If you want to make the most of your experience in Paris, there are two very special castles that should be on your list of things to see. As you may not have as many days as you would like in the French capital, we will make it very simple with today’s recommendation: a 1-day tour to the Chateaux de Fontainebleau and Vaux-le-Vicomte.
So that you can make the most of the day, the best option is to hire a transport service. To be able to take advantage of these two destinations that are a bit far from the city center and also from each other, depending on public transport would not be practical. The solution is to hire a private car service to tour the Chateaux de Fontainebleau and Vaux-le-Vicomte from Paris.
1 Day tour from Paris
The distance to Chateau de Fontainebleau from Paris is approximately 75 kilometers and a 90 minutes drive, while the distance to the Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte from Paris is about 50 kilometers, which takes about 75 minutes. The total trip, joining both castles, adds up to a total of 150 kilometers and about a two and a half hour drive by car.
As for the time required to see each of them, we would say that you need at least 2 hours to visit the Chateau de Fontainebleau and the visit to the Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte perhaps a little less. If you put all this together, you find that you will need a minimum of 6 hours to do everything. If you also want to enjoy a stress-free trip and travel comfortably, as we said, your best option is to hire a private car from Paris.
Chateau de Fontainebleau
This castle was originally built in the 12th century as a hunting lodge for the kings of France. It was then substantially rebuilt and transformed in the 16th century by King Francois I. It was at this time that the ‘French Renaissance’ style for which the castle is well known was incorporated into the building.
The castle was the dwelling of the kings of France for about seven centuries. It was King Henry II and King Henry IV’s favorite residence, and later also of Napoleon.
What do you have to see on your visit to the Chateau de Fontainebleau? These are your mandatory stops:
- The wing containing the horseshoe staircase
- The Trinity Chapel
- The apartment of the Pope and those of the queen mothers
- The minister’s wing.
- The Francois I Gallery, decorated in an ornate Renaissance style
- The spacious apartments of Napoleon I and Josephine
- The royal apartments
- The surrounding gardens, filled with statues, flower beds, water fountains, and interesting plant arrangements.
Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte
This castle was built between 1658 and 1661, by the same team of architects and designers that the king later asked to work on the Palace of Versailles. Historians say that it was occupied by several important characters until the middle of the 19th century, after which it was neglected and abandoned.
This period of neglect lasted for three decades, at which point it was bought by the Sommier family, and it became an immense renovation project in the late 19th century and brought back the former glory of Chateau Vaux-le-Vicomte. The Sommier family still owns the castle today.
What do you have to see on your visit to the Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte? The first thing that will catch your attention is its symmetrical facade crowned by a large dome. Once inside, you will be surprised by its luxury-typical of the best castle of the 17th century in France. It has huge rooms filled with fine furniture, tapestries, chandeliers and paintings. The highlight is perhaps the height of Great Hall, which is a two-story oval-shaped room that reaches up to the central dome of the structure.