I did my research on how to get to Fontainebleau prior to our trip so I know that we could take any one of the following trains:
I looked at the departure screen and saw the train 8:49 am train to Laroche-Migennes, train number 91053 but the platform haven't assign yet. As we were waiting for the platform to display, we went to buy breakfast. It was around 15 min prior to departure that the platform showed up. Also, when getting near the departure time, the screen will display all the stops of that train, we saw that Fontainebleau-Avon listed as that confirmed us that that's the right train. When the platform number appeared, we quickly walked to the platform and there was a personnel just walked down from the train so we asked if this train is going to Fontainebleau and he said yes :) Here's a picture of the platform, our train was at "L".
We arrived at Fontainebleau-Avon train station at 9:27 am and we walked out to the bus station, the bus station looked like a parking lot with few bus stop stands. We'll need to take the bus line "A" destined for Les Lilas. We followed the small crowd and stand in the first bus stop stand that said "A - Chateau". However, when the bus arrived, we asked the bus driver said he said this bus is not going to Chateau; the bus at the 2nd bus stop stand will get us there. We the whole crowd walked to the 2nd bus stop and waited. The bus came and it has the sign "Chateau" and we asked to make sure. The bus ride was around 15-20 minutes. The bus driver said "Chateau" and we got off the bus. There was no direction what so ever to which direction is the entrance of the chateau nor anything looked like the chateau!
However, I looked at google map before and know that the chateau is located on the left side so we walked across the street and saw an entrance. We walked in and it looked like a garden so I am suspecting this is the chateau's garden, we continued walking straight following the path and we ended up on the front side of Château de Fontainebleau (the front view that always showed up when you google the image with the curved staircase).
Fontainebleau was pretty quiet compared to Versailles, maybe it was early in the morning as well. The exterior of the chateau looked aged but that's the style and pretty unique.
After the photos, we went inside and showed our Paris Museum Pass to get in. First, we walked up this cute staircase to get to the upstairs room.
Inside the palace was very quiet, not crowded at all, and I really like it this way - felt like we had the whole palace to ourselves! The rooms were not lavishly decorated as Versailles but have its own character.
I really like this room that was Asian/Chinese themed.
We slowly take our time looking at each room, no rush and no crowd like Versailles. After the rooms, we went out to the other side of the entrance where the garden is located. I really like the exterior architecture of Fontainebleau, it made me feel like I am in a fairy-tale castle whereas Versailles made me felt like I am in a grand palace.
The sky looked cloudy so we walked through the garden to the other side of the chateau (back to the side where we first enter the chateau). As we walked, we came across more stunning views of the chateau, which looked completely different! I loved the look of this:
Then, we passed by another entrance gate and it was locked but the look of the back of the palace was amazing.
Then, we were back to the other garden that we entered earlier:
A lot of beautiful flowers too:
After we got out of the chateau, the bus stop to go back to the train station was on our side and it has a display of the wait time for the next bus. From the bus stop, we took some pictures of the town of Fontainebleau which was very charming:
The bus came after 8 minutes of wait time and the bus dropped off at the train station. Note that the return bus dropped us off the other side of the train station, so we just walked in and the direction back to Paris is correct, no need to walk across the platform to get to the opposite direction! We waited for the 1:00 pm train back to Paris. Here's a picture of the train station, small simple only one platform:
We got back to Gare de Lyon at 1:41 pm and we took the Metro to Notre Dame to have our lunch. We ate at a gyros place for a quick and easy lunch! After lunch, we went to the Conciergerie since it was near by. We entered in Conciergerie without much of a wait and we were free to explore around. We couldn't believe it was a jail cell, too nice to be a jail cell!
Conciergerie was a quick since it was just one big room and some smaller jail cells upstairs. After we got out of the building, the sky was cleared up! We had to take this great opportunity to go on the river cruise! The departure dock for Vedettes du Pont Neuf River Cruise was very close to Conciergerie too. I booked the tickets online before our trip because it can be use up to 180 days or a year from date of purchase so we can go whenever we want! Also, booking online saved us 5 euros each so the price per ticket online was 8 euros compared to 13 euros when you buy at the booth! http://www.vedettesdupontneuf.com/billet_en.php
I presented the ticket and a copy of my passport at the reservation booth and went right in line. Luckily, we were the first two in line so we took the front seats! The boat was comfortable even though it was just one story tall and no one blocked our view so we took some great photos!
We passed by many famous landmarks of Paris and the narrator was pretty good giving us a quick historical background of each landmarks.
Museo de Orsay:
Pont Alexandre III:
The cruise lasted for an hour and it was a very good way to see Paris from water! The buildings on both side of the Seine River were impressive!
After the cruise, we still have 2 hours before our dinner and we didn't want to go back to our hotel so we decided to go to Arc de Triomphe (not recommended to do so much for a day LOL). We arrived Arc de Triomphe and there were people lined up in the middle of the road to have a nice photo:
There were tons of Mercedes taxis drove by...wondered if taxi drivers really make a lot of money or Mercedes in Europe is affordable.....
Afterwards, we entered the arc and climbed the stairs to go up (hundreds of steps that I had to rest in the middle!). I took a picture from the bottom of the stairs to go up, I thought it was pretty cool:
The view from the top of Arc de Triomphe was well worth it :)
We rested a bit up here before we came back down again. Once we got down, we took more pictures of the arc itself. The sculptural details on the arc were truly amazing:
We did so much in a day! The "bad" thing about Paris is that the sunset time was 9:30 pm when we were there so the day was longer. Since day light was longer, it made us felt like "oh still sun light out so let's continue on to the next sight" instead of "it's getting dark out, let's go back to the hotel".
We headed back to Notre Dame area to have dinner. We randomly picked a restaurant that had the 15 euros for 3 course meal. The food was pretty good!