Friday, April 19, 2013

Font 2013: Part 6

Le Poisson d’Avril (the fish of April) is the French version of April Fool's Day.  School kids will typically tape/pin paper fish to each other's backs.  There are plenty of chocolate fish in the stores to celebrate, of course.

Lyn and Conrad "face timing" with Grandma. Our gite may not have radiant floor heating like our friends' gite, but at least it has WIFI, or as the French say, "WeeFee."

Goofing around with a boar's head in Barbizon.  Barbizon is a small artist's village near the forest of Fontainebleau, which inspired a generation of artists.  Not many artists there these days, just tourists.

Nicole, Courtney, Gordian, and Ingar peering down the classic climb "L'Angle Parfait" at the Dame Jouanne area. Hiking around the back may be the only way to get to the top of this technical testpiece. On our second to last day in France, we were looking for dry rock, but the whole area was pretty wet.  

Continuing our journey to find dry rock, we headed out to 95.2, a reliably fast drying area.  While we got a little climbing in, one big shower drenched all our stuff and our hopes for more fun at the boulders.  Conrad seemed to enjoy the drops on his face and slept right through the storm.  

Since our chance for continued climbing seemed slim, we headed to Milly-la-Forêt to do some shopping.  In the middle of town is this cool medieval market hall, built in 1479.  Gordian and Paul had a good time geeking out over the roof supports.

We saw quite a few cool cars driving around town and parked in lots - this classic Citroën C2V was in Milly.  I can imagine Thompson and Thompson (from Tintin) coming to a screeching halt in that thing.

We made in Fontainebleau to run some more errands and found the carousel running despite the terrible weather.  So Lyn and Conrad jumped on for Conrad's first carousel ride! No one else was intrepid (foolish?) enough to brave the rain so they were the only two on the entire carousel.

Nora's sister Nicole (climbing) and her husband Gordian (spotting) joined us for our last few days of climbing.  They live in Straßberg (or Stuttgart?), Germany and made the drive over.  Here, Nicole is eyeing the crux move on La Marie Rose.

Gordion trying La Conque à Doigt at Bas Cuvier.  For years we thought this classic climb was called La Clé, but it turns out we were wrong. French friend and Bleausard, Alain Thibault, explained that La Clé is actually the climb just to the left.  Paul and Ingar found it to be not nearly as fun.  Either way, this climb has the classic (i.e. blank) Fontainebleau top-out and is a must try if you are in Cuvier.

To celebrate Courtney's birthday and our last night in France, we ate at a relatively new restaurant in Fontainebleau.  L'Axel is a fine dining, Japanese inspired establishment that just earned a Michelin star.  It was kinda weird being there in my chalky climbing clothes, but the food was great.  Pictured is the post-dessert, dessert.  Yum!

We saw a well trained Belgian Malinois at the airport on the way home.  She was assisting the airport security and making friends with travelers.  This picture is mainly for our friend Patti, but it was a good reminder that we were about to be reunited with our Lucy!

Hey, I liked the name of this restaurant at the airport.  It is hard to know if the French guy is saying, "no,no,no" or "you're # 1."  I'll go with the latter.   

Finally on the plane and on our way home.  Conrad did just as well on this flight as he did on the flight out.  The white noise created by the airplane pretty much just put him to sleep.  

So that wraps things up for our 2013 trip to Fontainebleau.  Signing off until our next trip!


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Font 2013: Part 5

After a few days of rain, we were back out at the boulders.  Most areas were still wet and snowy, but it turned out that Éléphant (the area closest to our gite) was the driest.  Here is Michele on Le Surplomb du Lépreux.

Lander on a "down-climb" on the kids circuit.  One of the coolest things about Fontainebleau are the kids circuits.  The problems are on perfectly petite sized boulders, and of course many of them have slides for "down-climbs."

# BestSpotEver - Conrad on spotter duty for Nora.  OK, not really.  He was just chilling on the pad far, far away from the problem Nora was trying.  He was not in danger, so don't press send on that hate email!

Ingar on Duroxmanie at Cuvier Est.  For the Goodhews' last day in the forest, we showed them around Bas Cuvier, which is the spiritual home of Fontainbleau climbing.  It tends to be a bit crowded, but the sheer amount of quality climbing is astounding.  

To celebrate the end of the Goodhews' trip, we had a desert party at our gite.  Everyone came over and we stuffed ourselves with treats - including crepes made by Ingar.

