fontainebleau, france

The Imperial Weekend Getaway

Week-end excursion

Just an hour away from the busy streets of Paris, untouched marvels await to be discovered: Fontainebleau and Barbizon Painters’ Village.

From Napoléon to Theodore Rousseau, French Royalty and famous painters chose this enchanted forest and charming village as sanctuaries resourcefulness and inspiration. From beginners to experienced riders, we invite you to immerse into these lesser-known realms like French Royalty used to: On horseback.

The Imperial Week-End Getaway is an immersive journey that guides you into the stunning 25-acre Forest of Fontainebleau, its 11th Century Château, and Barbizon’s Painters Village to experience the Artistic and Royal Art de Vivre à la française for a week-end.

Escape the tumult of the capital for a week-end by riding through the stunning Forest of Fontainebleau, strolling through the gardens of the former Royal Castle, sleeping in a 17th-century luxurious Château, and discovering the painters’ village Barbizon.


Classified as a French historical monument, the Château de Bourron-Marlotte embodies the best of French « Art de vivre ». Nestled within the Forest of Fontainebleau and surrounded by a private land of 42 acres, the Château is one of the most magnificent and elegant private estates in the area. 

Built in the early XVIIth Century on the location of a feudal fortress, the Château de Bourron-Marlotte is an authentic architectural representation of traditional brick and stone style, flanked by two pavilions and a manicured garden. 

Composed of nine heritage comfortable suites with elegant tapestries and bathrooms in pale marble, you will find yourself immersed into the times of Royalty; in a place that blends tradition, intimacy and modernity with absolute perfection. In addition to strolling within its polished gardens, the estate offers the possibility of playing tennis in its outdoor court or using their bicycles for a ride in the parc. 

For a night, you will get to experience an authentic royal getaway and the magic of a stay in this romantic, charming, and historic classified monument.

Chatêau de bourron-marlotte

The schedule


After being driven from your location in Paris to the stables, you will be welcomed by your riding guide and meeting your horses – All horses are very kind and are assigned depending on your riding level. Saddle-up and begin a 1h30 ride through the varied landscapes of the forest.


A gastronomic three-course meal paired with wines awaits you in a traditional French restaurant and wine property located within Barbizon Painters’ village. Savor the taste of French Gastronomy while being introduced the wines and their best pairings.


Upon savoring lunch, our driver will take you to the grandiose Chateau de Fontainebleau, a 11th Century classified UNESCO Heritage Site. You will be greeted by your local guide to discover the secrets of the Castles and the beauty of its gardens. 1h30 Visit.


After visiting the Château de Fontainebleau, our driver will take you to the Château de Bourron-Marlotte, where you will settle for the night. After taking some relaxing time for yourself, we will invite you to have dinner in a gastronomic restaurant located within the parc of the Château.


After having dinner at the Gastronomic restaurant nestled in the parc of the Château de Bourron-Marlotte, you will find yourself relaxing within the luxurious settings and royal suites of the Château for the night.


Wake up with the smell of fresh croissants, fruits, coffee and orange juice at the Château. We invite you to savor a delicious breakfast with a view of the large parc in the Château, nestled within the Forest of Fontainebleau.


After enjoying breakfast at the Château, our driver will be ready to drive you to the famous Painters Village : Barbizon. Along with a guide stroll through the streets and discover the residences of famous pre-impressionist painters such as Jean-François Millet and Théodore Rousseau.


A gastronomic three-course meal paired with wines awaits you in a traditional French restaurant and wine property located within Barbizon Painters’ village. Savor the taste of French Gastronomy while being introduced the wines and their best pairings.


After savoring a delicious meal, we invite you to have a resting time by the pool within the property of the Restaurant, or stroll again through the charming village of Barbizon, its numerous artists’ galleries and residences.


Our driver will take you back to a location in Paris/near Paris.

The driving time is approximately 1h15, depending on traffic.

Activities around

The Château de fontainebleau

Napoléon’s “true home of the kings”

Located within the largest forest area of the Parisian region, the Château de Fontainebleau is a remarkable royal and imperial heritage site. Witnessing eight centuries of sovereignty, the second-largest Castle in France has been the home of 34 kings. 

Among them was François 1er, who wished to create a « New Rome » in the 16th Century, and turned the ruins into a royal estate in a Renaissance style, combining both Italian Art and French Tradition. With 30,000 works of art within more than 1,500 rooms, Napoleon’s « True Home of the Kings » is an artistic and regal treasure that won his favor over all other French Palaces, and was Louis XIV’s safe haven to escape Versailles’ agitation.

 With 500,000 visitors a year, as opposed to Versailles’s 7.5 million, dive into the lesser-known realm, and prepare to be captivated by the epitome of royal French elegance along with a passionate historian and local guide.

