Napoleon’s mark on the layout of the palace and in the gardens is obvious even today. It underlines the Emperor's dedication to Fontainebleau, as he used the arts, both for political and dynastic purposes, to add his name to the long line of French sovereigns who preceded him during the Ancien Régime.
Based on these marks, which are still visible today, and based on the many memorialists who have written about him, the story of Napoleon I's first visit to Fontainebleau in 1803 until his abdication in April 1814 will be staged in the rooms of the Château using panels as well as a digital device. His vision of the ancestral home will be highlighted through the works carried out, the developments and the furniture chosen during his reign.
There will be special focus on the Petits Appartements, with visitors being able to appreciate the restorations of the last few years on textiles and furniture, as well as the restoration of the furniture and the works in the Emperor's famous library, all of which contribute to giving an accurate picture of the state of the First Empire.
Napoleon's work can also clearly be seen in the gardens. Thanks to an insightful digital device designed around a specific tour, visitors can view, both on site and on line, the gate of the Farewell Courtyard and the English Garden designed by Hurtault, the Sénarmont riding arena, a Palladian-style building housing an early example of metal framework, which was recently completed restored.
"Eight pieces, one destiny" tour (digital format)
In addition to the palace collection itself, the Château holds the largest collection of objects either directly linked to the Emperor or connoting his actions, since a large part of Prince and Princess Napoleon’s collection was acquired in 1979, leading to the creation of a museum of the same name within the Château de Fontainebleau. While some of them are truly iconic, such as his frock coat and the sword known as the Coronation Sword, others are fairly unknown. A selection of 8 iconic pieces, which were chosen in chronological order of the reign of Napoleon I, help draw the portrait of a multi-faceted man, soldier and emperor. These pieces will be specifically displayed within the palace and will be shown on line on the website. Among these, the famous globe from Napoleon's study at the Tuileries will have a special place.
"In the footsteps of Napoleon at Fontainebleau" tour application
Do you fancy a family outing following in Napoleon's footsteps? The Château has launched a tour application to learn about the life of the Emperor at Fontainebleau. Visitors are guided throughout the palace by two virtual heroes. A fun journey which includes cartoon explanations, games, family quizzes and digital postcards.