The Grotte des Pins (Pine Cave) is probably the first artificial grotto built in France. It was commissioned by Francis I to Primatice to decorate the garden known as “des pins“, planted with southern species.
From the Galerie D’Ulysse, which unfortunately no longer exists today, a small gate gave access to the grotto. This discreet place, away from the heart of the Palace, and embalmed by the Mediterranean scents of the garden, was exquisitely refined and reminds us that the nymph Calypso held Ulysses captive in her cave for 7 years before releasing him. This place was ideal for a romantic rendezvous.
Not far from the Grotte des Pins was the Pomona Pavilion, decorated with paintings, apparently magnificent, by Rosso and Primatice, on the theme of Vertumne and Pomona. Today we can still admire the rustic architecture of the Pine Grotto and, in particular, the incredible giants with their fettered strength trying to tear themselves away from the stone that has held them prisoner for almost 500 years! They remind us of Michelangelo’s captives, like his slave kept in the Gallery of the Academy of Florence.
The gardens of the Château de Fontainebleau tell us so much about how the powerful people of past centuries saw the world. Come and discover them with Enjoy Fontainebleau!