Forest of Fontainebleau: The most beautiful French forest is only 1 hour south of Paris.

family in a forest looking at the landscape
Picture from the official Fontainebleau tourism website

A wonder in the middle of nowhere

Accessing the forest of Fontainebleau is pretty easy. Simply drive an hour South-East from Paris and leave the highway when you need to. When doing so, you may realize that the landscape around you is very plain and calm. Indeed, around Paris, the buildings are quickly replaced by the fields. It’s time to take a breath of fresh air.

The Paris basin used to be a sea. That’s the reason why such a forest was formed here. Indeed, the trees and the rocks look normally belong to the seaside climate. Pines, sand, rocks, you will think that you are on France’s West Coast. However, this is not the case. This place survived to the time. It has its own flora, but also its own fauna! Some very rare birds can only be seen here, which makes this forest a great point for bird watchers.

What does it look like to walk in fontainebleau?

The Forest is a mix of trees, rocks, and sand. Altogether, it gives a great atmosphere to this place. When it’s sunny, the sun rays going through the trees make the landscape amazing. The trees have huge apparent roots, so be careful to mind your steps. The hikes I did in this forest have various difficulty levels, so it’s pretty much for everyone. For kids, it’s like going on an adventure: climbing between the rocks, jumping from root to another. I can easily imagine myself ten years earlier running in this forest with my parents. There are not only the rocks and the trees which are incredible: the sand is also known in the world. Some people even try to sell it for his fineness and softness…

two women walking between trees of fontainebleau
Typical hiking landscape, from the official Fontainebleau tourism website

A paradise for climbers

Thanks to the sea which was previously there, some rocks have unbelievable forms. Some of them have names (check the following picture). Others are simply perfect to climb. Indeed, the water dug the rocks in a very particular way, which makes climbing very interesting. It gives a hard time to your fingers. That’s why the Forest of Fontainebleau is one of the top spots in France to climb. If you are a climber, you should definitely consider going there. You will easily meet other climbers and maybe they could become new friends.

climbable rock looking like a crocodile
The rock of the crocodile, on which you can see the forms the climbers love. Picture from Fontainebleau-Photo.

Back to the roots: have a walk in the forest of Fontainebleau

The sand, the rocks, and their forms, all these signs tell us that there was a sea here some millions of years ago. How mad is it to think that we can walk on the sand where there used to be water? I go to this forest almost every year, it’s like a ritual. It helps to remember that we are just a fraction of the world’s history. All our acts, all our thoughts are nothing compared to the scale of the world. We have to enjoy the wonders nature offers us because they will not be there forever, just like us. All our steps in this forest will be forgotten very soon, on the world’s time scale, when another sea will arrive.

three persons walking in a sandpit in fontainebleau
One of Fontainebleau’s “beaches”, even if there is no sea at all anymore. Picture from Enlarge your Paris

Where to land?

Choosing where to land is always a difficult question. Depending on what you want to visit, where you can stay, whether you want to include this destination inside a road trip, the choice will be different. Here, landing in Paris is the simplest option, even if you want to do a road trip around all of France.

Travel responsibly in the forest of Fontainebleau

I enjoy finishing my articles with eco-tourism advice. I did it for Bali, Yosemite, Madeira, Adirondacks, and Antelope Canyon. Indeed, such places must be preserved. Please travel responsibly and make sure you keep this place as beautiful as it currently is. The flora and fauna of this place are fragile.

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