Regional Overview

The Royal Retreat

Different dynasties favored different regions for their summer retreats. The Capet and Valois dynasties favored the region north of Paris, especially Compiègne. The Bourbon dynasty preferred the forests to the est and the south, and Fontainbleau, in particular, would become the residence of choice for almost every French king. Several former royal castles adorn the region, such as Montargis and the archeological museum in Guedelon.

Regional Identity

What to Lookout For

  • The Palace of Fontainbleau, one of the most important palaces of the French monarchy, with additions from almost every monarch since Francis I
  • Seats of the medieval Kingdom in Landon, Montargis, Nemours, and the “fictional” castle in Guedelon
  • The forest of Fontainbleau and Gâtinais Natural Park and the preserved hunting domains of the French crown




Justin Bunch | CityscapeTravel

What is Gatinais?

Ile-de-France and the Orleans regions of the old French Kingdom each claimed half of Gâtinais. However, both realms were always under the de jure control of the French crown, and the division was purely administrative. Gâtinais today is largely lost between the modern Ile-de-France region and the Loiret.

Historically there is little to write about in terms of regional identity. The forests and palace of Fontainbleau dominate the northern half. In the south, the Loire River is the primary driver of economic and cultural activity. In this sense, the modern administrative boundaries of the Loiret Department make sense.

My Subjective Travel Rankings

To understand where the categories come from, see this article here.

7.6 / 10

The score is based on the following:

  • Accommodation: 8
  • Transportation: 6
  • Volume/Capacity: 6
  • Infrastructure: 8
  • Interactivity: 10

9 / 10

The score is based on the following:

  • Context: 7
  • Monuments: 10
  • Quality: 10

4 / 10

The score is based on the following:

  • Abstraction: 5
  • Tradition: 3



The Crownlands of the French Monarchs

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