Île-de-France: forest hikes

No need to go far to get a change of scenery… The forests of Île-de-France are steeped in the prayers of monks, the hunting of kings, the dreams of the Romantics and the landscapes of painters. Prepare a good picnic, put on your walking shoes, call your friends: here are 10 ideas for easy circuit hikes, to practice all year round.

Fontainebleau forest: the gorges of Franchard

4 h, 12 km, white-red, blue markings, from the Faisanderie car park (D 409), exit west of Fontainebleau.

This journey had tired Alfred de Musset in 1833, during a romantic night out, but which was unsuccessful, with George Sand. The hectic George got into the habit of taking her lovers there, including the engraver Manceau, in 1856: "A good walk to get there, it's magnificent. We are frolicking on the sand ..." she wrote .

Under the oaks and Scots pines, join the Houx crossroads and bypass the Hermitage. Blue trail 7 leads up a cobbled staircase to the rocky chaos of Franchard. Take the road to the monastery then trail 7-8 to trail 8 and its viewpoint.

After the rock of Long-Tubular and a panorama, go down to the Pheasantry.

. Topoguide La Seine-et-Marne on foot, ed. FFRP, 2012

. Seine-et-Marne Departmental Tourism Committee

Rambouillet forest: the rocks of Angennes

3 h, 12 km, yellow, white-red markings, from the Pecqueuse post, 3 km north-west of Poigny-la-Forêt, 8 km from Rambouillet.

The Marquise de Rambouillet, wife of the Lord of Angennes under François Ier, has put the beauties of the forest into quatrains. No doubt the current climbers no longer remember it ...

Take King's road, rectilinear as it should be on this former royal hunting estate, where the forest crossroads mark the crossing of the alleys, and not the traffic jams.

Exceed the King's pond and crossroads of the King of Rome to reach the rocky sandstone chaos ofAngennes. Under the oaks, the unicorn bridge et the pond Neuf, lost in the mist, still resound with the tumult of the ancient hallalis. The Gros-Buisson crossroads leads back to the Pecqueuse post.

. Topoguide Les Yvelines à pied, ed. FFRP, 2015

- Rambouillet tourist office

Chevreuse forest: in the footsteps of Racine

3 h, 8 km, yellow, white-blue markings, from the church of Milon-la-Chapelle, 3 km north of Chevreuse (D 46).

"That these old kingdoms of shadows / These great woods, these dark forests / Hiding charms and attractions / Under their dark foliage".

Jean Racine was only 16 years old in 1655, when he went to see his Jansenist relative in the abbey of Port-Royal-des-Champs. His odes engraved on old terminals of the Touring-Club-de-France punctuate his journeys.

Since Milon-la-chapel, climb to the Madeleine wood. The circuit crosses the one leading to Chevreuse castle, headquarters of the regional natural park (2 hours round trip).

Go down by Jean Racine road in the Rhodon Valley and mill of Fauveau. Going beyond the Beauregard estate, enter the Haute-Tasse wood, then return to Milon-la-Chapelle.

. Topoguide Les Yvelines à pied, ed. FFRP, 2011

Forêt de Marly: a crazy ride

3:45, 15 km, white-red, yellow-red, yellow markings from the Saint-Nom-la-Bretèche SNCF station.

The remarkable oaks of the forest of Marly are worthy of monuments of the past. From the station, go to the Saint-Michel cross, the hunter stars and Retz oak.

Plan the opening hours to visit the Truncated Column, fascinating madness of the Sieur de Monville, friend of Du Barry in the XNUMXth century. Facing the dark openings of this fluted and white column on the forest floor, baroque constructions, or factories, decorate the Retz Desert, a splendid Anglo-Chinese garden created in the XNUMXth century.

Bypass the Joyenval golf course towards Chambourcy and the André Derain workshop. The Green Belt passes through the forest in front of the remains of Montjoie castle, to find the station.

. Topoguide Les Yvelines à pied, ed. FFRP, 2011

Verrières forest: flowers and fortifications

2 h 30, 10 km, white-red, yellow markings, from the Igny RER C station in Verrières-le-Buisson.

La Verrières national forest benefits from the freshness of the rural valley of the Bièvre. Very wooded, this relief near Paris was marked by wars, of which a few batteries from 1875 remain.

The Vilmorin horticultural establishments and their collections have safeguarded this green environment, as evidenced by the municipal exhibitions and the very interesting arboretum of the House of Trees and Birds in Verrières.

Since the Igny station, forest paths and crossroads follow one another, noblesse oblige, to walk around this 600 hectare forest with different points of view on the south of the Paris basin.

. Topoguide L'Essonne à pied, ed. FFRP 2011

. Essonne Departmental Tourism Committee

Notre-Dame forest: Marmousets circuit

3 h, 9 km, yellow, white-red markings, from the Marmousets area, near Queue-en-Brie (N4).

Do not be afraid of the marmosets, those devilish little leprechauns who haunt, it seems, the Notre-Dame forest.

From the castle (XNUMXth century) which bears their name and its glacier, continue by various forest forks, then by the Daddy's hut, until Dauphin crossroads.

If a few Scottish Highland cows appear in the wetlands, it is not a mirage. They serve as mowers for wasteland. The forest is fragile, respect the small world of ants, praying mantises and crickets from Italy, butterflies and dragonflies ...

