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Vaux-le-Vicomte

One of the masterpieces of the 17th century

Lying 25 km from Fontainebleau, the Vaux-le-Vicomte estate is the work of a passionate and creative spirit, that of Nicolas Fouquet, Superintendent of Finances to Louis XIV. To build his palace, he enlisted the help of the greatest artists of France’s “Grand Siècle” – architect Louis Le Vau, landscape architect André Le Nôtre and painter-decorator Charles Le Brun. They combined their talents to create a model whose majesty and balance inspired Louis XIV at Versailles, then the rest of Europe for more than a century to come.
The picture-perfect château and the traditional French garden provided the perfect harmony between architecture and landscape for all of the 18th century.

The largest private monument in France has kept its inhabited feel, inviting each visitor in like a welcome guest. Visit the château across its four levels, furnished and decorated as if Nicolas Fouquet and his family had recently left the place. Vaux-le-Vicomte has one of the few interiors to have remained intact since the 17th century.
 

Barbizon

The village of painters, 10 km from Fontainebleau

Located on the edge of the Forest of Fontainebleau, the village of Barbizon is one of the legendary locations associated with Pre-Impressionist painting in France. From 1830, what was formerly a hamlet of woodcutters came to host painters looking for inspiration amid intact natural surroundings at the Auberge Ganne. Barbizon thus became a major draw for colour artists and landscape painters from across the world. Painters such as Millet, Corot, Rousseau, Daubigny and Dupré all set up their easels amid these wild landscapes. 

Today, the Auberge du Père Ganne hosts a museum on the painters who came to Barbizon. Upstairs, the walls of the bedrooms in this inn contain traces left by the artists who stayed here. Drawings and paintings recall the Belle Époque.

Moret-sur-Loing

Listed as one of France’s most beautiful detours

Brimming with art and history, the town of Moret-sur-Loing was built to defend the royal estate from the Burgundians. This former fortified town from the 12th century is a one-of-a-kind in the Greater Paris region. The proximity to the Forest of Fontainebleau and the banks of the River Loing make Moret-sur-Loing a romantic and lush town.

Ever since the painter Alfred Sisley and his Impressionist friends discovered this town, numerous artists from various countries have come here to set up their easels.

Moret-sur-Loing has managed to keep its charm thanks to its many well preserved historic monuments. You first of all enter the town by one of the fortified gates (the Porte de Bourgogne or the Porte de Samois) before entering the historic centre, home to countless architectural treasures. These include the walls, the keep, the Notre-Dame church with its Renaissance organ, the bridge and its mills, the Maison Raccolet, the Façade de François Ier, the Renaissance houses, and the Prieuré de Pont-Loup.

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