Masterpiece of the French heritage, the staircase’s history is extraordinary. Not only a witness of some of the great French monarchs, of the Napoleonic era, the staircase also belongs to the people. The Escalier en Fer-à-cheval has always been a fascinating piece for the general public. The visitors are attracted to its magnetic beauty, always delighted to capture their ascent. Weddings, class pictures, retired groups, military corps, families, lovers… all share personal history with the staircase.
However, the monument is now threatened. The spectacular blackening of the staircase and the extensive degradations require a monumental restauration. To restore the splendour of this historic and unique ensemble, the château de Fontainebleau is calling for everyone’s generosity.
2.2million euros are essential to save the staircase from its dilapidation. Several patrons and sponsors are already adding their brick to the monument, including the Fondation du Patrimoine and Total Foundation. Step into History!
Finalized in 1559 by architect Philibert Delorme, the size of the Escalier en Fer-à-Cheval is the product of Henri II’s directions who wished to hold processions on an outdoor staircase to welcome visiting rulers and ambassadors.
The staircase’s unique structure belongs to no stylistic movements. The staircase is composed of two flights of 46 steps cut out in two symmetrical curves. They both lead to a terrace on which three doors open.
Always known as an architectural masterpiece, it influenced many historical personalities such as Louis XIII in 1632, Catherine de’ Medici during the Wars of Religion or Henri IV. It also triggered the creation of many copies, from the Château de Courances at the Prince’s Palace of Monaco to the Visconti court at the Louvre. .
The staircase is however suffering from terrible stone alterations. The actual aspect of the staircase and its sensitivity to strong precipitations are due to the stone used. Sandstone being highly porous, it absorbs water, therefore leading to its degradation and biological proliferation of moss, lichen and alga.
Studies have allowed us to detail the changes suffered by the staircase ant to establish an appropriate treatment for the sandstone. The restoration planned is ambitious and essential. It will go through a fundamental work of improvement of the water control, a systematic purge of harmful restoration products and a precise work on epidermis.
This project is considerable and will last for 18 months from the beginning of 2019.
If you’re a European resident and wish to help with the renovation of the Escalier en Fer-à-Cheval of the château de Fontainebleau, Transnational Giving Europe (TGE) allows all individual donors and companies to donate to the château via an organisation specific to their country whilst benifiting from tax exemption.
If you’re a resident of the United States and are willing to donate to the renovation project of the Escalier en Fer-à-Cheval, you can use the King Baudouin Foundation United States. The organisation is giving you the opportunity to transfer your funds from the United States to support the renovation project for the French national treasure at the château de Fontainebleau.