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Take a day trip from Paris to Fontainebleau to visit two castles once home to members of France’s extravagant aristocracy. First, explore Château Vaux le Vicomte, said to have inspired the Palace of Versailles. Then head to Château de Fontainebleau, a UNESCO World Heritage site whose history dates back to the 12th century. You’ll have free time at each castle to look around on your own via provided audio guides, checking out the ornate architecture and opulent gardens.


  • Visit two French castles in one day on a full-day trip from Paris
  • Discover the opulence of Vaux le Vicomte Castle, admiring the extravagant interiors that put its creator in prison
  • Hear tales of French royalty from an audio guide while exploring Château Fontainebleau -- a UNESCO-listed site
  • Spend free time in the gardens of both castles at leisure
  • Transport from Paris by luxury, air-conditioned coach

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What You Can Expect

Chateaux de Fontainebleau and Vaux le Vicomte Day Trip from Paris

Chateaux de Fontainebleau and Vaux le Vicomte Day Trip from Paris

Your day trip starts as you depart Paris on board a luxury coach for the 35-mile (55-km) drive southeast to Château Vaux le Vicomte, a baroque castle that is said to have been the inspiration for France’s most famous royal residence, the Palace of Versailles.

When you arrive, you are free to explore independently using your provided audio guide. See elaborate interiors and vaulted cellars, and learn about the man behind this massive home, Nicholas Fouquet, who was King Louis XIV’s minister of finance. After Fouquet commissioned Vaux le Vicomte to be designed by a top architect, the king felt upstaged and threw the minister in jail. When you’re finished inside, walk outside to discover the castle’s 99 acres (40 hectares) of grounds made up of fountains, flowerbeds and sprawling lawns. If you’re hungry, grab some lunch from the onsite café (own expense) before returning to the coach.

Then make your way south to Château de Fontainebleau, the only royal castle in France to be continuously inhabited for more than 700 years. With its Renaissance architecture, ceiling frescos, 15th-century furniture and detailed wood carvings, this World Heritage site is a great alternative to visiting Versailles. Tour the building independently via the audio guide, listening to tales about the French royalty who once lived here.

Château de Fontainebleau is also home to extensive gardens and lakes, so take time to wander the grounds before hopping back on your coach for the return drive to Paris, where your day trip ends.

Customer Reviews

Charles T

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2016

Very good tour in a fairly comfortable vehicle. There was even a restroom on board the bus. The guide was excellent and both sites were fantastic with audio as you moved through the sites.

Maryanne F

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2016

Both of these chateaux are marvelous. Our French friends recommended them instead of some of the more frequently mentioned destinations and they were right. They are beautifully maintained and furnished, and not at all crowded. We could have used more time, especially at Fontainebleau, as there is so much history in every room!

John B Australia

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2016

An excellent tour, as this places the construction of Versailles into perspective. The tour guides were multi lingual and gave all of us on the bus an insight into the areas we were travelling through. there was plenty of opportunity for free time and the audio guides were sufficient for an understanding of the history and the people who had such a significant impact on French history. Having previously been to Versailles, I would rate these excursions as more appealing and significant.

Sue M

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2016

Lovely, although the food options at the Vaux le Vicomte were very high and with no other options, seemed unfair.

Charles R. C

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2016


Susan B

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2016

Our guide was very good and helpful. Both chateaux were extremely interesting. Food was good at Vaux le Vicomte and fairly reasonable. I enjoyed all the thought that went into Vaux le Vicomte.


5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2016

This is a great tour! Comparable to Versailles without the crowds.


5 star rating: Highly Recommended August 2016

Well worth the trip. A good value for tickets, audio tour and transportation.


5 star rating: Highly Recommended August 2016

If you're tired of the hustle and bustle of Paris tourist with endless lines and big crowds, this excursion is a very worthwhile escape. Vaux le Vicomte is a stunningly beautiful private chateau, off the beaten track. There might have been less than 40 people when we were there, so when touring all the various lavishly furnished rooms, I was in there all alone. There might have been a dozen people in the gardens.. Fontainebleau is a busier place, but not overwhelming. It's a beautiful palace to visit, and the nearby town offers some excellent food at suburban prices, i.e. much cheaper than central Paris restaurants. I highly recommend this tour.

Giulia R

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2016

Excellent trip and enough time to see each site!

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