Fontainebleau is renowned for the large and scenic forest of Fontainebleau, a favourite weekend getaway for Parisians, as well as for the historical 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; of the École supérieure d'ingénieurs en informatique et génie des télécommunications (ESIGETEL), one of France’s Grandes écoles; and of a branch of the École nationale supérieure des mines de Paris (the Paris School of Mines), also one of the elite Grandes écoles.

Le Bilboquet rock in Fontainebleau forest © Atout France/Fabrice Milochau

Protected by France's Office National des Forêts, the forest of Fontainebleau encompasses the town and numerous nearby villages, and 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 walkers 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.

Horn blowers ready to sound the start of hunting with hounds
© Atout France/Fabrice Milochau

The Royal Château de Fontainebleau is a large palace where the kings of France took their ease, and where the French royal court, from 1528 onwards, developed the concepts that became known as the Renaissance.

Artist in Fontainebleau forest. North-west of Fontainebleau is Barbizon, a village famous for the many impressionist painters who spent their lives there.
© Atout France/Fabrice Milochau


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4, Rue Royale, 77300 Fontainebleau
Tel. : 01 60 74 99 99

Fontainebleau lies 55.5 km (34½ mi) south-southeast of Paris, and has the largest land area in the Île-de-France region; it is the only one to cover a larger area than Paris itself.