Vegan, healthy & active in Fontainebleau
Traveling vegan in some countries already is a challenge. If it then should, additionally, also be healthy and organic, it may become difficult. Also, I love being active & discovering places in a sporty and horizon-broadening way. With regards to all of these factors, Fontainebleau, which is located within an hour from Paris, got you pretty well covered.
Fontainebleau feels royal & very green
Fontainebleau is famous for its huge forests that are also talked about as the “green lung of Paris”. It is a favorite get-away for Parisians, also due to the Château de Fontainebleau, which once belonged to the kings of France. It is also the home of INSEAD, one of the world’s most elite business schools and of the École supérieure d’ingénieurs en informatique et génie des télécommunications (ESIGETEL), one of France’s grandes écoles. The inhabitants of Fontainebleau are called “Bellifontains”.
What to do in Fontainebleau
I love Fontainebleau for the many sporty activities one can do, in combination with the possibility of shopping organic and healthy foods. Also, it simply is a very beautiful city that has a lot to offer, from strolling around in the park of the castle, visiting the close-by villages, and spending active days in the forest. In the following, I listed you my favorite spots, activities and ideas that make an Eco-Warrior’s heart beat faster:
1 Shop Organic & Healthy Foods at Naturalia
For me, it is crucial, that I am able to shop organic or, at least, healthy food, wherever I am. Luckily, there is a very big organic store called Naturalia in the center of Fontainebleau, where you basically find everything, from plant-based milk, to wholewheat bread, groceries, etc. Also, there are two shops in the center of the city that sell fruits and vegetables. There is a market on the “Place de la République” – every day from Tuesday to Sunday, from 7 AM to 1 PM.
2 Eat-Out locally & deliciously at the “L’Air du Temps”
I discovered this gem of restaurant at my first visit to Fontainebleau and have ever since gone back whenever possible. At “L’Air du Temps” you find a small menu that mostly consists of a choice between meat and fish, but always also a delicious vegetarian choice. They often use local and organic ingredients & provide over a nice assortment of (also natural & organic) wines. The desserts are bomb, and of course very sweet. Here however, I am mostly open for a vegetarian (instead of vegan) and sugary compromise because hey: yolo!
3 Ride a Bike in the Forrest
I had a blast riding a bike in the forests of Fontainebleau! You just rent your mountain-bike at “We Are Wheelers” and directly start into the adventure. It is so much fun to discover the forests around Fontainebleau on a bike whilst at the same time getting a nice workout. Secret tip: after crossing some hilly forest, enjoy the wonderful landscape along the river “Seine” and make Samois-Sur-Seine a part of your trip.
4 Visit Samois-Sur-Seine and dream of living on a boat
As just mentioned above, making Samois-Sur-Seine a part of your trip, or even to the main attraction of your excursion is a very good idea. I was highly impressed and directly fell in love with this cute little village along the Seine. I loved to drive my bike along the Seine and watching all the many different boats that are tied up along the river board and being used as floating homes. Also, there are some little restaurants, and even a floating hotel, that invite for a drink or a little snack, which I however haven’t tested so far.
5 Visit Barbizon and dream about owning a magical villa
Another overly pretty village that struck me with its beauty is Barbizon, also called the village of the painters. The main street basically consists of galleries and lovers of art definitely have to pay this creative hotspot a visit. Also, I just spent an entire walk admiring the most beautiful villas, dreaming of one day owning one of these myself. Barbizon is leaping into forest and invites for a walk through the trees. In Summer time, Red Bull organizes a Boulder (Climbing) Championship in the surroundings of Barbizon and you may also try your climbing talent at the famous “Elephant Rock” that, admittedly, has quite some resemblance of a real elephant and that is one of the Boulder top spots.
6 Go for a Run in the Royal Park of the Chateau de Fontainebleau
I have never been to Versailles, but after running around in the park of the Chateau de Fontainebleau, I am not even sure if I have to. Apparently, this park (and the castle) was the favorite of many French kings and queens, and it has become my favorite too. It’s huge, and that is also why you can easily go for an extensive work-out in the garden and forest of the Chateau. Best thing: getting up early and running along the water canal, breathing the incredibly fresh morning air and listening to the birds greeting the new day. Priceless! Believe me. Attention: the garden of the Chateau only opens at 9AM. The rest of the park along the canal however is always open – and, in my opinion – anyways the more beautiful part to go for a (morning) run.
Of course, it’s also a very nice idea to just go for a walk, sit on a bench to read a book, take a little boat to row on one of the huge fountains, or enjoying a picnic along the canal. On warm and sunny days the canal becomes a very frequented but peaceful meeting point for a diverse public.
7 Climb some Rocks, go for a hike, or discover the forest on the back of a horse
Fontainebleau is definitely known for its perfect climbing spots. The region around is particularly famous for its concentrated bouldering areas. French alpine climbers practiced bouldering there since the 19th century. It remains today a prime climbing location. It is the biggest and most developed bouldering area in the world. I haven’t given it a try but it definitely is on my to do list for my next visit to Fontainebleau.
You may have guessed it! But the forrest around Fontainebleau also is just perfect for longer or shorter hikes. Slightly hilly, but never alpine, there is a huge network of different hiking paths, that may be adapted to the different sporty levels, etc. Have done it and will be doing it again for sure! Here you find 11 ideas for walks in the forest of Fontainebleau.
Also, Fontainebleau and its surroundings seem to be a hotspot for horseback riding. I haven’t gone into that topic so much but if you want to discover the beautiful forrest around the royal city, I am sure you’ll find some really cool offering. The Office de Tourism of Fontainebleau got you covered with more information.
8 A Royal Visit at the Chateau de Fontainebleau
You don’t see me running around and checking off all the tourist attractions wherever I am. On the contrary. I mostly rather prefer to discover the more un-touristy stuff and often even ignore the tourist go-tos. However! However, the castle of Fontainebleau is worth a visit, even for anti-touristy-attraction-travelers, because it simply is breathtaking. Absolutely immense and consisting of count-less different rooms that make you travel back in time and relive how the life of the queens and kings must have felt like. Do it!
So, I believe that with these tips you’ll spend some very nice, active, healthy and even vegan, days in Fontainebleau. I am sure that there is still more to discover in this city and I will be dating up this list whenever I depict some more lovely must-dos. For now, I already have one more point on my list for my next stay at Fontainebleau which is the Japanese restaurant called Fuumi. I heard it’s good!