/ Best crags far western France

Please Register as a New User in order to reply to this topic.
mark catcher - on 12 Aug 2017
Heading (very loosely!) down towards Biarritz from Calais before swinging back towards Provence. Looking for stunning locations for mid-grade family climbing, ideally with swimming and wild van-camping if possible. Any must visit spots very welcome, thanks.
PeakDJ on 13 Aug 2017
In reply to mark catcher:
You might not find much on a truly spectacular scale in Western France. There is obviously the granite in Brittany, which I have never climbed on.

There's a place called Mervent between Nantes and Niort - mostly easier routes (max 6bish I think) but the rock doesn't look very nice and it's a bit like UK limestone.

However, not far off route there is some good climbing at les Eaux Claires near Angouleme, although you may be limited to early mornings and/or evening sessions if it's sunny (the summer here in France hasn't been especially good so far so you may not have any worries on that score).

I like Guignoterie, about an hour outside Poitiers. There are some excellent routes there in the 6s and 7s on great, pocketed rock. There's an ace municipal campsite with river swimming nearby in Saint Pierre de Maille and you could probably wild camp in the van near the crags if you're discrete. There is a river right under the crag to cool off and play around in, but watch out for "Aspi" snakes. We were there a few weeks ago and saw a couple. They'll avoid you once you're in and swimming but just watch where you are stepping when getting in the water.

To get much better than that you'll need to go further East. We live in the Correze and just South of here we have the Gorge du Lot, which has some good, little-known crags (Autoire, St Gery), Slightly further West, in the Dordogne Area you might like Ceou as a family place - morning shade and good across the grades. Again, great little river under the crag for swimming. Nearby, there is even some DWS at Cingles de Montfort - actually really good, with a convenient beach opposite to hang out on. Swim across the river and climb - hey presto!
Post edited at 19:42
mark catcher - on 13 Aug 2017
In reply to PeakDJ: Great reply, many thanks for taking the time. I'll explore all those ;-)

tomrainbow - on 14 Aug 2017
In reply to mark catcher:
I'd second St Gery as a recommendation...it's up there with the best crags I've been to in France, with a relaxed ambiance and some stunning long routes. Hot in the morning at the right end of the crag though, it faces East to South as it curves round the hillside. The far left end of the crag is shadier but the routes are maybe not quite as classic and it takes a while to walk to that end of the crag.

The other valley well worth condsidering is the Gorge D'Aveyron, which is about an hour North of Toulouse. there are about seven crags in the valley, five of which are huge (150 routes each), they face all directions so you can always find shade and offer lots of variety. The only drawback is that the easier routes tend to be not very good and very polished.
IPPurewater on 14 Aug 2017
In reply to mark catcher:

Here is a web link that might help you.

http://www.ffme.fr/site/falaise.html
PeakDJ on 14 Aug 2017
In reply to tomrainbow:

> I'd second St Gery as a recommendation...it's up there with the best crags I've been to in France, with a relaxed ambiance and some stunning long routes. Hot in the morning at the right end of the crag though, it faces East to South as it curves round the hillside.

Agreed! If anyone ends up at St Gery and it's too hot, it isn't too far to Autoire, which gets afternoon shade and often a good breeze. Amazing tufa climbing set on a cirque above the picturesque village of Autoire. Even a waterfall to cool off in after climbing underneath the crag. Also highly recommended is a look around the "Ferme de Siran" above the crag...it has a little café and a shop selling home-made Mohair goods, all produced on site. An amazingly under-rated area of France that I am amazed isn't more popular with British climbers.


Rog Wilko on 14 Aug 2017
In reply to mark catcher:

Hi Mark,
Interested to see this post as I was thinking of asking a similar question.
Agree about La Guignoterie, it's a very nice spot and has plenty of easy routes to suit family groups. The guidebook is available in the local tabac. It details some other crags in the area as well.
This place gets quite a good press
La Fosse Arthour
Haven't been myself, but hoping to pass through later this autumn.
ads.ukclimbing.com
Toerag - on 15 Aug 2017
In reply to Rog Wilko:

It's a bit far north. If in the area I think Mortain and Clecy are better, although the rock at Fosse Arthour is a bit more bizarre.

Please Register as a New User in order to reply to this topic.