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Fontainebleau is a commune in the metropolitan area of Parismarker, Francemarker. It is located south-southeast of the centre of Paris. Fontainebleau is a sub-prefecture of the Seine-et-Marnemarker department, and it is the seat of the arrondissement of Fontainebleau. The commune has the largest land area in the Île-de-Francemarker region; it is the only one to cover a larger area than Paris itself.

Fontainebleau, together with the neighbouring commune of Avon and three other smaller communes, form an urban area of 36,713 inhabitants (according to the 1999 census). This urban area is a satellite of Paris.

Fontainebleau is renowned for the large and scenic forest of Fontainebleaumarker, a favourite weekend getaway for Parisians, as well as for the historical château de Fontainebleaumarker, 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 télécommunicationsmarker (ESIGETEL), one of France's grandes écoles; and of a branch of the École nationale supérieure des mines de Parismarker, the Paris School of Minesmarker, also one of the elite grandes écoles.

Inhabitants of Fontainebleau are called Bellifontains.

History

Originally called Fontaine Belle eau or Fontaine Belleaue, Fontainebleau settled on its ultimate name in 1169.

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.

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 Napoléon III (1808-1873), spent time at Fontainebleau.

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 Fontainebleaumarker. 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.

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 into exile, mainly in the Low Countries, Prussia and in England.

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 Napoléon 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 Savonamarker, accompanied by his personal physician, Balthazard Claraz. In poor health, the pope was the prisoner of Napoléon, 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 18 April 1814, Napoléon 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 Napoléon of his powers (but not his title as Emperor of the French) and sent him into exile on Elbamarker.

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 NATOmarker until France’s partial withdrawal from NATO in 1967 when the United States returned those bases to French control. NATO moved AFCENT to Brunssummarker in the Netherlandsmarker and AIRCENT to Ramsteinmarker in West Germanymarker. (Note that the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, also known as SHAPE, was located at Rocquencourtmarker, west of Paris, quite a distance from Fontainebleau.

Tourism

Fontainebleau is a popular tourist destination; each year, 300,000 people visit the palace and about 11 million people visit the forest .

Fontainebleau forest

The forest of Fontainebleaumarker surrounds the city 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 Fontainebleaumarker 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

INSEAD

The European (and historical) campus of the INSEAD business school is located at the edge of Fontainebleau. INSEAD students live in chateaux and other accommodations in the Fontainebleau area.

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 center 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



Also, Tom Ripley, the fictional protagonist of several novels by Patricia Highsmith, lives in a small village a few miles away, and he sometimes visits the town.

Image Gallery

Image:FontainebleauFountain.jpg|Hunting FountainImage:FontainebleauTower.jpg|Bell TowerImage:TrinityChapel.jpg|The Trinity Chapel at Fontainebleau

See also



References



External links




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