EXPERIENCE – An hour from Paris, the forest of Fontainebleau offers a fabulous setting to learn how to ride gently, with the added bonus of yoga and cooking classes. We have tested.
The sun seeps through the branches of the trees, making the light haze vibrate. The air in early spring in the forest of Fontainebleau is crisp and pungent. In the Franchard Gorge, we are truly in the heart of this area, which was once the hunting grounds of the kings of France. This haven of tranquility, 55 km from Paris, can be reached by car, motorway A6 and train. Fontainebleau-Avon station is 40 minutes from Gare de Lyon. This morning a small group of 6 people gather in front of the Franchard Ecotourism Center for a 1 hour 30 minute hatha yoga session with Alize. This is followed by a culinary master class, or, more precisely, “kruzin”, that is, cooking without cooking. Learn how to do without an oven to make cheesecake, chocolate cake or lemon tart. At lunch, the same menu: fruit drinks, a bowl of Buddha, a salad made from fresh local and seasonal products. This is the first morning for everyone, riders or not. A good way to relieve the tension of the week and get to know the participants of this weekend. After a quick coffee, head to the Uri Equestrian Center which is next to the Novotel, a 4-star hotel nestled in the heart of the forest where you plan to spend the night.
On horseback through the royal paths of the Forest of Fontainebleau
In this stable, Ludivine welcomes riders who, depending on their level, will be divided into two groups: beginners and intermediate, i.e. already confident in 3 gaits outdoors. Ludivine has always been fond of horseback riding and is fascinated by the forest of Fontainebleau, about which she knows all the secrets. He teaches the practice of riding and proposes to enrich it with the discovery of the fauna, flora and heritage of the region. A caricature, a bay gelding, Azzaro in Isabella’s fur coat, that is, sand-colored with black horse hair and ends of the limbs, and Ulysses, a piebald horse, are quietly waiting for their rider in the meadow. They are professional walkers, experienced hikers, with confident hooves and a calm temperament. The equestrian center offers quality English camping upholstery suitable for equestrian tourism.
After cleaning and saddling their horses, they set off on a two-hour walk along the wide sandy paths of the forest. Beginners can do this walk completely on the go to gain confidence and learn the basics of riding. Intermediate or experienced riders will be able to trot or even gallop, depending on their level, along the bridle paths laid out during the time of Francis I and Louis XIV. Return to the stable around 4:30 pm where the horses are taken care of: they are cleaned, treated and watered, the skins are cleaned and stored, so there is a lot to know when you go hiking for a few days. At the end of the day, meet up at the hotel to enjoy the heated outdoor pool, sauna, spa treatments (advance booking at an additional cost), gym or simply relaxing before dinner.
Second day of skiing
After a good night’s rest and a hearty breakfast, the riders meet for a meditation session, for those who wish, in the meadow next to the stables, weather permitting, under the benevolent gaze of the horses. Time to reconnect with nature. Then go for a yoga class in one of the rooms at the Franchard Gorge Ecotourism Centre, followed by lunch in the stables. In the afternoon, riders are back in the saddle for a two-hour ride through the woods around the Great Park, once the site of royal hunts and now a site dedicated to major equestrian events. An opportunity during a two-hour loop to discover the famous cliffs of the Forest of Fontainebleau and confirm what you have learned and felt the day before. After the last snack in the stable, everyone leaves, promising to share the next ride, now that the proof is done, the horse can be available to everyone, or almost everyone!
Weekend horseback riding in the forest of Fontainebleau, yoga and spa by Caval&go. 2 days full board without delivery and transfer, 480€ in high season, 460€ in low season. The next dates are 21 and 22 May 2022. It is possible to participate this weekend without riding, a rate without a rider is available.