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    Cycling in the forest of Fontainebleau and Barbizon

    Scenic Bike Ride to Barbizon

    Exploring Fontainebleau Forest and the Art Galleries

    Cycling the well-marked routes through the forest of Fontainebleau

    Barbizon, the Artists’ Village

    The village of Barbizon, less than an hour from Paris, offers a unique blend of natural beauty and artistic stimulation. Whenever you need to escape the hustle and bustle, a gentle bike ride through the fascinating Fontainebleau forest will help soothe your soul.

    Once a favourite retreat for the Kings of France on hunting trips in the nearby Fontainebleau forest, Barbizon has been a fountain of artistic inspiration throughout the 19th century. Images of everyday village life were captured by renowned artists such as Jean-Francois Millet, Theodore Rousseau, and Charles-Francis Daubigny. Van Gogh was also a fan of the Barbizon school of painting, often incorporating its style into his artwork.
    In the latter part of the 19th century, Barbizon continued to thrive and welcomed a new wave of Impressionist artists. Monet, Renoir, and Alfred Sisley joined the ranks of those who enjoyed the village’s scenic beauty and serene ambience.

    In this blog, we will take you on the complete journey – from renting a bike in Fontainebleau, to exploring the village art galleries. We will also take a trip to the iconic Elephant Rock and indulge in delectable treats at La Juxtaposition.

    Our adventure begins in the heart of Fontainebleau, where we rent bikes from La Reine de Amelie. Located in downtown Fontainebleau, this bicycle rental shop is the ideal starting point for your trip. The friendly staff provided us with carefully maintained bikes and ensured we were suitably prepared for our forest bike ride.

    Cycling Through the Scented Forest

    The Fontainebleau forest is a natural wonderland, popular with hikers, cyclists and nature enthusiasts. As we set off on our bikes along winding trails and through towering oak and beech trees, the sweet scent of pine created a revitalising aura. The well-marked cycling routes ensure that riders of all skill levels can easily explore the forest.

    After a leisurely bike ride through the forest, we arrived in Barbizon. Our first stop was the iconic Elephant Rock, an enormous boulder that stands guard at the entrance to the village.

    This natural marvel is popular with photographers, artists and nature enthusiasts and it is easy to see why. The rock’s unique shape and the dappled sunlight filtering through the trees, create a captivating scene.

    Photo credit: Tjaart Molenkamp on Wikiloc

    Exploring the Art Galleries

    As we wandered into Barbizon, we discovered the village’s vibrant main street, lined with charming stone houses and a profusion of art galleries. Today, thanks to Barbizon’s rich artistic history, the legacies of many artists populate galleries and museums dotted around the village.

    We spent several hours exploring the galleries, each filled with captivating artworks showcasing the beauty of the surrounding area. Barbizon’s art scene has something for every art lover – from traditional landscapes to modern interpretations.

    Indulging at La Juxtaposition

    Our day in Barbizon concludes on a sweet note at La Juxtaposition. This cosy gallery café is renowned for its heavenly outdoor terrace, delectable cakes and ice cream. We savoured slices of rich, velvety cake and delicious cheesecake and indulged in creamy scoops of locally sourced ice cream. The cafe’s quaint atmosphere, artistic decor and friendly staff made it the ideal spot to relax and reflect on our day’s adventures.

    Photo credit: La Juxtaposition on Facebook

    Making lasting memories

    A cycle ride to Barbizon through Fontainebleau Forest is a delightful journey, combining the pleasure of exploring the great outdoors with the appreciation of art and culture. Renting a bike, exploring the forest, visiting Elephant Rock, and immersing yourself in the art scene are experiences that will stay with you forever. Don’t forget to replenish your energy – and satisfy your sweet tooth! – at La Juxtaposition before bidding farewell to this beautiful village.

    Barbizon is a hidden gem offering a unique, enriching escape for travellers seeking a stimulating blend of nature and culture.

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