Fontainebleau ("Bleau") is the name of a forest and a small town with a classical castle which are about 50km South of Paris. It is probably one of the finest bouldering sites in the world. Climbing started there in the 30s and at this time moves equivalent to 10+ where already done there. The climbing is on sandstone, generally with friction problems, very tiny edges, and lots of overhanging moves which are generally quite mysterious to the climber which is not used to the place (the ratings are two grades more severe than on french cliffs). The boulders are organized in "circuits", which are the enchainement of several boulders (30 to 100+) with a consistent level of difficulty. There are several hundred circuits, from the easiest, to the most extremes, featuring a total of tens of thousands problems. On each circuit, you follow the markings arrows, which are of a specific color, and each time there is a significant problem, there is an arrow an order number. So it is relatively easy to follow a circuit, however, it is useful to have the guidebook. It is mandatory in order to find the beginning of each circuit, too. The most pleasant way to climb is to choice one circuit of your level, which gives you the best of an area (at a given level), however some people work only on very specific and hard problems. Typically, you do one circuit per climbing session.
The factors to influence the choice of a circuit:
THE Guidebook: Title: Fontainebleau : escalades et randonnees Author: Michel Schulman and others 2nd edition: 1986 Publisher: Arthaud, Paris ISBN: 2-7003-0418-7
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