early daze in the Fontainebleau forest

Our early days in the forest were a blur of excitement to be climbing there at last, paranoia about the weather forecast, and figuring out logistics of where to buy groceries and find internet (there is no internet in the town we stayed in… at all!). We picked up our car at the CDG airport and headed to our gite in Bourron-Marlotte on March 3rd… Saturday afternoon. It was late in the day to try to climb (especially after hitting some Paris traffic trying to leave) and we needed to check in at 6pm, but Rob made a quick stop at Bas Cuvier since it’s right off the highway and I was psyched to set my eyes on this famous Font sandstone even if we weren’t going to be able to climb it until the next day.

Font sandstone at its finest and most distinctive. 🙂

After checking in to the gite we ate some dinner, opened some wine, and set to work on the all-important climbing research, including familiarizing ourselves with 7+8 (the climbing guide) and figuring out the various areas and problems we wanted to visit first.

Rob doing some preliminary reconnaissance and research upon arrival at the gite.

So many climbing areas to choose from!!!

Our first week was spent wandering and sampling various easy circuits (mainly getting used to the rock and style of climbing!) in Bas Cuvier and other areas, and we were so psyched to be climbing in Font that we actually kept forgetting to take photos at first!!! Here are a few, during rare moments of remembering that we had cameras…

Rob on a warm-up problem.

A classic sloper problem that Rob did despite confusing directions from the bouldering guidebook (he was supposed to avoid big holds in a direction where there were none???)… we ended up confirming with a passing Bleausard that Rob had done the correct line (though Rob has already sent it two ways to be sure).

Classic line.

The shortest approach ever… the boulders at Bas Cuvier are literally situated right next to the parking! That and the fact Cuvier has the oldest bouldering history in the forest probably explains why the holds are so polished…

The rad crashpad set-up in our buy-back vehicle… we could easily fit four people with pads if we wanted.

Some roasted veggies and hummus for lunch… yum!

We also visited the Fontainebleau chateau on one of our early days… the first Sunday of the month attractions such as these in France are FREE! So we took advantage of this to check out the chateau in the morning, before heading to the crag for the afternoon.

The huge horseshoe-shaped staircase at the front of the Fontainebleau chateau… and supposedly where Napoleon bade farewell to his troops when he went into exile.

A few of the chateau from the back… believe it or not, this massive chateau was essentially the king’s hunting lodge over the centuries! Not quite rustic, right?

Rob wandering down one of the many ornate corridors…

Supposedly this was Napoleon’s “camping bed.”

A beautiful chapel in the chateau.

All in all the Fontainebleau forest is an incredible place. France is full of amazing rest day activities, as there are chateaux galore (beyond Fontainebleau itself), cute little villages, dangerously delectable patisseries, and neat hiking trails (many leading to boulders). We got into the practice of sampling pain au chocolat in each village we had the opportunity (e.g., the boulangerie/patisserie was open when we passed through, etc.), and occasionally an almond croissant. French bakeries are definitely to be approached with caution and some degree of restraint, as it’s easy to go crazy and consume vast quantities of pastries!!!

An almond croissant is a decadent way to start the day. These things are dangerously delicious!!!

update: I’ve added a couple more shots of the gite in Bourron-Marlotte:

dining area with main room in background through door

dining area with main room in background through door

main room that was always very cold

main room that was always very cold

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~ by jillc on 2012/05/23.

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