A climbers guide to French viennoiseries.

If you walk into any given rock gym in France, do not be surprised to see people devouring their preferred French pastry before they begin their long training or climbing session. I can tell you that during my time in France, I have had the luxury of seeing some incredible climbing performances after witnessing people devour an absurd amount of French viennoiseries before training. For example, I have witnessed climbers takedown pastries like the heavy-duty Brioche Suisse, which is a brioche dough or croissant dough rolled out and then folded around vanilla pastry cream…

Quebec City, Rock Climbing, Salt Lake City, France, and Blogging.

My story starts in Quebec City, Canada, where I was born. My mother was also born in Quebec City Canada and my Father from France, so I grew up naturally speaking French at home. As a young kid, I constantly moved around the world for my parents’ work. Living in places like Africa and Thailand was amazing but my parents who had been immersed in climbing in their young adult life began to miss the adventures that the mountains provided.

Second place finish at my first climbing competition at a…

Comparing French and American food cultures.

Sampling classic French dishes.

My host family and I enjoying a classic French dinner. On the menu: Hachi Parmentier de canard

French and American food cultures are so different on so many levels. Although the French diet is high in fat, French people typically have lower rates of cardiovascular or other diseases associated with eating a high-fat diet compared to Americans. People call this the “French Paradox.” The basic explanation for why the French have a lower obesity rate than Americans is that they consume fewer calories and exercise more. In France, people don’t constantly snack, unless it’s for “L’apéro” (pre-dinner drink or finger food,) the portion sizes are smaller, and French people are more likely to exercise by walking or biking when they run errands.

When it comes down to attitudes of eating and food, French people are less likely to fear and self-blame due to a food’s nutritional or caloric content than an American. French people rather appreciate sitting down and take the time to savor the food as a social experience. The difference in American food culture can also be because of the lack of culinary identity, and distinctive national cuisine to guide American’s decisions on what to make and eat. With no distinctive national cuisine, Americans do not feel patriotic about their food therefore they lack structure and balance with each meal. Instead, the mentality leans towards what can be cooked for a larger quantity, lower cost, timely convenience, and greater choices. As innovations and customs continue to evolve, the future of American and French food culture and the state of health will also continue to change.

Empty Street in Saint Michel district of Paris. Picture: cntraveler.com

It all started about two weeks ago…

On January 8th, 2021, I turned 18 years old. The plan was to leave for France for 4 months on the 10th of January, but with the new variant of COVID-19 sweeping across England and other EU countries, the odds of new travel bans and restrictions seemed to be lingering around the corner. My flight itinerary was canceled multiple times due to my connection flight in the UK. How horrible would it be to arrive in London, expecting to soon be eating a fresh French baguette from a local boulangerie, only to be duped and sent back home to the US?!

On January 8th I not only woke up a little older, (however, not much wiser) but with the news that the UK was not going to go through with their plans of a travel ban for people coming from the US. With that being said, my mother and I made the call to just go for it. Instead of waking to a day with one’s favorite birthday breakfast, layered out in the kitchen, or plans for a small Covid safe gathering of friends and family members, I had the delight of two Covid-19 tests all in one day. …

Hello, my name is Victor Baudrand, and although I have utterly no idea what I am doing, nor do I have the word “professional” stamped anywhere near my name; I do think that my life is rather interesting. But before I do share my life story, I do want to highlight a few of my self-proclaimed certifications. I am officially 18 years of age. (“Look, mom, I made it!”) I am a high-level competitive rock climber. I finished high school one year early, and now I am currently exploring France for the next few months, during this pandemic. …

The Mental Battle of Projecting Boulders at your Max Level

This year’s winter was cold and wet in Northern France. It rained and even snowed (which is rare) so many days in a row. For someone like me, living in Paris without a car, it was incredibly complicated for me to get out to the Forest. However, despite all of the rain, I had the opportunity to make a little trip down to visit this magical place. I spent 4 amazing days climbing and exploring the historical playground with my incredibly kind Paris host family. To make the trip even more memorable, I had the pleasure to stay and sleep in a castle south of Fontainebleau, in a little village called Bourron Marlotte. Pictured here.

In the picture, the main castle is behind our little homestead near the water.

I was incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by a historical climbing destination, as well as stunning, immemorial French architecture.

Where I Climbed

Exploring the Mythical Forest of Fontainebleau.

A photo I took of a classic Font formation I stumbled across.

I grew up watching old-school climbing videos of USA climbers like Dave Graham, Tyler Landman, and UK climber Ben Moon, cruising through the magical Forest of Fontainebleau, climbing boulders that were thought to be unclimbable. As a climber from America, I did not know much about the true, deep French history and culture around the climbing in Fontainebleau.

Fontainebleau is the world’s oldest climbing destination for outdoor bouldering. Today, the forest is still the holy grail for bouldering. …

Life update and sudden changes in COVID restrictions.

The main street in Voiron with a direct view on the Église Saint-Bruno de Voiron

I had not called my mother since my recent move from Paris. I will admit that for the first week in Voiron the idea of calling my mother didn’t pass through my mind too many times. The beautiful snow-covered mountains, the change in the climbing gym, and the pace of life made me forget a little about the important things. But I guess that is how it goes when life is fresh and exciting. …

Which Paris climbing gym best fits your style, climbing level, and needs.

Climbing Gym Road Map:

Climbing Gym Situation in Paris:

First off, the current climbing gym situation in Paris and France is not currently at running at its best. Of course, due to the pandemic, climbing gyms have had to close for the general public, and it is just recently that they have begun to reopen. Paris in comparison to other regions of France has had the most success in reopening climbing gyms however they are not open to everyone. When I say they are open, but not to the general public…

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by airports when traveling?

Airports for me felt like a common ground when I was growing up. Crowds of strangers flooding the airport halls wasn’t an unusual sight. From the streets of Ghana, roaming with wild chickens, to the thick forests of Northern Thailand filled with undeviating noises that came from insects in the underbrush; I felt like I always needed to get used to the new surrounding that would encompass my life for the time being. As a young boy constantly trudging through the doors of new schools almost every year was my culture…

Victor Baudrand

I’m an 18-year-old from the US, currently living and traveling through France to pursue competitive rock climbing, and taste lots of delectable French pastries.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store