Lyn attempting to hold a classic Fontainebleau sloper at Bois Rond.  The top-outs can be pretty rounded, with only the friction of the sandstone allowing you to gain the summit.

Lyn really wanted to complete an entire circuit, so here she sets off on the "debut" problem on the blue circuit at Bois Rond.  This circuit has 34 problems ranging from 4- to 5+.

Ingar on the blue circuit doing a cool funnel shaped climb that took more finesse than strength.  
Lyn finishing the blue circuit by headlamp.  Thomasina showed up later and joined Lyn for the end of the circuit.  Since I was taking a rest day, it was nice for Lyn to have a "partner in crime" for the final climbs as her skin and muscles were pretty sore at that point.  It was her third day on after all...

A panoramic shot of Mont Ussy.  Kevin and Ingar looking at yet another hard red circuit problem.  Most of the red circuit problems we tried here were very perplexing.

Nora on a fun highball orange circuit problem at Mont Ussy.  We were able to squeeze a bit of climbing in before the rains started again...


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Font 2013: Part 4

After two weeks of being in France, we finally decided Conrad was ready for the BIG CITY - Paris. (The actual truth: it was raining, so no climbing and Paris was the next best thing).  Here we are on one of the many bridges over the Seine.  Conrad was impressed and kept on sleeping. Grey skies and a few raindrops here and there set the scene for a classic wintry Paris day.

Here we are in front of the Palais de Justice on the  Île de la Cité.  

Across the way is Notre Dame that is currently celebrating its 850th anniversary.  We decided to go in and take a stroll since it had been over ten years since either of us had visited. It's mind blowing to imagine the work and years it took to build this beautiful cathedral.

When I took my one year of French at Smith, the class was based on a series of videos and audio tapes called "French in Action" with much of the "action" taking place in the Jardin du Luxembourg. I wanted Paul to take this photo for Becky to remind her of the fun times we had in class learning how to answer, quelle heure est-il?

On our way to dinner, we walked past the Place de la Bastille the memorial of where the Bastille stood until the French revolution.  

Paul also caught sight of the work of the famous urban artist "Space Invader" that might be familiar to anyone who saw the documentary "Exit Through the Gift Shop".  Seeing it was a little like spotting a celebrity.

Serendipitously, a climbing friend (Austin Holey) had recently moved to Paris and is cooking at a new restaurant, Bones, in the 11th arrondissement. We decided to head over and check it out and see Austin. It was great - a super cool spot with fantastic food and drinks.  It wouldn't have been out of place in the Bay Area, which is saying a lot for a restaurant in France.  This is the upstairs near the bathrooms where I found a quiet spot to feed Conrad with our woodland friends.  

We took the metro back to our car with friends Ingar, Nora, Michele and Lander who met us for dinner.  It was Conrad's first train ride!

Here we are in Cuisiniere - can you spot Conrad in the pile of stuff we've spread out on the forest floor?

Another classic Font top out problem, which Ingar made look really easy and everyone else flailed around on. Two bad slopers to a big pull to a crimp.  You can see one of our new French friends in red spotting Ingar.  Gregoire is one of  the Thibault clan - and as all of the Bay Area climbers who visit Font can attest, he is a really cool guy.  He's taught us all kinds of useful French words like, "mec" (dude), and has a totally infectious laugh.  It's nice to hang out with the locals.

Courtney on Mur de Cordier, a tricky problem that was a project of a couple people in our group.  On her first day back in Font in three years, Courtney sent her nemesis - after splitting a tip. What a re-introduction to tiny Font feet and techie climbing!

After a great day of climbing at Cuisiniere, the rain and snow reappeared forcing us to entertain ourselves away from the boulders.  Paul, Conrad and I decided to take a tour around the tiny town of Larchant where we are staying with the Goodhews.  
This is the Basilique that you might recognize from our 2005 blog posts.  

A cool plant growing on the side of a building in Larchant.  There are quite a few of these on the houses here.  I wonder if they have blossoms in the spring?

Evidence of the snow.  It's been really cold here and we've heard that it has been the worst winter weather-wise in years.  Not ideal for a climbing trip, but fortunately the baby has been keeping us busy on days that we aren't climbing and heck, we are so out of shape that it almost doesn't matter!  We did have a brief spell of 17 degree celsius weather a few days before this, which means there was a 20 degree swing within 48 hours or so!

- Lyn