Zebloc offers you a quick look at the fantastic forest of Fontainebleau. You will not be given guides or exhaustive bouldering lists but simply, with some English mistakes, some useful information.
A short story of Bouldering in the Forest
Check out several guides or the Grimporama site for some pieces of Fontainebleau history.
The important dates of bouldering in the forest are given here :
|1914||La Prestat ascent (4)|
|1934||L’Angle Allain is first climbed by Pierre Allain. This boulder has now been downgraded from 6a to 5+.|
|1946||Marie Rose is first climbed by René Ferlet. The first real 6a of the forest.|
|1953||La Joker is climbed by Robert Paragot at Bas Cuvier. First 7a…|
|1960||Abattoir is climbed by par Michel Libert at Cuvier.|
|1977||Carnage is climbed by Jérôme Jean-Charles at Cuvier. First 7b. This boulder has been chipped since that date and is now 7b+…|
|1984||C’Etait Demain at Rempart is the first 8a of the forest, climbed by Jacky Godoffe. There is now an easier method but the original is still 8a.|
|1993||FatMan is climbed by Jacky Godoffe at Rempart : first 8b. Again some holds have broken off….|
|2001||Several boulders of the forest are chipped by a vandal : Carnage, Boucherie, FatMan, Karma etc… Some can still be done, some others can’t…|
The hardest boulder to this date is ‘Trip Hop’ at Boissy aux Cailles (8c)…
It’s difficult to explain all the areas of the forest. The table below tries to give you the basic characteristics of the main areas..
|An unknown area, despite the beauty of the climbs and the landscape. Low boulders with good landings…|
|Another unknown area. Some boulders are very high and the landings are often bad…|
|Historic area of the forest (first 7a,7b, 7c…). No walk to get there and interesting whatever your level. Crowded over the week-ends.|
|Fantastic hard boulders with the well known ‘Big Four’ (Big Boss, Fourmis Rouges, Tristesse and Big Golden), the first forest’s 8a (C’Etait Demain). The first circuit was painted there in 1947.|
|Rocher Saint Germain|
|Cool area with some testpieces (Mégalithe, Les Yeux plus Gros que le Ventre)…|
|Nice area in the forest. Shady enough to climb when it’s sunny.|
|Divided into several areas: les Gorges d’Apremont, l’Envers d’Apremont, Apremont Bizons and the désert d’Apremont… Crowded over the week-ends but a large area…|
|Some very high boulders but a very quiet area…|
|In the forest with one of the most interesting black circuits. Some very well known hard boulders (Karma, Hale Bopp, Duel…). Dries out slowly…|
|In the forest. Nice but crowded over the week-ends…|
|Some very nice boulders in or around the circuits.|
|Gorges du Houx|
|Very quick drying. Various types of climbing whatever the level.|
|Cul de Chien|
|The ‘toit du Cul de Chien’ and the ‘bilboquet’ are two boulders of that area. Bleau’s climbing wall is there too: « l’Autre Toit ». Very quick drying, good landings.|
|Canche aux Merciers|
|Easy to reach, good landings, variety… Some don’t like the noise due to the motorway…|
|Roche aux Sabots|
|Very very cool area, goodfor the intermediate level boulderers. Everyone can find a boulder here. Very cool red circuit.|
|Some famous traverses (La Coccinelle, La Mygale…). Some very nice boulders too…. Two main areas : the Canard and the Piscine.|
|Enormous boulders, some of them can be top-roped. Training for mountain climbing here.|
|One of the most popular areas of the forest with some beautifully-shaped boulders… Good landings most of the time….|
Then, some guides will be useful to you :
First of all « Fontainebleau Climbs » is dedicated to the forest’s beginners. Written by Jo Monchaussé and Jacky Godoffe, you will find the main areas’ descriptions and the boulders not to be missed . Available in French (« Escalade à Fontainebleau (les plus beaux sites et blocs)« ). A nice book, available everywhere.
Then, an English book (« BLEAU » by Stephen Gough) tries to give you the complete list of the forest’s boulders. Good book even if it is written in English ;o) and difficult to follow when looking for a hidden boulder sometimes…
Bart Van Raaij’s guide (« 7+8« ) gives you 1115 boulders harder than 7a. A little bit elitist but Zebloc likes this guide. See HERE. The second version of this guide has been issued by the end of 2007. See THERE.
The same kind of book (boulders >7a) has been written by Seb Frigault and JJ Naëls : « Bleau, Jardin Public« ..
COSIROC also wrote some interesting guides : « Escalade à Bleau Tome 1 : Les Trois Pignons (1998) » and « Escalade à Bleau » Tome 2 : Forêt domaniale de Fontainebleau (2001)« .
