We keenly made our way back to Fountainbleau, after visiting the area a couple of times last year. Fountainbleau is a region of gentle, sandy forest intersected with large areas of sandstone boulders. The forms of the stones are cut by wind and rain and form animal like shapes - whales and elephants for instance, or intricate patterned faces of hexagons or organic dips and swirls. It is just South East of Paris and so an ideal stopover on the way to the south.
Our guide book turns out to be rather out of date and rather than finding new areas we end up returning to the same area where we went last year, but that’s fine. On the ride through the forest we passed groups of young French people with long, light limbs moving effortlessly from hold to hold. This is intimidating and impressive at the same time. We spent a day in all on the rock and did one of the bouldering circuits where the rocks are marked with 1 - 48 of bouldering problems. A good warm up for the climbing to come. Most of the problems were just difficult enough to be challenging but fun at the same time.
Our stopover for two nights was at Milly Foret and cost just E5 per night, including water and waste disposal. Some of the sites in the area are busy and noisy but this place was peaceful and very small. Here we did our first changing of the toilet tank (not for the squeamish) and started to work out just how much water, gas and electricity we consume.