Chamonix is a world-class area for mountaineering and rock climbing. The mountaineering routes includes Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Western Europe at 4,810 meters. The routes are known for their excellent, sheer walls of granite. This type of mountaineering often involves mixed climbing and moving over glaciers. It usually takes more than a day to complete these routes requiring an overnight stay in a hut at the bottom of the route.
However there are many pure rock routes in the Chamonix valley that can be completed in a single day, along with many sports routes and bouldering areas.
The forests of Fontainebleau, situated 90 km south of Paris, offer the best bouldering area in Europe. Unique circuits have been made that are color coded, and lead you from boulder problem to boulder problem, and there are literally thousands of them for every level of rock climber. The area is huge with many classic sites such as Trois Pignons, Bas Cuvier and L'Elephant among others.
The French Pyrenees offers an enormous range of rock climbing and mountaineering. Some of the sports climbing spots include Superpene, Pene Haute and Sinsat, while there is some excellent granite bouldering at Targasonne.
Summer is the time for most Alpine climbs. Mid-June through mid-September is the perfect time to find yourself high in the Alps with tremendous glaciers and big mountain views around you. Autumn and spring are the best times for limestone cragging in southern France or elsewhere in the Mediterranean.