« Jardins Secrets » gives us some unknown areas. Very interesting for those who are fed up with classic areas.
For those who are lost at the ‘Bas Cuvier’, Jo Montchaussé’s guide will help you. Available in any good library or at Vieux Campeur in Paris.
In 2006, a new guidebook has been published. This already is a ‘must have’ and it is called Escalades Hors Pistes à Fontainebleau.
Some other guides may be available (« Blocs en Stock » concerning Cuvier for example) but are not up to date…..
Hard to give you a complete list of the websites talking about the forest. Those which you shouldn’t avoid are:
BLEAU.INFO Direttissima.com and 7ableau.com have merged into THE forest’s database : all the boulders above 7a, photos, videos, news, forum etc…
GRIMPORAMA Some nice pics.
BLEAU Jo Montchaussé’s website with some nice pics …
Many slopers to catch in the forest. So it is better if it is sticky!!! Depending on the weather, every season, excep summer, can be good for climbing…
Some useful links concerning the weather : Météo-France and the local forecast. Long term forecasts are available here. Finally, motorway’s webcam located very near the forest is good to see the real-time weather…
The easiest way to discover the forest is of course by car. This will allow you to get to Paris in about one hour (except in the evenings and Sunday afternoons when there are a lot of traffic jams). To have a look at the traffic conditions you may see the Sytadinwebsite. For the traffic on the motorways, Autoroute.fr is useful.
But you may take a train (then walk or ride a bike which can be rented in Paris or Fontainebleau) to several areas. For example, if you leave the train at Bois-Le-Roi, you will get to the ‘Canon’ in about 20 minutes and to the Cuvier in less than an hour. Bois-le-Roi is about 20 minutes from ‘Gare de Lyon’ (in Paris) and there is a train every half-an-hour.
Cuvier is a bit far from the train but, as there are a lot of climbers there, you are sure to find a car to take you back to Paris or somewhere else.
Other possible stations : Fontainebleau (40 min from Paris then ‘le Calvaire’ at 2 km) and Malesherbes (1h15min from Paris then 2km to Buthiers) .
Where to stay?
The 3 free campsites of the forest (one of them was very closed to the Bas-Cuvier area) are no more opened!
If you are looking for more comfortable campgrounds (you will have to pay for that) , the one located near ‘La Musardière’ is well known. He is not far from Milly-la-Forêt (tél 33 1 64 98 91 91). The Samoreau campground, near Fontainebleau (tél 33 1 64 23 98 91), is open from march 15th to october 30th.
Two kinds of ‘Gîtes’ are available in the forest : the ‘gîtes d’étape’ (where you pay for your bed) and the ‘gîtes ruraux’ (flat renting for a week-end for example).
Few ‘gîtes d’étape’ are available in the forest.
The Trois Pignons one in Noisy-sur-Ecole is close to the ‘Trois Pignons’. 33 1 64 24 54 67.
The ‘Ferme du Coquibus’ is cool in Milly-la-Forêt (33 1 64 98 87 40 on the week-end).
Also, there is one in Moigny-sur-Ecole (33 1 64 97 23 81).
Concerning the ‘gîtes ruraux‘, the Gîtes de France de l’Essonne may give you some advice. Here , you will get the list of the forest’s gîtes.
Warning, the chalet JOBERT, which you may find the adress for in some guides, is not an hotel anymore.
Lots of hotels in Fontainebleau. Contact the tourism office at 33 1 60 74 99 99. Milly-La-Forêt is a magnificent village with few hotels (33 1 64 98 83 17). In Barbizon and Bois-le-Roi too, some expensive hotels are available. For the areas located near Nemours (Larchant, Malesherbes …) you will find some hotels in Nemours too..
Formule 1 hotel in Ecuelles Tel : (+33)891705326 Fax : (+33)164311665
You will find anything in Fontainebleau. For climbing gear, there is a Decathlon shop in Chailly en Bière … You will also find the Soescalade truck every week-end on Trois Pignons car park.
Rest/rainy days in the forest…
For the rainy days, if you want to climb, some gyms are located in Paris. For bouldering, the best is Antrebloc, which is located in the South suburbs of Paris (Villejuif). There are two ‘Mur Mur’ gyms in Paris but Zebloc doesn’t like them : cold welcoming, poor bouldering walls… ‘CEE’ wall in Thiais is an old gym but this is the nearest gym to the forest.
In 2006, a new gym opened in the heart of the forest : Bloc’age is thus a place to climb on rainy days.
For the rest days, some interesting things to be seen in the forest : Fontainebleau’s beautiful castle, Milly-la-Forêt village…. But if you want to leave the forest, you are less than one hour from Paris and its numerous sites..