We decided to skip the uber-famous Versailles in favor of Fontainebleau in the hopes of much smaller crowds, and it worked out well for us.
The trickiest part may have been figuring out the trains in Gare de Lyon – there are a lot of options, and we wandered through several sections before we found an information booth that could help. Once we confirmed the correct train the rest was easy, including the bus at the Fontainebleau Avon train stop that took us straight into town (and was included on our Visite ticket, in addition to a 2€ discount for the entrance tickets).
The outside is quite imposing and impressive…
The palace has parts dating back to the 1100s, with many additions and renovations through the 1800s. Once inside, the opulence is rather staggering. Tapestries, carvings, and paintings adorn nearly every surface.
Altogether, we spent about 3 hours wandering the palace, and 30 minutes the flower gardens and fountains – a nice half-day trip away from the bustle of the city.