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I would like to take my children to a one-day, one-night hiking somewhere around Paris, within ~1-1.5 hour drive from Versailles.

This would be a first-time for them (9 and 12 yo) so I am looking for the Graal: beautiful place but not too tough, for about 4 hours walk + overnight camping in a tent in the wild + 2 hours walk back (in a loop, to get back to the car).

A rough indication of the place would be perfect (I am not looking for the exact path, though suggestions are welcome).

As an indication, How Far Can I Travel shows the following maps at 1 (dark blue) and 1.5 hours (light blue) - assuming 60 km/h average (which is a bit too much for the region).

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The woods of Fontainebleau and the one of Chantilly are great hicking sites. Here are additional pieces of information:

  • camping overnigh in the woods of Fontainebleau is not allowed by the Office National des Forêts (ONF, in charge of wood management). According to the website of ONF, there are particular places where camping is allowed:
    • a campsite Petit Barbeau, near Samois-sur-Seine, near the Seine river
    • at the woodhouse "maison forestière" near Bois-le-Roi (Latitude: 48.458121 | Longitude: 2.700491)
    • at the parking of the Great Valley "parking de la Grande Vallée" (places for tents, water and toilets) near Bourron-Marlotte (Latitude: 48.354507 | Longitude: 2.717893)

These sites are near roads, it may not be wild enough for you... The site near Bourron-Marlotte seems like a good option. First, make sure it is still posible: email of ONF there

There are lots of places and circuits to visit in the wood of Fontainebleau: Go to les Gorges de Franchard if you have 3 hours to spend: it is a very beautiful place, featuring stones of various shapes.

See the following link for a relief map of the area:

Regarding the forest of Chantilly, the best way to go is to ask the ONF: you will find their e-mail there

Regarding the forest of Rambouillet, there is a campsite right next to the forest. This forest is rather flat, featuring long straigh alleys...

Here is a link to the hunting days in Seine-et-Marne, it is not published yet for this year.

Major risks in these woods are... roads! Cars are really fast on these roads and people do not always respect the speed limits! Beware of hunters and horses!

Don't forget to bring a map of the area, a cell phone in case of problem (but the network it is not always available...) and water... A compass could be a plus.

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The most beautiful forests around Paris (within 1 to 1.5h) are in :

  • Chantilly
  • Fontainebleau
  • Meudon
  • Rambouillet
  • Saint Germain en Laye

Now, I would suggest you to take a map of the forest with you as you could quickly get lost.

Depending on the places, camping in the wild might not be authorized by local authorities. There are dedicated areas for camping in a lot of places. And then camping in the middle of the forest might not be safe enough to allow it like that...

If you want to camp in the wild, the best might be to find a private owner that would authorize you to do so on his property.

Few other points :

  • avoid hunting periods as some hunters can easily think you are animals and shot you... I know this sounds strange but this happens every year...
  • have a fully charged phone with you (it is probably obvious but better tell you)

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