How do you visit Fontainebleau in one day, from Paris or on the weekend? How long does it take to visit the forest and the Сhateau de Fontainebleau? What else to see? How to get to Fontainebleau from Paris? But also: what links the Palace of Fontainebleau and Lana Del Rey? Find here all you need to know to plan a day trip to Fontainebleau from Paris.
1. What to visit in Fontainebleau for a day trip from Paris?
Fontainebleau is best known for the forest and the Palace of Fontainebleau. These are the two main places to discover. But that’s not all. The town of Fontainebleau is small but quite cute, lovely to visit on weekends.
In the TOP 5 things to see and do in Fontainebleau:
- Visit the Palace of Fontainebleau (Château de Fontainebleau)
- Take a boat trip on the lake
- Take a walk in the castle gardens, and possibly along the canal
- Discover the pedestrian part of Fontainebleau town
- Take a walk in the forest of Fontainebleau
2. Tips for visiting the Palace of Fontainebleau
The Palace of Fontainebleau is a royal castle. It was also the favorite residence of Francois 1er. Since 1981, the Château de Fontainebleau has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
2.1. How to visit the Palace of Fontainebleau?
You can visit the Palace of Fontainebleau on your own or take a guided tour:
- There is little waiting to enter the castle, if at all. In any case, I had never seen one. Therefore, you can buy the entrance tickets once there. However, you may be surprised by the wait on weekends or during school holidays. To save time, you can take a skip-the-line ticket to visit the Palace of Fontainebleau.
- The history of the Palace of Fontainebleau is rich, and its interiors are too. Hence, it is interesting to take a guided tour or an audio guide once there for total immersion.
- To fully enjoy your visit to the Palace of Fontainebleau: don’t forget to take a tour of the gardens, and why not take a boat trip on the lake! But also visit the Chapel of the Palace of Fontainebleau (where Lana Del Ray shot her clip “Born to Die“).
Find all the practical information (schedules, prices, reductions) on the official website of the Palace of Fontainebleau.
2.2. How long does it take to visit the Palace of Fontainebleau?
Visiting the interiors of the Palace of Fontainebleau can take you at least 2 hours. Without considering the visit to the gardens.
How long to visit the Château de Fontainebleau? At least a good half day.
3. Best places to eat and stay in Fontainebleau
Here are some addresses where to sleep and eat during a weekend in Fontainebleau.
3.1. Where to stay in Fontainebleau?
Fontainebleau-Avon station is not in downtown Fontainebleau. Therefore, when choosing the location of your hotel, the train station should not be your reference.
Here are 3 hotels that are well-located in Fontainebleau that we can recommend:
- La Demeure Du Parc: a 4-star hotel with modern decor, a few steps from the park of the Château de Fontainebleau.
- Aigle Noir Hotel: another 4-star hotel very well located with somewhat unusual decor, but entirely in keeping with the atmosphere of the Château and the city’s history.
- Ibis Château de Fontainebleau: a well-located hotel with more affordable prices.
3.2. Where to eat in Fontainebleau?
The lovely streets in downtown Fontainebleau are Rue des 3 Maillets, Rue des Sablons, and Rue Montebello. Remember to book if you come to visit Fontainebleau at the weekend.
- L’Atelier du Goût (8 Rue des 3 Maillets): reserve the table.
- Restaurant La Petite Ardoise (16 Rue Montebello)
- Crêperie l’Hirondelle (49 Rue de France)
- Bread & Bio (2 Rue Montebello): a good bakery!
- Glassico (9 Rue des 3 Maillets): Enjoy delicious ice cream!
4. And how about the Fontainebleau forest?
The forest of Fontainebleau is vast! We found this site which lists 20 hikes to do in the forest of Fontainebleau. You can see the level of difficulty and the time it will take. The routes that I find good are those that pass through the Massif des 3 Pignons. Les Sables du Cul du Chien is also a place to discover.
But if you are “not necessarily very into hiking”, you can also discover the forest of Fontainebleau on foot without going too far from Fontainebleau.
GOOD TIP! If you are only interested in the walk in the forest, you can save time and not go to Fontainebleau itself. In fact, on weekends, several TER trains stop in the middle of the forest of Fontainebleau! So you can go straight down into the forest to do your ride! Look at the timetables and stops on the Transsilien website. Find more information on how to get to Fontainebleau from Paris further down in the article.
5. How to get to Fontainebleau from Paris for a day trip?
If you want to visit Fontainebleau from Paris, you have 2 solutions: either go by car or take the TER.
5.1. Visit Fontainebleau from Paris by car
The most significant disadvantage is the traffic jams, especially if you leave Paris on Friday evening and return there on Sunday evening.
On the other hand, the advantage is to move more quickly in the different corners of the forest of Fontainebleau, which is, as we have seen, immense.
Where to park in Fontainebleau? The car parks near the Palace and the town center are chargeable. For example, to visit Fontainebleau, you can calculate the cost of parking close to the castle here (in French). There are 2 free car parks, but they are far from the city center. Your accommodation may include a parking space. It’s even more convenient.
5.2. How to get to Fontainebleau from Paris by train for a day trip?
It is the most practical solution to go to Fontainebleau from Paris. Here’s why:
- There are quite a few TER trains between Paris and Fontainebleau: almost every hour.
- The journey time by train between Paris and Fontainebleau is approximately 45 minutes.
- Departures are from Gare de Lyon.
- The Navigo transport card works to visit Fontainebleau!
Note: you can also take the RER D, but it is much slower. I advise against it. The TER is nicer. On the other hand, arrive at least 15 minutes before departure to have a seat if it is for a weekend departure.
Good to know! Trains arrive at Fontainebleau-Avon station, but it’s quite a walk from downtown Fontainebleau. So it’s better to take a bus from the station to the city center.
Another good tip: you can also rent a car on-site! Take advantage of the TER and avoid traffic jams, and at the same time, be able to discover the forest of Fontainebleau more quickly and comfortably. Moreover, there are also plenty of small villages that you can discover around Fontainebleau. For example, Barbizon.
Visiting Fontainebleau is an excellent idea for a weekend from Paris! The journey to get there is fast, it’s pretty exotic, and you can enjoy nature: it’s perfect!
And if you are looking for other places to visit near Paris, it’s here: Best Day Trips from Paris.