“Sights you should not miss”
- Fontainebleau Forest
The forest offers sheer delight to nature-lovers as it is teeming with a profusion of fauna – stags, deer, wild boar, rodents and approximately 215 species of birds – and abundantly varied flora – about 1 350 flowering plants, 450 mosses, 3 000 mushrooms, 500 lichens and just as many algae.
This magnificent conservation area extends over 28 000 hectares and has a network of more than 1 600 km of forest tracks and walking routes including 300 km of footpaths specially marked out for hikers to enjoy.
Horse-riders, mountain bikers, roller skaters and runners can also get away from it all along the circular tour tracks set out for their use. Climbing enthusiasts are catered for with almost 150 marked circuits among the sandstone rocks and boulders.
The ONF forestry commission organises activities geared to school programmes and will tailor them to public demand. Educational visits for children and guided tours for groups of adults are run to raise awareness of environmental conservation challenges. A number of topics are put in the spotlight including artists’ colonies, the forester’s trade and forest animals.
- The village of Barbizon
Barbizon is a few kilometres from our centre, and is now a residential and tourist destination of international acclaim. Thankfully, the former heyday of this little village that was so popular with artists has been preserved, for at the time of the 19th century landscape painters, Barbizon was a humble hamlet, but its artistic glory has since taken the name of the village around the world.
The artists of the Barbizon saga used to congregate at their shrine – the Ganne Inn – which has been given a new purpose. It houses the Museum of the School of Barbizon. Its collections include paintings and engravings by 19th-century masters and minor masters.
Go to the www.barbizon.fr website for more details on Barbizon
- The town of Provins
Just an hour from our centre stands the town of Provins, with heritage that is unparalleled in France, deservedly acknowledged by the "Town of Art and History” label. It too is on the UNESCO "World Heritage Site” list. Visitors to Provins travel back to the times of lords and knights of the Middle Ages transported by a full events programme.
The Tourist Office has set out a trail and signs for those who want to explore the town on foot and meander through the historic centre to discover its many monuments. The brace of architectural gems offered by the town includes – the town’s emblem… the famous Caesar’s Tower, Saint Quiriace’s Collegiate Church, Saint Ayoul’s Church, the Ramparts and fortified doors. Medieval shows, 150 of them, are organised from April to the end of October… Arkahangai, the Horsemen of the Steppes; the Eagles of the Ramparts; the Legends of the Knights; the Age of the Ramparts.
The town of Provins holds a medieval weekend pageant in the middle of June, when you can mingle with actors and artists in period costume. Many other activities are organised around this theme.
For further information on the town of Provins, go to its website: www.provins.net