Bourron-Marlotte to Nemours via Villiers-sous-Grez, the Dame Jouanne rocks and Larchant

On August 25th, we took the train from Moret, near where we live, to Bourron-Marlotte, two stops along the line. From the station in Bourron, we passed through a fairly wild section of the forest, with lots of fallen trees, that made a nice change from other carefully managed areas further north. After the small village of Villiers-sous-Grez, where the bakery must be pretty good judging by the line outside, and the very pretty hamlet of Busseau (water available near the old lavoir), the flat terrain turned hillier as we climbed to the top of the spectacular Dame Jouanne rock formation with its terrific views over Larchant and the forest. Near the following rock formation, l’Elephant, a group of German kids were on a bouldering introductory course and seemed to be having a great time on the different rocks. Just before Larchant, we feasted on wild grapes from a vine that had grown around the branches of an oak tree. The ruined Saint Mathurin basilica in Larchant is an amazing sight in such a small village. Damaged during the French wars of religion in the second half of the 16th century, it has since suffered from storm damage with the collapse of a large section of its tower in 1675. In its half-ruined state (one intact section is still used as a church), it is a truly spectacular building. After Larchant, apart from a couple of climbs up to other rock formations, the hike to the station in Nemours was flat, boring and a little tiring as it was mostly on sandy terrain. And with the temperature hitting 28°C that afternoon, we were dismayed to find that there isn’t a single café or bar at the station in Nemours, prompting a stop at the local supermarket in Moret after collecting the car to pick up beers and juices.

All in all, a great, fairly long hike (24 km), easily doable by train from Paris, that explores a huge section of the southern Fontainebleau Forest.

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