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Rock Climbing in France: Locations and Descriptions of 279 Crags

Rock Climbing in France: Locations and Descriptions of 279 Crags. Jean-Pierre Bouvier. Diadem Books, London, 1984. 72 pages, maps. £4.95.

My grandmother (and probably yours too) always said, “There’s a place for everything and everything in its place.” The same can be said for books: “There’s a reason for books and every book has its reason.”

With Rock Climbing in France, which briefly describes 279 different cliffs, I looked high and low for its reason to claim a place in an American or British climber’s library. Perhaps someone other than French locals really wants to know where Rocher d’Octon (a 15-meter-high, green, igneous cliff that’s half submerged) is. But I don’t. When in France, I went to the classic climbing areas such as Boux, Sainte Victoire and the Verdon. Only if you have done these and other big crags and want to explore the small outcrops in the far comers of France could this book be for you. For the popular crags, Climbing and Mountain will get you there just as well. And you can spend the price of the book on le vin, les dames et la chanson.

Todd Swain