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Life in Fontainebleau

    Fontainebleau INSEAD Student life - one of our favourite spots

    Embrace the Charm of Fontainebleau: A Comprehensive Guide for INSEAD Students

    Nestled in the heart of France, Fontainebleau is a historical, picturesque and fascinating town, especially for students attending INSEAD, one of the most prestigious business schools in the world. Hopefully our blog guide for INSEAD students will help you acclimatize quickly and discover new interests.

    Life in Fontainebleau is a unique blend of irresistible charisma and modern convenience, making it the ideal location for students. If you are fortunate to reside in this delightful town, there is much more to discover beyond the conventional textbooks and lectures. In this blog post, we will explore a few life-changing experiences that await INSEAD students. Our comprehensive guide to its convenient location and many culinary delights will hopefully become an invaluable local neighbourhood guide that every student will appreciate. We genuinely believe that Fontainebleau has something for everyone.

    Small town – Big heart

    Although Fontainebleau might be small compared to some towns, it has a wealth of character. It exudes a warm and friendly atmosphere, making everyone feel welcome. For INSEAD students, this means a supportive community where you can easily make friends and feel at home. The compact size also provides a sense of security, allowing students to explore freely and effortlessly find their way around.

    INSEAD student guide to life in Fontainebleau

    Everything Within Walking or Cycling Distance

    One of the main advantages of living in Fontainebleau is its convenience. Almost everything in the town is within walking distance, and cycling is also made easier due to the well-maintained infrastructure. Cycling is not just a mode of transport here – it is a way of life. Students can effortlessly pedal their way around, enjoying the scenic beauty of the town and its surroundings.

    Culinary Adventures

    Aside from the fantastic dining options available at the INSEAD campus canteen, which features an array of dishes from every corner of the globe, Fontainebleau is a gourmet heaven. The town boasts an extensive range of restaurants that cater to almost all tastes and preferences. From cosy cafes and brasseries to upscale dining establishments, there is something here for everyone. What makes it even better for busy students is that most restaurants offer takeaway services. Imagine indulging in delicious French cuisine in the comfort of your own home. If you prefer a quick bite, there are several fast-food businesses to choose from, such as Subway, Dominoes and Shawarma places, as well as unique finds like Frite’NBleau, serving delicious burgers and fries. 

    Grocery Shopping Made Easy

    INSEAD students do not have to worry about satisfying their grocery needs. Fontainebleau boasts several supermarkets, ensuring access to all the essentials and lots more. Beyond these, there are specialist shops offering a range of high-quality products. Cheese connoisseurs, meat lovers, and fruit and vegetable enthusiasts will find a paradise in the smaller, specialised shops scattered throughout the town. One you should try is Picard, founded in Fontainebleau. They offer a selection of frozen meals and desserts and are based right across the street from the INSEAD campus. 

    The Farmers’ Market

    Held three times a week, the market offers a wide range of foodie options. Savour ready-made dishes, enjoy oysters with a glass of wine, pick up a flavourful paella for dinner, or delve into the wide selection of handcrafted items, specialty cheeses, fresh seafood, and quality meats. Be sure not to overlook the mouth watering freshly grilled chicken, and make sure to pair it with a side dish of roasted vegetables. The market is not just a place to shop, it is a social hub, where locals and visitors come together, sharing stories and indulging in the finest flavours of the region. With its lively atmosphere and diverse offerings, Fontainebleau Farmers’ Market is a must-visit destination for anyone seeking an authentic taste of the town’s culinary treasures.

    INSEAD Fontainebleau Guide: Your Ultimate Resource

    As an INSEAD student, you are fortunate to have access to an invaluable resource: the INSEAD Fontainebleau Guide. This detailed manual is your key to unlocking the secrets of the school and the town. It provides insider tips, essential contacts, and a wealth of information about every aspect of life in Fontainebleau. From academic resources to local amenities, the guide is meticulously curated to enhance your student experience.

    Convenient Solutions for Fresh Attire

    In Fontainebleau, residents and visitors enjoy the convenience and practicality of accessible laundry and dry-cleaning services. The town features a public “Laverie” equipped with numerous washing machines and dryers, strategically situated downtown. This facility serves as a hassle-free solution for keeping clothes fresh and clean. In addition, Fontainebleau has two reputable dry-cleaning services, ensuring that everyone can maintain their clothing in hassle-free, top-notch condition.

