On 9 January it was 150 years ago that Emperor Napoléon III of the French died. He ruled France as its first president 1848-1852 and as Emperor 1852-1870. 2023 is considered the Year of Napoléon III. As part of the commemorations key events this year intend to bring together the initiatives of associations, foundations, event organisers, artists and public bodies pursuing this commemoration. Numerous events like symposiums, conferences, re-enactments, dance performances and others are being organized. Unfortunately I haven’t found a big exhibition.

Fontainebleau Palace
© Aurele Martens / Pixabay

Commemorations at the Château de Fontainebleau

However the Château de Fontainebleau is honouring the period of the Second Empire 1852-1870. It were Emperor Napoléon III and his wife Empress Eugénie who turned this huge castle into a residence and a place to receive hundreds of guests. Therefore a new itinerary, guided tours and installations have been created, so visitors can take a fresh look at “la maison des siècles”.

The newest tour is “Fontainebleau in stereo(scopy)” that shows pictures of the palace in the times of Napoléon. Stereoscopic views – three-dimensional images – were very popular during the Second Empire. Through reproductions of these views from the collection of the palace, visitors will see the palace from a different angle. Also the many improvements made during this period can be discovered.

In the emblematic rooms thirteen period costumes have been installed, that will be on display from 18 February to 18 September 2023. The textile industry during the Second Empire lead to a revival of fashion. Nobody more fashionable than Empress Eugénie.

Guided tours take visitors to places like Napoléon III’s study, the Empress’ Museum, salons, apartments and the Imperial Theatre. They are only available in French though, which I think is a pity.

Opening times:
Wednesday until Monday from 9.30am to 5.00pm (October-March) and 9.30am-6.00pm (April-September). Except for 1 January, 1 May and 25 December.

Website: https://www.chateaudefontainebleau.fr/

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