Fontainebleau forest: Croix du Calvaire, Denecourt Tower and Sponge Rock

A Avon walk posted on 08/12/13 by hunza. Update : 19/03/19

It is a short, relatively easy circuit exploring some curiosities of the forest of Fontainebleau around the Avon SNCF train station, namely the views over the Croix du Calvaire, the Sponge Rock, Denecourt Tower and fountains. One could also call it the fountain circuit.

Technical sheet
Calculated time Calculated time: 2h20[?]
Distance Distance : 7.29km
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 111m
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 113m
Highest point Highest point : 158m
Lowest point Lowest point : 78m
Easy Difficulty : Easy
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Area Area : Forest of Fontainebleau
Location Location : Avon (77210)
Starting point Starting point : N 48.416473° / E 2.726113°
Map IGN Map (Click to buy) : Ref. M2417OT
Download : -

Description

The circuit follows the Denecourt-Colinet trail N°2 (blue markings).

SNCF train station - Croix du Calvaire = 1.5 km

At the train station’s square, first head towards the station buffet and then go up the road with the drop-off point 30 away to take the second staircase to access Avenue Franklin Roosevelt. Cross at the pedestrian crossing which is opposite the cafe “Le Terminus” and continue straight ahead. 15 metres further on, cross Rue de la Bonne Dame and take path N°2, which begins just to the right of the beginning of Route de la Reine Amélie. It climbs into the forest following the contours of the the old Avon pool. It cuts Route de la Reine Amélie 2 times in the rise at a sharp bend hairpin. This is also where cars are forced to stop because the forest road is blocked. Just after the dirt car park, the trail passes near a large rock on which has been affixed a Nemorosa medallion then continues as an “overhang”. 200 metres further on (1), veer to the left towards the Croix du Calvaire. Cross back over Route de la Reine Amélie back to first path in the middle of some pretty rocks and into the undergrowth to the viewpoint for Croix de Calvaire (2).

Croix du Calvaire – Denecourt Tower= 2.5 km

Leave the cross behind to follow the paved road for about ten metres and then, just after the bench, take the trail on the left. The route quickly leads close to a large rocky “shelter”, the Abri du Calvaire, although access is not permitted because it threatens to collapse. Then the path heads into a little rocky maze leading to the exit where you turn right to go up on the plateau at the lookout point over the Ravine. Another fork Stay on path N°2. It leaves towards the north - north-east to Denecourt Tower. As far as the junction with Route de la Butte à Gay, it is almost straight and flat as it follows Route du Calvaire which is the extension of the Route de la Reine Amélie. We cross the intersection (3) and the path starts to descend until it reaches the Jean Bart crossroads where we meet the eponymous road, also closed to cars. On the other side the path leads up to join the trail from the Cassepot Rock, and reaches the top of the hill through large blocks of sandstone. Head on to Denecourt Tower (4). Climb on up to get an interesting view over the Seine valley.

Denecourt Tower- Sponge Rock = 4 km

We leave the tour continuing on path N°2 towards the "fountains" (fontaines) and the railway station. The path first turns to the north among the rocks before turning westward down the hill to reach the crossroads of the Denecourt Tower (5). Here, the paved access road to the tower joins Route Jean Bart road, both of which are closed to traffic. Cross the intersection and follow the path that remains virtually flat for 600 m before climbing in 2 loops up the plateau edge. The trail winds along here for a time. From time to time, you might notice traces of ancient quarry works that operated on the sandstone (paving, small trenches, piles of stones, etc...). The first "fountain" that you will come across (6) is on your right, in the hollow of a rock (Fountain of the Touring Club of France). Less than 80 metres away is the “Desiree fountain" with benches and a table in sandstone installed in front of it. 400 metres further on, in the hollow of a small sandstone wall along which the trail runs, the Dorly Fountain can be accessed by a small staircase. The path then deviates from the shelf edge to cross Route Baudrillard. It runs through the middle of the ferns and reaches Isabelle fountain, the last of the hike. The path then turns left to reach a clearing where the Sponge Rock (7) is located.

