The Gorges de Franchard is a vast playground in la forêt de Fontainebleau, littered with gazillions of rocks, and we've barely scratched it's surface.
Franchard Isatis is probably the most popular site in the area, for the concentration of high quality problems, circuits and perhaps for the 30 second walk in... It can be a little hectic on weekends, but you can follow the paths up towards the Memel bloc where the boulders are behemoths; lichen encrusted leviathans lying frozen amongst the trees, mouths gaping open and begging to be climbed. And so we did, a lot. Sam got his first 7c, Le Lot de Boudins that traverses the Plastikman bloc on slopers and crimps, and Amber got her first 7a/7a+, Donnant-Donnant on the same boulder. We repeated the lovely Bouddha assis (6b). Neither of us could get off the ground on Abdolobotomy, so we did the neat 6b stand start instead... It goes on.
The sheer scale of high quality climbing at this particular site meant that we were hunting out more potential climbs faster than we could tick them off and therefore visiting every few days. Even so it wasn't enough, and we can look forward to returning to Respect d'Intention, Iceberg, De Brevitate Vitae, Sur-Prises... It goes on.
In the opposite direction lies Cuisinière, Isatis' spacier neighbour, quieter since the approach track was closed to cars. Although we didn't give it enough time this trip, we did spend one lovely, sunset evening there and both climbed the deceptively tricky À Bras Plat à Bras (6c), a slopey number that traverses the lip of a boulder that resembles a crashed flying saucer.
We also went exploring (and grade hunting...) at the isolated, wonderful, FRICTIONOUS Franchard Raymond, and played on the circuits of Franchard Sablons that are fun and flowing, if a little heavy on the slabs. And this is just the tip of the iceberg; next time, we're gonna go Titanic on this place.