Green frogs and different species of pink, mauve and white heather are on the menu on this easy walk that leads back to the parking lot.

. Topoguide Val-de-Marne, ed. FFRP 2002

. Val-de-Marne Departmental Tourism Committee

Montmorency forest: Bouffémont circuit

3 h 30, 13,5 km, yellow markings, from the parking lot of the gymnasium of Bouffémont (D 909).

Enter the Montmorency forest by the forest road of Allu ditches. Join the pond hunting castle. Built in the XNUMXth century by the Constable of Montmorency, the fortress served as a garrison during the Hundred Years War. Hunting meeting under François Ier, this domain, acquired by the State, allows you to discover ecology and forestry work.

Ferns, or royal osmondes, and blood geraniums line the route des Fonds. The waters of the Sainte-Radegonde fountain, dedicated to the wife of King Clotaire I (XNUMXth century), were considered to cure skin diseases.

Resume eastward Route du Faîte, at the crossroads of Moulin de Chauvry. That of the Baroness leads back to the north and Bouffémont.

. Topoguide Le Val-d'Oise on foot, ed. FFRP, 2010

. Val d'Oise Departmental Tourism Committee

Bois de Vincennes (Paris, Val-de-Marne)

2 h 30, 10 km, white-red, yellow-red, yellow markings. From Château de Vincennes metro station (line 1, exits 4 and 6).

Deer and wild boar, game abounded in wood from Vincennes in the middle Ages. The hunting lodge of King Louis VII will become the imposing castle that we know, surrounded by 995 hectares of forest.

More democratically, since the metro Château de Vincennes, follow the gate of the Fort-Neuf garden to the edge of the wood. Via avenue du Tremblay and the Dames and Grand-Prieur roads, join the Minimes lake. Its current layout dates back to the engineer Alphand, under the Second Empire. Go past the Circulaire road and follow the curious Garden Tropical Agronomy created for the colonial exhibition of 1907. The Vietnamese esplanade of Dinh, the Khmer bridge and the Indochinese temple are not the least of its curiosities.

Avenue de la Belle-Gabrielle and the Carrefour de Beauté lead to school from Breuil founded in 1867 to train gardeners. The magnificent arboretum, with 1 trees, is open to the public. Along the Gravelle plateau towards the lake and back down through a grove of tall Lebanese cedars towards the Ferme de Paris.

Note the aerial roots, or pneumatophores, of bald cypress trees. The route de la Demi-Lune and the view of the castle from the Allée Royale lead back to the Saint-Louis esplanade and the metro.    

 Parks, gardens and woods of Paris on foot, ed. FFRP, 2011

Forest of Armainvilliers (Seine-et-Marne)

4 h, 17 km, green markings. From Ozoir-la-Ferrière station.

 At the heart of the vast forest of Brie, la national forest of Armainvilliers covers 1 hectares. Its former owners, the Orléans family, the Péreire bankers and the Baron de Rothschild, explain the beauty and age of the trees in the oak grove.

The poor limestone soil, interspersed with ponds and rûs, requires a hydraulic network favorable to the fauna, flora and mushrooms in season. Deer and wild boar, martens and martens, rare birds and insects are protected, among others, by the National Forestry Office.

Since Ozoir-la-Ferriere, enter the undergrowth. The forest roads of Charbonniers and Usuelles on the left, lead to the Ferrandière crossroads and to Pontcarré. Walk along the village to Ferrières Park. The Planchette route leads to the Planchette pond where it is not uncommon to observe shorebirds.

Reach the Trois-Mares crossroads in the southwest. The roads of Mare-du-Cygne and des Étangs join the crossroads of Rosières.

The return is from the Belle-Croix crossing, on the edge of the Ozoir forest.

 Seine-et-Marne on foot, ed. FFRP, 2012

Rosny Forest (Yvelines)

5 h, 18 km, white-red, yellow markings. From Apremont, hamlet of Perdreauville, 1,5 km south of Rosny-sur-Seine (station).

 Dominating the slopes of Mantois, the Rosny regional forest (1 hectares) was the property of Sully, Minister of Henri IV.

The variety of its soils is the source of its botanical wealth, classified as a ZNIEFF natural area. Orchids, deer and more than 60 species of birds are to be noticed around its ponds. The Bois-gentil with pink flowers is protected there. The Mademoiselle oak, whose trunk reaches 4,20 meters in circumference, commemorates the meeting of the king and Sully, wounded after the battle of Ivry.

 Climb towards the forest to reach the edge of the plateau and its panorama. The slopes follow one another through the crossroads of the old royal hunts to reach the Clos-Brocard, facing the Seine.

Not far away, the Châtillon kiosk, dating from the 1900 Universal Exhibition. Go back down towards Apremont.

 The Yvelines on foot, ed. FFRP, 2014


Warning ! The descriptions of the hikes in the article are indicative. They cannot replace the IGN map or the topoguide.

Consult our Île-de-France online guide

Sites of the departmental tourism committees of Essonne, Val d'Oise, Val-de-Marne, Yvelines and Seine-et-Marne.

Site of the Ile-de-France regional tourism committee

Site of the Yvelines hiking committee

Getting around Île-de-France with the Transilien

Audio Video Île-de-France: forest hikes
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