EXPERIENCE – One hour from Paris, the forest of Fontainebleau offers a dream setting for a gentle introduction to horseback riding, with the added bonus of yoga and cooking lessons. We tested.
The sun filters through the branches of the trees, causing a light haze to vibrate. The air is crisp and pungent at the start of spring in the forest of Fontainebleau. At the Gorges de Franchard, we are really at the heart of this area, which was once the hunting reserve of the kings of France. This haven of peace 55 kilometers from Paris is accessible by car, via the A6, and by train, the Fontainebleau-Avon station is located 40 minutes from the Gare de Lyon. This morning, a small group of 6 people meet in front of the Franchard Ecotourism center for a 1h30 session of hatha yoga with Alizée. This is followed by a cooking class, or more exactly “crusine”, that is to say preparations without cooking. We learn how to do without the oven to make cheesecake, chocolate cake or lemon pie. At lunch, same menu: fruit-based drinks, Buddha bowl, salad, made with fresh, local and seasonal products. This first morning is for everyone, riders or not. A good way to relieve the tensions of the week and get to know the participants of this weekend. After a quick coffee, head for the Ury equestrian center which is right next to the Novotel hotel, a 4-star hotel located in the heart of the forest, where you plan to spend the night.
On horseback along the royal paths of the forest of Fontainebleau
In this stable, Ludivine welcomes riders who will be, according to their level, divided into two groups, beginners and intermediate, that is to say already at ease in the 3 gaits, outdoors. Ludivine has always been horseback riding and is passionate about the forest of Fontainebleau, of which she knows all the secrets. It teaches the practice of horse riding and offers to enrich it with the discovery of the fauna, flora and heritage of the region. Cartoon, the bay gelding, Azzaro, with an Isabella coat, that is to say sand-colored with black horsehair and the ends of his limbs, and Ulysses, the piebald horse, quietly await their rider in the meadow. They are walking professionals, experienced in the exercise of hiking, with sure hoofs and calm temperaments. The equestrian center offers quality English upholstery, hiking type, suitable for equestrian tourism activities.
Once brushed and saddled, the horses leave for a two-hour ride along the wide sandy paths of the forest. Beginners can do this walk, entirely at a walk, to gain confidence and learn the basics of riding an equine. Average or experienced riders can trot or even gallop, depending on their level, along the bridle paths laid out in the time of François 1er and Louis XIV. Return to the stables around 4:30 p.m., where the horses are taken care of: they are brushed, cured and watered, the leathers cleaned and stored, so many things to know when you leave for several days on a trek. At the end of the afternoon, meet at the hotel to enjoy the heated outdoor swimming pool, the sauna, the spa treatments (on reservation, at an additional cost), the fitness room or simply relax. before dinner.
Second riding day
After a good night’s rest and a solid 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 of the Ecotourism center of the Gorges de Franchard, followed by lunch at the stables. In the afternoon, the riders find themselves once again in the saddle for a two-hour ride in the forest, around the Grand Parquet which was once the place of royal hunts, which has now become a site dedicated to major equestrian events. The opportunity, during a two-hour loop, to discover the famous rocks of the forest of Fontainebleau and to confirm what you have learned and the sensations of the day before. After a last snack taken at the stables, everyone leaves promising to share a next ride, now that the proof is made, the horse can be accessible to everyone, or almost!
Weekend on horseback in the forest of Fontainebleau, yoga & spa offered by Caval&go. 2 days full board without delivery or transfer, €480 in high season, €460 in low season. Next dates May 21 and 22, 2022. Possibility to participate in this weekend without horseback riding, a non-rider rate is available.