I'm aware there have been lots of threads about this topic, but thought i'd make an attempt to put together a thread covering all the bases.
I'm off to Font in the first week of June with the family (missus and 2 girls, aged 4 and 1).
The eldest has done some climbing and I'm currently bouldering up to about 6c. The key objective of the trip is to get some climbing done for me, but also get the family interested (doomed to failure i'm sure).
From the research I've done I'm thinking the following three areas may be a good bet:
Canache aux Merciers
Beauvais-Rocher Du Duc
and Buthiers (because we are staying at Maisonbleau).
Anyone have thoughts on the above? I'm keen to stay away from the more popular areas due to reports of rubbish/poo etc.
When we aren't climbing I'm hoping its warm enough for the pool at Buthiers, some cycling in the forests and a bit of walking + a bit of sightseeing in Fontainbleau itself. Does anyone have recommendations of other things to do in the area with kids?
I promise to report back on our return with my views on the areas we visit.
I was out over the april holiday. If you head to Roche aux Sabot (in trois pignons) there is a carpark off the main road (D16 I think)then a kids bouldering circuit (well there were alot of young kids there) before the main Sabot area. Easily accessable, sandy landings and a nice walk into the forest (91.1, Cul de Chien and 95.2 are all within 20 minutes).
There were quite a few people with push chairs but be warned, alot of the main paths are like walking on a beach.
I can't comment on the area you mentioned though. Don't bother with Bas Cuvier though, there was alot of litter and condom wrappers, really not a place to take the kids.
Beauvais Telegraph is good for kids. 2 white circuits, one for little ones and one for those a little older. I took the nephew and he did the easy one and had a fantastic time, he's 5. Also its under trees and nice and shady. It's next to the parking, usually fairly quiet. There's also plenty for you to go at.
I don't know about the white circuit at Buthiers, but there's plenty of good stuff, plus swimming pool, acrobranch and a bar for coffee/beer.
In reply to Elwood: another recommendations for Roche aux Sabot lots of fun bolders to play on (wouldn't even worry about finding 'kiddies circuits' for ones that young) the whole place is just a great big play ground
Bas Cuvier is horrid - used a lot by local prostitutes and the litter there is nasty (also routes polished)
In reply to tom_greenwich: My 4 and 6 year olds had a great time at Canache aux Merciers. Close to the car park and lots of boulders that aren't too high
DavidDaly22 May 2011
When we were in Font last year we visited Canache aux Merciers and the white circuits there looked awesome for kids. Although it was fairly busy and you get a bit of road noise I still thought it was rather pleasant (and a lot less crowded than Froggatt Edge on a sunny day!).
My 3.5 year old has been to Font around 8 times now and loves it. We had our 8 month old with us this Easter too. Isatis, Haute Plein, Elephant, Cuiseniere, Diplodocus, 91.1, 95.2 etc etc... - she always finds something to climb and adventures to go on and games to play.
The only areas that come to mind I can think of that are worth avoiding are Bas Cuvier (as others have said) & Drei Zinnen, Dame Joanne & Manoury.
I think the pink guidebook has a 'family freindly' symbol for each area too. Neil and Chris at Maisonbleau will be able to give you good advice too
Canche aux Mercier is very good for kids. The white routes are great. It's not too far for them to walk or be carried(!). There's a big open area just before you reach the main bouldering area with logs to sit on and plenty of sand so take a bucket and spade. This is also very close to the start of the white circuit.
Roche aux Sabots also has a kids circuit separate from the rest of the boulders and is the first thing you reach from the car park. The boulders form a natural ring so it's fairly easy to keep an eye on them.
Buthiers When I went in 2005 I never actually found the white circuit. There is a yellow circuit close to the pool just in case your 4 year old gets bored with the whites!!
Another place to try is the Elephant. My daughter did the first 17 routes (with a little help) at the age of 5. As you approach "The Elephant" from the car parking spaces on the road the start of the white circuit is over to the right at the start of the steps/footpath that takes you onto the plateau. Some good routes for you to have a go at as well. Again lots of sand and pine cones to collect.
Rainy days? We just used to stay in the tent and play cards and ispy. Happy days!! I've just found a brochure (acting as a book mark) in one of my guides for a place called Fami Parc. Took the kids there once. Try this link www.fami-parc.com
> When we aren't climbing I'm hoping its warm enough for the pool at Buthiers, some cycling in the forests and a bit of walking + a bit of sightseeing in Fontainbleau itself. Does anyone have recommendations of other things to do in the area with kids?
> I promise to report back on our return with my views on the areas we visit.
Buthiers - Was quite noise and busy, plenty for the kids to climb on and lots of sand to play in, although we didn't find any of the kids routes. Recommended if you are staying near-by or combine with a trip to the pool (which we did, yes you do need speedo style swimmers)
Roche Aux Sabot - Good kids circuit, although a bit reachy for a 4 year old. again plenty of sand and there is a nice walk in the forest. We were unlucky and visited at the same time as a large school group.
L'Elephant - By far the best of the 3 from a kids perspective, the climbs all edge onto a large sandy area which was great as I could climb and always see the family, there are also picnic benchs under the trees. Plenty for the kids to climb amongst the circuits and up on top of the hill there is a great kids scrambling/climbing circuit which was perfect for a 4 year old.
General thoughts - take a bucket and spade and a bug collecting kit, take a bouldering mat which the kids can use to jump onto, sit on, build sand castles on. There is a great patisserie in Mille. The chateau in Font is closed on Tuesdays (we learned the hard way!).
Buy a helmet for the kids, buy them decent shoes to climb in (not from decathlon like I did)
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