Let's Go for a Walk: The Forest of Fontainebleau
Updated: Sep 22, 2020
May is a month in France where there are so many holidays that it can be almost impossible to get any real work done. May 1st is International Workers' Day; May 8th is VE day; and Ascension usually falls somewhere in the month as well. When these holidays fall on a Tuesday or Thursday, any self-respecting French person will "faire le pont"--a term that literally means "make a bridge" but actually means "take a long weekend." When the stars align correctly, all of these holidays can fall close enough to a weekend to merit 3 4-day weekends in a single month. You can see how it's hard to get any work done with this schedule...
This penchant for long May weekends is also something important for travelers to keep in mind when planning a springtime trip to France. Especially on May 1st, nearly everything will be closed. Unlike the US where Labor Day has become a time for big sales and long days of work for hourly workers, the day is still a day of repose for most French laborers. Almost all museums in France--even in Paris--are closed on May 1st, and you may have trouble finding open boulangeries or supermarkets on the other holidays, especially if you're traveling outside the capital.
That being said, May is an incredible time for outside adventuring in France. My partner and I decided to "faire le pont" this weekend, using Ascension (which fell on a Thursday) to take advantage of the incredible weather and go on some fabulous long hikes. Yesterday, we went to Fontainebleau to explore the forest with one of my personal favorite guides (and friends), Anne Picard of Enjoy Fontainebleau. The following virtual visit is the first in a new series, "Let's Go for a Walk." These visits are less historically-charged than some of the others on this site. They're intended to provide a glimpse of some wonderful places that might not be at the top of a first-time (or even second- or third-time) traveler's list of places to see, but which definitely merit exploring--even if only virtually for now.
The usual caution: the primary venue for this content is the stories feature on my Instagram page. All of the virtual visits will be saved in my story highlights. The purpose of the blog posts is to allow a greater audience (especially those without social media accounts) to benefit from the same content.
With that in mind, let's go for a walk!
I hope you've enjoyed this little taste of the Fontainebleau forest. My goal with this new series of virtual tours is to introduce you, intrepid digital travelers, to things that you might not see on a trip to France, especially if it's your first time visiting the country. France is full of incredible history and beautiful sites, many of which are far from the usual tourist stops. As I explore new parts of the country, I'll share them with you, so that we can all enjoy their splendor, whether "en vrai" or digitally.