Two national forests : Trois Pignons and Fontainebleau
The wooded area of Fontainebleau comprises 2 national forests of deciduous and evergreen trees : Trois Pignons and Fontainebleau.
While the Forêt de Fontainebleau belonged to the royal estate from the 10th century onwards, Trois Pignons was privately-owned until the state bought it in 1983 bringing the total forest area at the time to over 22,000 hectares. Bordered by three rivers, the Seine to the east, Ecole to the west and Loing to the south, 19,200 hectares of the forest are in the département of Seine-et-Marne.
To the west, in the Forêt des Trois Pignons, 800 hectares lie in the département of Essonne. Today the forest is considered to have a total surface area of 25,000 hectares.
35 million years ago, the sea occupied the site of today’s forest and left sediment deposits 50 metres deep. This white sand is one of the purest in the world and is used in glass-making (Murano at Venise) and in fibre-optics. It formed rocky cliffs which characterise the forest landscape.
Fontainebleau sandstone was formed from this compacted sand creating the famous rock formations and boulder fields on sandy slopes in the forest; some of the surprisingly shaped rocks resemble animals or objects and are highly sought after rock climbing venues for bouldering enthusiasts from all over the world.
The Forest of Fontainebleau and the Barbizon School
There are numerous activities for families : rock-climbing for all levels of experience, walks, bike rides, horse rides and also photographic walks, story walks for children and night time outings to hear the roar of rutting stags.
The accommodation in and around the forest is often adapted for families and rock-climbers. Owners are delighted to share their love of the forest and its secrets, like where to find mushrooms, and also to lend rock-climbing equipment. A walk in this magical place is always a treat with surprises in store.
Explore Seine-et-Marne with Gites de France Seine-et-Marne : medieval town of Provins, Château de Blandy-Les-Tours, Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte, Disneyland Paris, Château de Fontainebleau - Musée national.