Ed's trip to France

September 23, 2008 - Halifax, United Kingdom

After finishing work early, and still on the payroll, I headed to the airport.  After a short one hour flight to Paris I landed around 9:30pm.  Picked up my bags and navigated my way through the terminals to my hirecar.  Armed with a one page photocopy from the internet and a map of Europe I headed south to a place called Fontainebleau.  Navigating through Paris was hell.  Finally by fluke I picked up a highway south and within an hour I had arrived at Fontainebleau. 

It was 11pm when I arrived so I knew there would be no campground open.  So I found a little carpark in the forest and decided to camp in the back of the car.  I knew I was in for an uncomfortable night but I had no choice.  During the night a police car pulled up to check on me.  When they saw me wake up and look at them they jumped back in their car and just drove off.  It didn't bother me much, as in 10secs after they left I was already back asleep.  They were probably just driving around looking for a bakery looking to get their jam donuts...oh sorry, in France they have chocolate croissants.

The next day I drove around Font looking for a campsite.  I eventually found one and they gave me a better map and highlighted where the climbing areas were.  After setting up the tent, I headed straight to the nearest bouldering site which was called The Elephant.  It is a very large closely compacted set of large boulders situated inside a very flat forest.  They call this area The Elephant as it has a boulder shaped like an elephants head with a trunk.  On the rock the French have painted little arrows for you to follow from boulder to boulder climbing around the forest.  After climbing there for a few hours I then jumped in my car and drove to other areas around Fontainebleu. 

Each day I would get up and head to a different bouldering area in Font.  Then in the afternoon I would head to different villages and check out the towns.  The towns were tightly packed terraced homes made of stone and looked very French with the timber shutters.  I thought the buildings were quite different to Spain and in the country of France was quite remote.  I quite enjoyed driving around France and the different climbing areas.  Meeting different people from around the globe even as far as NewZealand.  People come to this place from all over the world to come climbing.  I expected there to be lots of crowds as I have been told this but apart from the weekend it wasn't the case.  There is a lifetime of bouldering in Font which it is a place that you would always go back to.   

By the end of my five days climbing, I was well and truly worn out and in need of a rest.  I miraculously somehow navigated my way back to Paris airport where I spent the night in a hotel and then flew out the next day.

I was quite glad to be able to make the trip to Paris to go climbing.  I would still put Spain so far as my best country to travel in Europe but would put Prague as my favourite city.       



1 Comment

September 26, 2008
Spectacular looking boulders!!
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