Domain of Fontainebleau

Masterplan of rehabilitation of the gardens, parks and hydraulic structures


Fontainebleau’s gardens and domain are inherently extraordinary, amazing, simply beautiful but that is not all, and not the only subject. One must widen the scope. This enlargement transforms the map’s framing and scale. It reveals other interrogations. Yesterday, the domain took position in the territory, this relation has changed today, linking them in another way.

The Grand Parterre and the Grand Canal - 1680

With the structural guide arises the question of restoration, and how anachronistic it can be. To reestablish an ‘original’ work, that does not exist anymore, knowing how composite it is here, is not at issue. There is no original, but a succession of steps that lead to the state we know today. Instead, we should wonder about the preservation and restoration of this present work. How do we see it nowadays and its translation on a much broader territory? What legacy did we received and how do we want to transmit it?

It is our gaze that defines History. This history is reinvented through our look. A distance from the gaze to the object, that defines the landscape. As people used to say during the XVIIth century “geography is history set in front of the eyes”.

Fontainebleau is a geography: How to take measure of space?

The basin des Cascades 1738

The basin des Cascades 2014

Fontainebleau placed in its proper geography

Fontainebleau: across the territory

The amount of successive projects and three sections across the valley

The relationship palace, park, landscape, architecture

The foundations and the relationship to the ground demonstrate the geographical settlement.

Typologies and hybrid forms

Palace of Fontainebleau, 48°24'7.12"N - 2°41'48.66"E
Patrick Ponsot, Head architect at Monuments Historiques - Urbatec Ingénierie, Roads and networks - L'Atelier d'Ecologie Urbaine, Ecology, hydrology and alternative management of water - JFL Concept, Fountain building and irrigation sprinkler
130 ha
Unesco 1981 - Monument Historique 2009 - Awarded "Outstanding Gardens" 2004