Camping and bouldering in Fontainebleau with no car

Camping and boulder in Fontaine Bleau ? I love it !

I live in Paris, so Fontainebleau is just one hour away for me by car. However, I like to drive to the forest and stay in the camping for a few days with my son. He climbs, I hike, that’s the perfect combo for the Fontainebleau forest.

Milly-la-Foret - La Musardière - climbing justice - laurence Bichon
Milly-la-Foret – La Musardière – climbing justice – laurence bichon photographe

Camping in Fontainebleau

Wild camping is not allowed in the forest of Fontainebleau, and in particular in the most renowned part of it, the “forêt des trois pignons”. You are allowed to bivouac in several places described in this official ONF website for Fontainebleau. ONF stands for Office National des Forêts. It is the national Institution in charge of the public forests.

If you plan to stay in a campsite and not to use your car I as do, or if you are a backpacker, there is only one camping near to the bouldering sites : la Musardière.

If you plan to stay in a mobil home or in your car, there is a free motorhome air in Milly-la-Forêt.

If La Musardière is closed, or if you wish to find another place to stay, like a a vacation rental, a bed and breakfast or a hotel, you can have a look at the tourism website of Milly-la-Forêt.

Camping La Musardière

The campsite La Musardière is located Route des Grandes Vallées, 91490 Milly-la-Forêt, phone number is 01 64 98 91 91. There is no website.

The office is open every day from 08:00 to 12:00 and from 14:00 to 19:30.

It is closed between November 20th and February 22nd this year, 2019 for instance.

Nice and easy place to stay, a lot of climbers coming from all parts of Europe and more.

About the service provides in the campsite :

  • you can sleep in your van/car, in your tent, or rent a mobil home
  • there is a nice swimming pool in summer (opened June 1st – September 15th)
  • small terrace restaurant (opened April – September 15th ) .
  • the bakery comes at the entrance of the camp to sell bread, croissants and other viennoiseries (every day in summer, the during weekends and school vacations otherwise)
  • bike renting
  • buy Bart van Raaij’s bouldering guidebooks
  • buy pof
  • rent a crash pad
  • dogs accepted on a lead

No food shop though, the nearest market is Franprix in Milly-la-Forêt, 49 Place du Marché, 3km away.

There is no toilet paper or soap in the sanitary blocks. You must bring your own.

The camping does not provide any wi-fi connection. You will have to rely on your mobile data. However, I could not load internet pages in many places in the camping itself, the connection is erratic…

How to reach Milly-la-Forêt ?

If you plan to come by train, car, bus, I suggest to consult the tourism office page of Milly-la-Forêt by clicking on their page “How to reach Milly ?“. They’ll provide useful details.

Bouldering sites near la Musardière

There are 2 climbing sites close to the camping, that is 20 minutes away by foot : the hill of “la justice de Chambergeot” and the site of “la gorge aux Châts”.

Site “la Justice de Chambergeot”

This site is best known as “la Justice”. You’ll find :

  • a jaune PD- (yellow slightly difficult – ) : 40 blocks
  • an orange AD+ (orange fairly difficult + ) : 35 blocks
Unumbered bock in La justice
Milly-la-Foret – La Musardière – climbing justice – laurence bichon photographe

Site “la gorge aux Châts”

We climbed in this circuit two days during our stay. It’s an nice sandy site. Also, there are a lot of trees (chât means chestnut), blocks are often in the sun. Therefore, we try to come early in the morning or late in the afternoon… La “Gorge aux Châts” provides 3 circuits :

  • jaune AD (yellow fairly difficult ) : 29 blocks
  • bleu D (blue difficult ) : 35 blocks
  • rouge TD (red very difficult ) : 31 blocks

This site has been first traced in the late 80s. Then, probably due to dwellings with the houses nearby, lots of paints have been erased. Some of them have been painted anew. Some are a bit difficult to find. Having the circuit map is then useful.

You will find a lot of information about each bloc on bleau.info.

La gorge aux chats - bleu numéro effacé
Gorge aux Châts – Unknown blue

Bouldering books or websites about Fontainebleau

Topo reading in Fontainebleau
Milly-la-Foret – La Musardière – climbing la gorge aux chats – laurence bichon photographe

IGN maps

When you start hiking and walking from one site to another in the forest, consulting the IGN (Institut National Géographique) 1:25 000 map is the way to go. Here is the one you need : IGN – 2417 OT au 1:25000 “Forêt de Fontainebleau”.

The IGN provides also a free website with access to 1/25000 maps on its geoportail. It’s a lot more detailed than google maps when you try and find your way in the paths of the forest.

Website bleau.info

A website dedicated to bouldering in Bleau : bleau.info. This site is written in French and in English.

It provides a list of the blocs of each route and pictures.

