Technically part of the metropolitan area of Paris, the charming town of Fontainebleau feels world away from the French capital. Just a half an hour train ride from the city's Gare de Lyon, it's clean and green, with ample open spaces and an olde-worlde charm that oozes from its pretty buildings, quaint cafes and restaurants. For years a haunt of French royalty, it's now a popular weekend getaway for city dwellers looking for solitude and adventure.
There are plenty of options for wining and dining in Fontainebleau, with everything from sushi restaurants to classic French cuisine on offer. L'Alhambra, which specialises in Moroccan food, serves up a fantastic tagine and cracking couscous; Le Grand Cafe, while not exactly the prettiest place you'll ever eat, does a solid steak and chips, and a delicious French onion soup. Although not a big party town, there are a few nice bars and terraces on and around the city's central Place Napoleon Bonaparte.
Fontainebleau is a lovely little town no matter what time of year it is, but the gardens of Château de Fontainebleau will be at their best during the summer months. The town also hosts a number of festivals and events throughout the year, including a nature festival in May, an art history festival in June and various equestrian shows throughout the year. Visit the town's website to see what's on during your visit.