    Quick Trip to Paris: Enjoy the Best of Both Worlds

    Fontainebleau’s strategic location is perfect harmony between the serenity of town life and the excitement of city adventures. Just a quick train trip from the vibrant heart of Paris, Fontainebleau offers the charm of a smaller community with easy access to the hustle and bustle of the French capital. Whether you yearn for the artistry of the Louvre, the grandeur of the Eiffel Tower, or the quaint cafes along the Seine, Paris is a short journey away. The efficient train connections ensure exploring iconic landmarks, relishing exquisite cuisine, and immersing yourself in Parisian culture is both convenient and enjoyable. Experience the best of both worlds in Fontainebleau!

    Please be aware that occasional strikes may affect public transport. Stay up to date on local events, strikes, and much more by following FontainebleauDiaries on Instagram.

    Things to see and do

    Fontainebleau, with its rich history and stunning natural surroundings, offers a myriad of exciting activities for locals and visitors alike. One of the must-see attractions is the magnificent Château de Fontainebleau, a UNESCO World Heritage site, with its beautiful gardens, and a glimpse into France’s royal past.

    INSEAD Student Guide - Things to do and places to go
    A popular spot for picnics at Chateau de Fontainebleau

    Nature enthusiasts can explore the vast Fontainebleau Forest, a paradise for cyclists, hikers and rock climbers, with picturesque trails and iconic sandstone boulders. For art aficionados, the town hosts numerous galleries and exhibitions showcasing both traditional and contemporary art. Beyond Fontainebleau, visit nearby villages like Barbizon, known for its art history, or the mediaeval town of Moret-sur-Loing; Samois-sur-Seine and its romantic bridge. Or Samoreau, with walks along the banks of the river Seine for a wonderfully relaxing day out. Whether you are interested in history, outdoor pursuits, art, or gastronomy, Fontainebleau and its surrounding areas can offer something extra special for everyone.

    Sporting Paradise

    Fontainebleau provides plenty of sports activities catering to enthusiasts of all kinds. Tennis courts and rugby fields are available for those inclined to play or support. Jogging through the enchanting forest or the Chateau gardens and park is another positively stimulating experience. The town has squash courts, indoor climbing facilities and outdoor ones between the forest’s natural rock formations, invigorating hikes, and scenic biking trails. For those interested in historical sports, Fontainebleau boasts an original arena for jeu de paume, an ancient racket sport. 

    Badminton courts, swimming pools, and football fields add to the impressive range of sporting options. Many of these facilities are conveniently located around the INSEAD campus. So it is ideal for students wishing to engage in their favourite sports. Likewise, students have access to a fully equipped, modern gym situated on the campus. Without a doubt, Fontainebleau provides numerous opportunities to enjoy an active lifestyle, encouraging residents to achieve a healthy balance between studies and physical activities.


    Fontainebleau offers a wide range of parking areas around the town. Street parking is available, but we recommend checking the time limits as occasionally they can vary. The first 20 minutes of parking on the street are free. Keep an eye out for the green zone, where parking is available for up to 2 hours but requires payment.

    If you find yourself in the central orange zone, do not worry! There’s ample room in the underground parking facilities, with five underground car parks conveniently located around town. However, the real parking paradise lies in the white zones. These areas offer free parking, giving you the freedom to explore without worrying about parking fees. The INSEAD campus itself has 850 free car parking spaces on its grounds for employees, students, and visitors.

    Guide for INSEAD Students : Map of Fontainebleau showing the Parking Zones and Main Car Parks
    Fontainebleau – Parking Zones & Main Car Parks

    Be prepared

    Life in Fontainebleau for INSEAD students is the beginning of an incredible adventure. The town’s charm isn’t just its scenic beauty, but the warmth of its people and the ease of everyday life. INSEAD Fontainebleau is where memories and life-long friendships blossom and academic dreams come true.

    With the INSEAD Guide in your pocket, you have the power to make the best of every spare moment. So, as you step into the varied world of Fontainebleau, armed with your invaluable local guide, be prepared. You are in for a metamorphic experience that extends far beyond the classroom walls. 

    Enjoy every step of this enriching journey!

    INSEAD Business School France
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