After my failed attempt to see the ruins of the abbey, Raven and I continue south for almost two hours to the Chateau Fontainebleau. The word “chateau” really does not do the mega palace justice. With 1,500 rooms, I would hate to be of one the king’s messengers, running back and forth. However, in the interests of time, I plan to keep this blog short on the word count and heavy in the areas of images.
I learned a few valuable lessons while at Fontainebleau. For one, the palace served as a home to 800 years of French rulers. That is not to say that the royal family lived there all of the time, but that each family spend weeks or months at this palace. In order to visit all of his nobles and show a strong presence, the king would often go on what is called a progress. In other words, he traveled about the country, staying in his various castles/palaces or in the manor homes of his lords. In times of war, this king would be moving about his territories and trying to keep the enemy at bay. Likewise, the queen would also spend time completing the same or similar journeys.
This super-short video shows you one part of the exterior. https://youtu.be/vWz515aoz6o
It was also evident that the wealth accumulated by the royal family was both beautiful and disturbing. The sheer difference between the wealthy and the poor left a void that could not be mended. In fact, it was this difference in status that propelled the common people of France to revolt and literally start letting the heads of nobility roll.
Here is a video of the king’s apartments. The King’s Apartments.
Here is the bed of Queen Marie Antoinette. In all fairness, she did not get to sleep in it because she, er, lost her head. I think it is a safe bet to assume she was not sleeping on cot prior.
And the YouTube video: Click here!
When your hallways look like this, you know you are not living paycheck to paycheck.
Below are some images of the chapel where mass would be celebrated. The king and his family sat on the balcony and the courtiers sat on the main floor. Come to think of it, perhaps the nobles would have been standing. If any reader knows when benches/chairs were introduced to mass, please comment below!
Here is the entryway to the king’s apartments. In other words, his private rooms within the palace walls. Soldiers would be situated in this room and courtiers would be waiting here, hoping for a chance to gain access to his majesty.
It was not just the nobility that lived at Fontainebleau. Napoleon Bonaparte lived here in extreme fashion in the years following the Revolution. Would that be ironic that the common people executed the royal family and then allowed someone who was common to set themselves apart from the people? On a side note, I am related to Mr. Bonaparte through the marriage of my family tree to his sister. That is a fun story for another time!
Here is the hallway which also functioned as a library. The globe in the center was commissioned for Bonaparte. I personally believe he would have appreciated an afternoon in a San Dimas water park. (Comment below if you know what movie I am referencing!)
Another lesson I have learned was that I failed Raven as a mother. What chances does she have in life when I failed to give birth in a room such as the one in the image below. I mean, Luis XIII was born into a room of culture and power and Raven was born in a sterile, white, blank room. I apologized profusely to my daughter for my failings.
Below is an image of the room where Luis XIII was born.
I hope you have enjoyed the photos and videos. As stunning as the show of wealth and power that Chateau Fontainebleau provided me, I had plenty of reasons to move on, one being the need to relax at a local cafe. (See below photo of Raven enjoying the sun.) Call me a traitor, but the Plantagenet family history is what makes me jump with excitement. (Ok, that IS NOT an exaggeration. My daughter has basically told me that I am a “fangirl” and the Plantaganets are to me what One Direction is to millions of females on the planet.)
I cannot argue with my daughter; Eleanor of Aquitaine is perhaps my favorite role model.