The friendliest horses :
The Henson breed

Originating from the cross-breeding of Fjord stallions with various local mares, such as Thoroughbred, Anglo-Arab, French saddle, and Trotter, the Henson breed was introduced to the Baie de Somme area in the early 70s by Bernard Bizet. Led by Lionel, Marc Berquin, and their friends from the Baie de Somme Riders’ Association, this endeavor aimed to create a robust and adaptable horse, that embodies the essence of freedom in horsemanship. Bred for their friendliness, the Hensons are suited to all riding levels: From first-timers on the saddle to advanced riders. Along with a Henson specialist, discover this exceptional breed that thrives in outdoor living, combining strength, kindness, endurance, and safety.


An artistic heritage

Nestled a few meters away from the Forest of Fontainebleau, Barbizon is a charming little village, also known as the « Painters Village ». Barbizon owes its artistic notoriety to the IXth-century landscape painters Théodore Rousseau, Jean-Baptiste Corot, and Jean-François Millet who turned the village into an informal artists’ colony and the forest into an open-air studio. Attracted by the serenity of this peaceful village and its magnificent lush nature, they sparked the Barbizon School artistic movement (1830-1875), now considered as a precursor of Impressionism. Later, Claude Monet, Alfred Sisley, and Auguste Renoir discovered Barbizon and walked in the footsteps of their elders by laying the foundations for the light-filled depictions that would bring them fame as impressionists. The painters’ attachment to the surrounding nature led Napoleon III to pass the first-ever law of natural area preservation worldwide to protect the Forest of Fontainebleau. Along with a local and passionate guide, dive into the lesser-known realm of the charming Barbizon painters’ village. From visiting Rousseau and Millet’s studios, now dedicated to their memory and host exhibitions, to strolling around the village and its countless mosaics, be prepared to soak in the artistic essence rooted in this quiet haven of peace.

what our riders say


Frequently asked questions

We acknowledge that unforeseen events may occur, leading to changes in plans, and we are committed to providing our guests with a fair and transparent cancellation policy. It is important to note that our cancellation policy may be subject to variations based on the conditions of our guiding partners.

Nevertheless, we have outlined our general cancellation policy conditions tailored to the type of rides :

  • Day Trips:
    • If you cancel more than 15 days before departure: Full refund (excluding 50€ booking fee),
    • If you cancel between 15 and 7 days before departure: 50% refund (excluding 50€ booking fee),
    • If you cancel less than 7 days before departure: No refund.
  • Horse-Riding Holidays:
    • If you cancel more than 120 days before departure: Full refund (excluding 50€ booking fee),
    • If you cancel between 120 and 60 days before departure: 50% refund (excluding 50€ booking fee),
    • If you cancel less than 60 days before departure: No refund.

In the case your initial booking no longer fits your schedule or an unexpected event arise, we are open to flexibility and willing to consider alternative options where feasible. Feel free to contact us via our Contact form, email, or WhatsApp, and we will be more than happy to guide you and find a suitable solution.

Our commitment lies in curating tailor-made experiences that cater to the unique preferences and needs of each of our guests. This includes accommodating dietary restrictions and allergies to ensure a seamless and enjoyable journey.

Prior to embarking on a horse riding holiday or day trip, we request guests to complete a comprehensive form. This form allows us to gather essential information, not only about dietary restrictions and allergies but also about your gastronomic preferences. By doing so, we can craft an experience that not only meets but exceeds your expectations.

Your safety, well-being and satisfaction are at the forefront of our personalized service, making every ride with us a truly unforgettable experience.

Our mission is to accommodate riders with diverse horse-riding backgrounds and offer the opportunity to anyone – from beginners to advanced riders – to enjoy the unique experience of traveling on horseback. This is why we have designed and selected horse holidays that cater to riders from different levels:

If you are looking for a « first-time in the saddle » experience, we recommend exploring The Imperial Heritage Forest Ride or Versailles & its gardens on horseback – both tailored to suit both novices and experienced riders. These rides are crafted with gentle and calm horses, navigating mostly flat lands to provide a more relaxed introduction to horse-riding tours.

If you are seeking a more challenging and exhilarating ride, consider options such as The Royal Marwar Safari in Rajasthan, India; The Tölt, Glacier, and Well-being in Iceland; or Venice & The Dolomites on Horseback in Italy. These holidays are designed for more fit and experienced riders as they feature spirited horse breeds, navigating rough terrains, with long canters and more time spent in the saddle.

If you find yourself uncertain about your horse-riding experience, we are here to help and assist you.

Please feel free to contact us via our Contact form, email, or WhatsApp, and we will be more than happy to guide you.

As a general guideline, the minimum age for participants is 6 years old. However, age restrictions can vary based on the destination and individual circumstances. We take into consideration factors such as size, stamina, and riding ability, as well as the dynamics of the group.

