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France

Seasonality

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Summary

Croissants, seas of sandstone boulders and scenic limestone sport crags.

Description

France is a highly sought-after destination for climbing, and for good reasons. From classic sport crags to scenic multi-pitch adventures just above the water or 4,000m up an alpine peak, there’s a something for everyone here, all year round. And then, there’s the unforgettable food!

As a rule of thumb, the quality of climbing gets better and better as you go South, with some notable exceptions.

For bouldering (‘bloc’). About an hour away from Paris, Fontainebleau is a world-class bouldering area with more than 30,000 sandstone boulder problems. To the West, in the Bretagne region, you’ll find granite boulders right by the beach, such as in Pen-Hir and Kerlouan. In the South, check out Targassone, Annot, Ailefroide and many more.

For sport climbing (’escalade sportive’), there’s no shortage of world-class crags. Start with the classic areas such as Le Saussois, Les Calanques, Le Verdon, Buoux, Volx, Chateauvert, Orpierre, Mouries… and then head to the more ‘futuristic’ falaises such as Ceuse, Les Gorges du Tarn, Saint-Léger du Ventoux, Orgon, Les Gorges du Loup... the list goes on.

For trad climbing (‘escalade en terrain d’aventure’), head to Annot, le Vercors, but also Les Gorges du Verdon or even Ceuse.

Deep water soloing is also worth a mention with Les Calanques, La Ciotat, Les Gorges du Tarn, Les Gorges du Verdon and La Piade being hot spots in the summer months. Watch for tourists when jumping off!

Last but not least, climbing is also well developed in French islands such as Corsica, la Guadeloupe (Caribbeans) and l’Ile de la Reunion (Indian Ocean).

Bonne grimpe!

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A few useful words:

  • Hi! | Salut!
  • Thank you | Merci
  • Please | S'il vous plait
  • Can you help me? | Pouvez vous m'aider?
  • One beer please! | Une biere patron!
  • Climbing | Escalade
  • To belay | Assurer
  • I'm looking for a belayer | Est-ce que quelqu'un peut m'assurer?
  • Where is the climbing area? | Ou se trouve le secteur d'escalade?

Access issues

As of 2020, some privately owned climbing areas may have restricted access. Check with https://www.ffme.fr/

Ethic

Park where indicated, take care of the environment, buy the local guidebook when possible (this is one of the ways you can help local route setters), clean up your shoes before climbing, don't spray beta, be polite.

Check https://www.gouvernement.fr/en/coronavirus-covid-19 for COVID-19 restrictions currently in place.

Did you know?

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Activity

Check out what is happening in France.

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