Sponge Rock - SNCF train station = 1 km

From there, you reach the station still following the path N°2, which is close to the Queen Amelie road while settling back on the shelf edges. Finally, come to the outbound path (1) to reach the Croix du Calvaire. Then return to the rock with the Némorosa medallion and the descent to the train station by the old pool.

A good walk.

Waypoints :
D/A : km 0 - alt. km 0 - Gare de Fontainebleau-Avon
1 : km 0.69 - alt. km 0.69
2 : km 1.49 - alt. km 1.49 - Croix du Calvaire (Fontainebleau)
3 : km 2.92 - alt. km 2.92
4 : km 3.94 - alt. km 3.94 - Tour Dénécourt
5 : km 4.43 - alt. km 4.43
6 : km 5.52 - alt. km 5.52
7 : km 6.32 - alt. km 6.32
D/A : km 7.29 - alt. km 7.29 - Gare de Fontainebleau-Avon

Useful Information

A good walk.
Advice: Take the "Forest of Fontainebleau and the Three Gables" IGN map with you on the hike 1: 25000 There is also a "guide to walking trails in the forest of Fontainebleau” that covers all Denecourt-Colinet trails with blue markings and provides descriptions.

We advise taking IGN maps with you on this walk. Click here to buy : M2417OT.

Hikideas and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

During the walk or to do/see around

During the hike:

  • Croix du Calvaire. This cross was raised in 1838 at the site of 3 crosses - hence the name Calvaire - which had been brought down several years earlier. Nice view of Avon and a part of Fontainebleau.
  • Denecourt tower. The first tower was built in 1851 but it collapsed and was later rebuilt. At the top, a viewfinder indicates an altitude of 130 m.
  • Fountains, which are the result of the runoff of surface water: Touring Club of France fountain, made in 1901 by Colinet; Desiree fountain, discovered in 1837 and completed by Denecourt in 1852. Dorly fountain, built by Denecourt in 1852; Isabelle fountain, built in 1866 by Denecourt.
  • Sponge Rock, discovered in 1866 by Denecourt: this curiosity has long been a goal for hikers, a watering hole that existed there until 1940.

Not on the hike itself: Visit the castle and take a walk in the park.

Opinions and comments

Average

Global average : 4.45/5
Number of opinions : 29
Description quality : 4.41/5
Routemap quality : 4.37/5
Walk interest : 4.59/5


Walker
on Mon 28 May 2018 16:36:16 CEST

Global average : 4 / 5

Date of walk : 26/05/18
Description quality : Average
Routemap quality : Good
Walk interest : Very good

I enjoyed this walk, my first using Hikideas. It was easy to find the initial trail. Some parts of the trail were tricky, but we managed. Unfortunately, however, we lost the trail after the tower, here :

"Denecourt Tower- Sponge Rock = 4 km We leave the tour continuing on the path N°2 towards the "fountains" and the railway station. The path first turns to the north among the rocks before turning westward down the hill to reach the crossroads of the Denecourt Tower (5). ..."

This meant that we made it back to the SNCF station but by using a main forest trail, confirming directions from bicyclists, and then walking through the streets of the town. No fountains. But perhaps we were too tired and inexperienced and others fare better.

It was a great walk.


Moderator hiker
on Sat 26 May 2018 08:53:32 CEST

Thank you for your feedback. If you have any suggestions on how we can improve the description of the turn back point, please let us know


Walker
on Wed 23 May 2018 11:17:45 CEST

Global average : 4.67 / 5

Date of walk : 18/05/18
Description quality : Very good
Routemap quality : Good
Walk interest : Very good

Nice introduction to F Forest. Wonderful views and interesting stops. The turn back moment could be described a bit better - there are few options on route from the Tower

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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.