We recently returned from a very nice week spent in one of my favourite places in world: Fontainebleau in France. I’ve lost count how many times we visited the beautiful forest, but needless to say it’s always great to get over there. This trip was a little different however, being that it was our first trip to Font with Noah, and his first trip abroad! We thought that Font would be a good place to go first to test out what it would be like travelling with a baby; it’s not too far away and there’s a few different options available to us to get there. In the end, we opted to take the EuroStar and rent a car in Paris over the more straight forward drive-from-London approach. I think it was a good choice in the end as it was much quicker and surprisingly straight forward. It did mean a few short stints of having to carry all our stuff however, which meant that we needed to be ruthless and travel light (or as light as you can with a child in tow). I’d been toying with the idea of taking a DSLR and flashes (like I’ve done for climbing trips in the past, but this luggage restriction made the decision for me: I filled the bottom of my bag with my Canon AE-1, my SX-70 and a various rolls of film and that was it! It actually felt pretty liberating to not be lugging a load of digital equipment with me (and of course all the subsequent chargers and cables that go along with it).
As it turned out, we didn’t (as possibly quite naively expected from me) climb as much as we thought. Noah likes to be up and about looking at things, which is great but does mean that attentions are often spent keeping him entertained. Access to certain crags with buggies and things were a bit of an issue as well which meant we limited (although there’s still an abundance) to those areas with closer and flatter walk ins. It was nice to just have the two small cameras tucked away neatly in my bag with plenty of space for other things, and I still managed to get lot of shots I was really happy with. Shooting on film made me look at the forest differently as well, and I found myself shooting less climbing shots (climbing photography is an EXCELLENT way of rattling through memory cards so isn’t best suited to shooting film, especially with a manual wind on) and more little details here and there. We also had more time to explore other parts of the area that usually get overlooked (like the Château de Fontainebleau for example).
All in all it was a great holiday. Trips to Fontainebleau aren’t just about climbing; just getting away from London and getting out into the forest is enough to help recharge the batteries and of course all the amazing wine and cheese helps as well. It proved to us that we can still (within reason) go abroad with Noah. He seemed to enjoy it and hopefully things should only get easier as he can start to amuse himself and even do some climbing as well when he gets a little older. Here’s a selection of some of my favourite photos from the week. I’m missing it there already. Thanks to Smalls, Christian and Alice for being amazing and fun housemates and extra thanks to Christian as well for the rolls of Fuji Superia 35mm that he kindly donated to my cause!