Saturday, June 12, 2021

Font of Splendor

 From Victoria:

Described by Napoleon Bonaparte as “the true residence of kings,” Château de Fontainebleau was occupied and shaped by esteemed magnates for nearly eight centuries. In its earliest form, the property was a hunting estate, a haven where rulers would retreat to enjoy the forest’s abundant wildlife. As early as 1137, Louis VII and his successors took reprieve here, establishing their own additions to the grounds.

 What some would call the palace’s “second birth” came at the hands of Francis I, who commissioned a near total transformation of the medieval fortress into a Renaissance-style palace, leaving only the foundation and a single tower from its previous iteration. Subsequent rulers made notable expansions, designing great new wings, courtyards, and gardens to both house and entertain their courts. The castle’s rooms, of which there are 1,500, were masterfully refurnished in the ornate fashion coveted by occupants such as Catherine de Medici and Marie Antoinette, while walls and ceilings were adorned with the frescoes and stucco that helped form an important period in France’s art history. (Read more.)


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