a secret transfer from Savona, accompanied by his personal physician, Balthazard Claraz. In poor health, the Pope was the prisoner of Napoleon, and he remained in his genteel prison at Fontainebleau for nineteen months. From June 1812 until 23 January 1814, the Pope never left his apartments.

On 20 April 1814, Napoleon Bonaparte, shortly before his first abdication, bid farewell to the Old Guard, the renowned grognards (gripers) who had served with him since his very first campaigns, in the "White Horse Courtyard" (la cour du Cheval Blanc) at the Palace of Fontainebleau. (The courtyard has since been renamed the "Courtyard of Goodbyes".) According to contemporary sources, the occasion was very moving. The 1814 Treaty of Fontainebleau stripped Napoleon of his powers (but not his title as Emperor of the French) and sent him into exile on Elba.

Until the 19th century, Fontainebleau was a village and a suburb of Avon. Later, it developed as an independent residential city.

Historical reenactment in Fontainebleau of the bicentenary of Napoleon's Farewell to the Old Guard, April 20th of 2014. Napoleon is going down the famous stairs of Fontainebleau castle to meet with the Old Guard. Bicentenaire des Adieux de Napoleon a Fontainebleau.JPG
Historical reenactment in Fontainebleau of the bicentenary of Napoleon's Farewell to the Old Guard, April 20th of 2014. Napoleon is going down the famous stairs of Fontainebleau castle to meet with the Old Guard.

For the 1924 Summer Olympics, the town played host to the riding portion of the modern pentathlon event. This event took place near a golf course. [4]

In July and August 1946, the town hosted the Franco-Vietnamese Conference, intended to find a solution to the long-contested struggle for Vietnam’s independence from France, but the conference ended in failure.

Fontainebleau also hosted the general staff of the Allied Forces in Central Europe (Allied Forces Center or AFCENT) and the land forces command (LANDCENT); the air forces command (AIRCENT) was located nearby at Camp Guynemer. These facilities were in place from the inception of NATO until France’s partial withdrawal from NATO in 1967 when the United States returned those bases to French control. NATO moved AFCENT to Brunssum in the Netherlands and AIRCENT to Ramstein in West Germany. (Note that the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, also known as SHAPE, was located at Rocquencourt, west of Paris, quite a distance from Fontainebleau).

In 2008, The men's World Championship of Real Tennis (Jeu de Paume) was held in the tennis court of the Chateau. The real tennis World Championship is the oldest in sport and Fontainebleau has one of only two active courts in France.

Tourism

Fontainebleau is a popular tourist destination; each year, 300,000 people visit the palace [5] and more than 13 million people visit the forest. [6]

Fontainebleau forest

The forest of Fontainebleau surrounds the town and dozens of nearby villages. It is protected by France's Office National des Forêts, and it is recognised as a French national park. It is managed in order that its wild plants and trees, such as the rare service tree of Fontainebleau, and its populations of birds, mammals, and butterflies, can be conserved. It is a former royal hunting park often visited by hikers and horse riders. The forest is also well regarded for bouldering and is particularly popular among climbers, as the biggest developed area of that kind in the world.

Royal Château de Fontainebleau

The Royal Château de Fontainebleau is a large palace where the kings of France took their ease. It is also the site where the French royal court, from 1528 onwards, entertained the body of new ideas that became known as the Renaissance.

Town centre Square in Fontainebleau Town Centre.JPG
Town centre

INSEAD

The European (and historic) campus of the INSEAD business school is located at the edge of Fontainebleau, by the Lycee Francois Couperin. INSEAD students live in local accommodations around the Fontainebleau area, and especially in the surrounding towns.

Other notables

The graves of G. I. Gurdjieff and Katherine Mansfield can be found in the cemetery at Avon.

Transport

Fontainebleau is served by two stations on the Transilien Paris–Lyon rail line: Fontainebleau–Avon and Thomery. Fontainebleau–Avon station, the station closest to the centre of Fontainebleau, is located near the dividing-line between the commune of Fontainebleau and the commune of Avon, on the Avon side of the border.

Famous residents

Twinning

Fontainebleau is twinned with the following cities:

See also

Bibliography

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References

  1. "Fontainebleau". Collins Dictionary. n.d. Retrieved 24 September 2014.
  2. Albert Dauzat and Charles Rostaing, Dictionnaire étymologique des noms de lieu en France, Librairie Guénégaud, Paris, 1979.
  3. Meromedia, BUFFET Andre. "Article - The Edict of Fontainebleau or the Revocation (1685)". Museeprotestant.org. Retrieved 2013-02-28.
  4. 1924 Olympics official report. pp. 501-3. (in French)
  5. "Château de Fontainebleau" (in French). Retrieved 2017-01-30.
  6. "Forêt de Fontainebleau" (in French). Retrieved 2017-01-30.
  7. Fontainebleau -Village Communities of Painters
  8. "British towns twinned with French towns". Archant Community Media Ltd. Archived from the original on 2013-07-05. Retrieved 2013-07-11.