During the winter we live within a stone's throw from Fontainebleau. There is every reason to visit the Palace of Fontainebleau, which is what we did last week. This picture depicts the front. It was here, standing on the horse shoe-like flight of steps that, in 1815, Napoleon I emotionally said farewell to his officers and men before going into exile on the far away island of Saint Helena.

A detail of the gate of Fontainebleau's palace. Highly impressed by the buildings, gardens and the golden eagle alike!

This is a detail of the Galerie François Ier (1494-1574), leading from the king's appartments to the Holy Trinity Chapel. Initially the king was the only one in possession of a key to this Galerie! (Diny, the photographer, appreciates the compliments she received for her efforts. This time the pictures were made inside, which inavoidably influences the quality.)

Another stunning space, the Ballroom, started by François Ier and completed by his second son Henri II (1519-1559). A part of a gallery is visible on the right middle side of the picture. This was the space for the mucicians as the room was mainly to be used for court balls.

A detail of the emperors staircase, former the Dutchess of Etampes' bedchamber. The upper part of the walls is ornamented with alternating rectangular and oval compartments whose frescoes recount the amorous adventures of Alexander the Great - this one portraying Alexander and Bucéphale. The female bodies are typical for the last period of the reign of François Ier. All ornaments on the upper parts of the walls were left untouched during the alteration from bedchamber into staircase. Phew!

On top of the fireplace in the Saint Louis Salon this bas-relief sculpture was given a place during the reign of king Louis-Philippe (1773-1850).

Diana's Gallery. This 80 metre (260 ft) space was created by Henri IV (1553 - 1610) as a covered walk for the queen. The paintings recount the myth of Diana, goddess of the hunt. In 1853 the gallery became a library. The globe in the foreground, from Napolen's study at the Tuileries, found its place here in 1861.

The Emperor Napoleon's bedroom. Note the steps leading to the bed and the difference in height of the armrests. Reason for this difference was to protect against the cold on the one side and to take the best advantage from the warmth of the open fire on the other.

To finish with, a picture of Napoleon's throne in Fontainebleau's palace. It's absolutely impossible not to be flabbergasted by the amazing life story of this extraordinary man!