At the heart of our philosophy is a commitment to providing tailor-made experiences for each guest. We understand that everyone is unique, and our goal is to design experiences that cater to individual preferences and needs.

For those who may not wish to participate in every aspect of the ride, we also offer the flexibility of one-base options and the possibility of following the journey by car. Our aim is to ensure that every guest, regardless of age or preference, can enjoy the beauty of horse riding in a way that suits them best.

If you find yourself unsure whether a horse-riding holiday is the perfect fit for your family, particularly when considering the participation of your children, do not hesitate to reach out to us. We understand that safety and comfort are paramount, especially when it comes to younger riders. We will be more than happy to assist you in making an informed decision. Feel free to contact us via our Contact form, email, or WhatsApp, with any questions or concerns, and we will work together to ensure that your horse-riding adventure becomes a cherished and memorable experience for every member of your family.

When gearing up for your horse-riding adventure, packing the right essentials is crucial for a comfortable and enjoyable experience. Each horse-riding holiday is unique, and your packing list will be influenced by factors such as the weather conditions, the ride’s difficulty, the destination’s disease risks and sometimes dress code requirements for riding in nature. Before embarking on your journey, we provide guests with a comprehensive list tailored to their specific horse-riding holiday. 

We have outlined a typical packing list designed to cover the basics for riders :

For the time in the saddle:

  • Riding Pants: Choose the fabric based on the weather of the destination, ensuring comfort and adaptability.
  • Riding Boots and Chaps: If not provided on-site, these are essential for a secure and comfortable ride.
  • Lightweight Riding Helmet: Ensure you have a suitable helmet for protection, especially if not provided on-site.
  • Sports Bras for Women: Prioritize support and comfort during rides.
  • Long Socks: Opt for woolen ones in colder weather to keep your feet warm and cozy.
  • Button-Up Long-Sleeved Cotton Shirts: Choose thermal options in cold weather for added warmth.
  • Fleece or Wool Jumper: Layering is key, and a jumper provides insulation during cooler rides.
  • Waterproof Windbreaker Jacket: Be prepared for unexpected weather changes with a reliable, waterproof jacket.
  • Waterproof Over Trousers: Protect yourself from rain and wind with these essential over trousers.
  • Sunglasses: Shield your eyes from sun, wind, and dust for a clear and comfortable ride.
  • Riding Gloves: Ensure a good grip and protect your hands during the ride.
  • Filtered Water Bottle: Stay hydrated with clean water throughout your journey.
  • Sunscreen: Guard against sun exposure, especially for extended rides under the open sky.

For after the ride:

  • Hat and Gloves : Stay warm during chilly evenings after your ride.
  • Sun Hat: Shield yourself from the sun during the afternoon visits.
  • Soft Shoes: Slip into comfortable footwear after hours in riding boots.
  • Comfortable Loungewear: Relax and unwind post-ride with comfortable clothing.
  • First-Aid Necessities: Be prepared with a basic first-aid kit, based on your medical needs.
  • Paracetamol: For general pain relief and fever.
  • Gastro-Stop Medication: To address digestive issues if they arise.
  • Nurofen or Ibuprofen: In case of muscle soreness for a comfortable recovery.

Lip Balm: Keep your lips moisturized, especially in varying weather conditions.

On all of our rides, you will be welcomed and led by local and passionate horse-riding guides, all of whom are fluent in English to ensure seamless communication.

As part of our commitment to delivering a cultural experience, our itineraries often include historical visits. To enhance these activities, we curate them with guides who are proficient in various languages such as French, Spanish, Italian, Chinese, German, Japanese, and more. This multi-lingual approach ensures that our guests can fully appreciate the depth of the destinations explored, making their horse-riding holiday not only adventurous but also culturally enlightening

Due to the inherent risks of horse-riding in nature, we require all participants to have adequate travel insurance and medical coverage, which is mandatory for booking. Travel insurance should cover for personal liability, medical (including repatriation) and holiday cancellation, and be valid from the date when the contract between us comes into existence until the holiday is completed.

While our typical package rates do not include travel insurance and medical coverage, we are more than happy to include it for an additional fee. We understand the importance of being prepared for the unexpected, and upon inquiry, we will provide you with a comprehensive insurance package for your convenience, ensuring you depart with serenity.

If you have any doubts or need guidance on the insurance that best suits your holiday, feel free to reach out to us through our Contact form, email, or WhatsApp. Your safety and peace of mind are our top priorities.

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* If you are alone and wish to join a group ride, please mention "Solo Rider"
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You can let us know about any inquiry you have on Nomad Riders or the rides we propose. If you selected the Tailor-Made Journey, kindly indicate your desired destination and any specific preferences or requirements you may have for us to craft the perfect ride for you.