Into the Woods: Explore 5 of France’s Oldest Forests

Into the Woods: Explore 5 of France’s Oldest Forests

Venture off the beaten path and immerse yourself in France’s ancient woodlands. In honour of the International Day of Forests on March 21st, we set out to explore five of France’s most notable forests, known for their age, their historical role or their ecological significance.

1. Forêt de Fontainebleau

Just a stone’s throw away from the bustling streets of Paris lies the magical Fontainebleau Forest. Step into a realm where centuries-old oak and beech trees whisper tales of royal hunts and medieval mysteries. Indeed, Fontainebleau is one of the oldest hunting grounds for French royalty. A haven for rock climbers and nature enthusiasts alike, Fontainebleau offers not only historical richness but also breathtaking landscapes and hidden rock formations. Don’t miss the iconic Elephant rocks and the hauntingly beautiful Trois Pignons area, where nature and history converge in perfect harmony.

Want to go further? Read our immersive and animated story: Picture-Perfect: the Artisitc Influence of the Riverside Villages Around Fontainebleau

2. Forêt de Compiègne

North of the French capital, the Compiègne Forest unfolds like a living tapestry of history. As another of the favourite hunting grounds of French monarchs, this woodland has witnessed the rise and fall of empires. Explore the stunning Clairière de l’Armistice, where the Armistice of 1918 was signed, ending World War I. Take a stroll along the tranquil pathways that wind through ancient oaks and immerse yourself in the echoes of a bygone era.

3. Forêt de Tronçais

Central France boasts the majestic Tronçais Forest, a hidden gem in the north of the Allier, renowned for its stately oak trees. Wander through this living testament to sustainable forest management, a practice dating back to the reign of Louis XIV when Tronçais supplied timber for the French navy. A serene retreat for nature lovers and history buffs alike.


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4. Forêt de Bercé

Nestled in the picturesque Pays de la Loire region, Bercé Forest beckons with its ancient oak trees, some of which have stood tall for centuries – their wood is particularly sought-after for barrel-making. Picturesque valleys and landscapes structured by a network of forest roads which meet at star-shaped intersections create a natural and cultural heritage of great value. Bercé Forest is a sanctuary where nature unfolds its beauty at a leisurely pace.

5. Forêt d’Orient

In eastern France, the Forêt d’Orient is a hidden treasure waiting to be explored. Known for its diverse ecosystems and pristine lakes, this ancient woodland offers a unique blend of nature and history, as it was owned by the Ducs de Champagne. Explore the picturesque shores of Lake Temple and Lake Orient, where tranquility reigns supreme. The forest’s rich biodiversity and well-preserved landscapes make it a haven for birdwatchers, hikers, and those seeking a serene escape from the modern world.


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A post shared by Jordi Grande (@jgnaturalpix)

Lead photo credit : Fontainebleau forest © shutterstock

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