If a topo is provided, click on it to get a visual localization of the blocks in the site. For instance, click here for the topo of la Gorge aux Châts, made by Bernard Théret.

screen capture of the climbing website bleau.info
screen capture of the climbing website bleau.info
Excerpt of the topo made by Bernard Théret
Excerpt of the topo made by Bernard Théret

Circuit guides

A compendium to Bart van Raaij’s guidebooks of Fontainebleau bouldering:

  • 5+6 (part 1 and part 2) Straight ups in Fontainebleau
  • 7+8 Straight ups in Fontainebleau
Climbing notebooks by Bart van Raaij
Climbing notebooks by Bart van Raaij

On the grimporama website, you will find a list of 39 books about Bleau sites and circuits which have been edited since 1959. Most of them are French books only, but some are in French and in English. Click on grimporama Fontainebleau’s topo list.

Fontainebleau’s magazine

If you read French, you may also read the e-magazine of climbing in Bleau : “La tribune libre de Bleau“.

Weather forecast

Another web page may help you : the french weather forecast page of Milly-la-Forêt. Here is the meteofrance’s website page. The app is named “METEO FRANCE”.

You specify your location, and will get a pretty accurate forecast of the weather in Milly-la-Forêt.

Both the website and the app provide a 1-hour rainfall feature. “Pluie dans l’heure” in French.

Another tip about the weather in Bleau : when it’s hot,…. it’s HOT. Both sites I speak about in this post are partly in shade, but still lots of blocks are in the sun during hours. We usually go early in the morning or late in the afternoon to get the most of the climbing session…

About pof (colophane resin) and chalk (magnesia)…

We met a group of English climbers and chatted a bit. They planned to use chalk. We talked about pof, the colophane resin lots of climbers use in Bleau. We showed what it is like, and explained that people rather use pof instead of chalk on blocks here in Bleau beacause rocks are sandstone. Chalk tend to soot these rocks more than pof.

By the way, you can buy “pof” for around 3 euros in the camping.

Here are some ethic suggestions for climbers and hikers in Fontainebleau.

Pof or chalk on sandstone
Sandstone cleaning

Time to climb !

Usually, I take my camera and enjoy shooting the climbers, blocks, nature… When climbers are concentrated, make several tries on the same block, you can easily take your time, choose where to stand. Here are some climbing pictures in Auvernaux for instance.

This time, as we are only two, I assume security, trying to hold my son back if he falls. A new role !

Gaby climbs in “La gorge aux Châts” – Bouldering in Fontainebleau – France

One minute tick check

I know, this is not a glamorous chapter, but a necessary one… Three years ago, one of us got infected with the Lyme disease due to a tick bite in the forest of Fontainebleau. We did not check for ticks on our bodies every night at this time. We could discover the person was infected with Lyme early and she got antibiotics…

So let’s call it the one minute tick check…

Tick removers
Tick removers

After climbing…

We always love to come back to La Musardière and have a swim in the pool. It’s an open swimming pool, only open during summer, with a pool for babies, 2 pools for kids and a 1.5m pool. It’s very clean, heated. No life-saver.

The swimming pool is open between 10h00 and 12h00, and in the afternoon between 14h00 and 19h00.

Access to the water is only allowed to people in swimming suits. Shorts are not authorized. However, you may buy a swimming suit in a machine in the nearby sanitary block. Just in case… I think a suit costs 7 euros.

Swimming pool of the camping La Musardière in Milly-la-Forêt
Swimming pool of the camping La Musardière in Milly-la-Forêt

That’s all for today. I’m back in Paris now. If you are reading these lines, you probably plan to camp, climb in Bleau and so become a Bleausard 🙂 .

If you need a precision or if you have a question related to this post, leave a comment below, and I will do my best to answer it !

Click here for more images about la Gorges aux Châts !

I wish you a nice stay !

FAQ

Is camping and climbing in Fontainebleau in winter possible ?

Yes, but beware that the camping La Musardière is closed between December 1st and February 15th.
Climbing is always possible as the forest of Fontainebleau is mainly on public domain and is of free access. However, wet sandstone is fragile. Don’t climb on wet rocks.

Is bouldering free in Fontainebleau ?

The access to the climbing sites are free and so are the parking places.

What is the most accurate Fontainebleau bouldering map ?

You’ll find all climbing sites of the forest of Fontainebleau in bleau.info. For every site, you’ll also get all routes (white, yellow, orange, blue, red, black), and often also a topo of the site and pictures.fontainebleau bouldering map : Excerpt map bleau.info

Is it allowed to fly a drone on Fontainebleau ?

Click here to see the official map for restrictions with leisure drones.
Here is the meaning of the colors :
Red : flight forbidden
Pink : max flight height = 30m
Orange : max flight height = 50m
In addition, here are the principle rules in France to fly safely an unmanned aircraft (drone and model aircraft) for recreational purposes.
drone restrictions around la musardiere in milly-la-foret- fontainebleau

Is it allowed to go with my dog unleashed in the forest of Fontainebleau ?

1) You must keep your dog on leash when you leave the forest alleys between april 15th and june 30th. Otherwise, you dog be within 100m from you and come back when you call him. Source here.
2) Here is also the calendar for the hunt days in Seine-et-Marne (department 77) and for hunt days in Essonne (department 91).

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