10 places to hike in France!

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France is a dazzling country thanks to its food and architecture, but also all the places which are so pleasant to walk through… even miles away from Paris! The diversity of the landscapes makes it one of the most popular places for hiking.

In addition to its physical benefits, the activity allows you to recharge your batteries in the middle of nature, discover new places, and disconnect from the urban world. 

That’s why Wardy offers you a suggestion of 10 beautiful hiking spots to check in France!

Watch out!

There are different levels of hiking. This activity can just be a simple walk for a few hours or a few days! Depending on the distance and the difference in altitude, the right equipment is essential.

Don't forget to keep yourself informed and up-to-date about the weather conditions, bring appropriate equipment (shoes, waterproof clothing, first aid kit, food, water, etc.), and prepare an itinerary to avoid any unwanted surprises.

Les Gorges du Verdon - Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur

This hike is considered one of the most spectacular places in France with steep paths along the turquoise river. The Verdon Gorge was carved out by the river of the same name, a deep canyon over 20 kilometers (~12.5 miles) long and over 700 meters deep in some places. Hiking routes can range from 10 to 15 kilometers (~6.5 - 9.5 miles).

The cliffs that line the canyon are impressive and offer a breathtaking landscape, with white limestone walls plunging vertically into the turquoise waters of the river. A stopover by boat should definitely be considered, even if it won't earn you any wards!

Le Tour du Mont Blanc - Rhône-Alpes, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Valais:

This world-renowned hike offers incredible views of the mountains of the French, Swiss, and Italian Alps.

Nevertheless, the Tour du Mont Blanc is considered one of the toughest hikes in Europe because of its altitude difference and the duration: 10,000 meters of vertical drop and 160 kilometers (~100 miles) to cover. With that in mind, it’s important to be well-prepared and equipped to face the changing mountain conditions. This time, one thing is certain, your 25 wards of the day are waiting for you!

Le Sentier des Douaniers - Bretagne:

This walk follows the Breton coastline and offers breathtaking views of the sea and cliffs. Due to the topography and changing weather conditions, the route is demanding but accessible to all levels of walkers. You can also do shorter sections of the trail for those who wish to do so. No matter what, it’s an unforgettable experience for nature lovers and hikers. The Sentier des Douaniers runs along the entire coast of Brittany for over 2000 kilometers (~125 miles)!

Les Calanques de Marseille - Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur

This coastal walk offers wonderful views of the Mediterranean and the limestone cliffs. You can discover the most famous creeks such as Sormiou, Morgiou, En-Vau, Port-Miou, and Port-Pin.

It will take you 3 hours of walking in total: 1h30 on the way out and 1h30 on the way back, to complete the 12km round trip. The paths are not to be missed!

Les Châteaux de la Loire - Pays de la Loire, Centre-Val de Loire:

The magnificent castles of the Loire Valley offer a glimpse into the history of France from the Renaissance to modern times. Nowadays, they are a major tourist attraction. Thousands of visitors come for their architecture and gardens. The GR3, a hundred kilometers walk that can be completed in a week, invites you to discover some of these monuments by means of a comfortable walk along the Loire, from the Cher to the banks of the Indre river.

Established in 1947, at the same time as the creation of the French Hiking Federation, the GR3 follows the wild course of the Loire over nearly 1,250 kilometers (~775 miles), from its source at Mont Gerbier-de-Jonc to its mouth at La Baule.

Le Cirque de Gavarnie - Occitanie:

This is a glacial cirque more than 800 meters high and 6 kilometers (~3 miles) in circumference, dominated by the Marboré peak which rises to more than 3,000 meters. The site has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997. The hike is accessible to the general public so for a round-trip, count on about 3 hours of walking and ten kilometers.

Les Chemins de Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle - Occitanie, Nouvelle-Aquitaine:

The Pilgrim's Way to Santiago de Compostela is a series of pilgrimage routes that lead to the city of the same name in Galicia, in northwestern Spain. They have a long history dating back to the Middle Ages when Christian pilgrims travelled thousands of kilometers to the grave of the apostle Santiago. The French Camino de Compostela is just under 1,000 kilometers (~620 miles) long and has 32 stages!

Les Gorges du Tarn - Occitanie:

This hike offers marvelous views of the deep gorges and the river Tarn. The landscape is made up of dramatic limestone cliffs that slope down to the river Tarn below. Traditional hilltop villages offer panoramic views of the gorge and provide an opportunity to learn about the history and culture of the area. 

The distance of the walk will depend on the trail you choose. There are several: the cornice trail, with its ten-kilometer loop offering a breathtaking view of the gorges from the heights, the Viala trail (6 kilometers one way), or the Gorges trail, a 16-kilometer (~9-mile) hike offering views of the cliffs on either side of the river.

Le Mont Saint-Michel - Normandie, Bretagne:

Mont Saint-Michel has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979. It’s accessible by an elevated road that crosses the bay, but it’s also possible to make the crossing on foot at low tide accompanied by a local guide. This is a unique experience that allows you to discover the natural beauty of the bay and the history of this iconic island. The tour of Mont Saint-Michel is about 5.5 kilometers (~3.75 miles) long and gives you the opportunity to observe the abbey as well as the rising and falling tides. It's important to note that hiking in the bay of Mont Saint-Michel is subject to strict rules due to the risk pose by the silt and possible submersion. Do not venture out alone and learn about tide times and permitted routes.

Le Plateau de Valensole - Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur:

This hike allows you to discover the lavender fields of Provence and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. Famous for its large lavender fields that bloom every summer, the Valensole plateau covers almost 800 square kilometers, with an average altitude of 500 meters. It's bordered by the Verdon and Sainte-Baume mountains, and crossed by several rivers, including the Verdon. 

Many hiking trails are accessible, such as the Lavender Trail (8km / 4mi), the Chapelle Saint-Pancrace Trail (15km / 9.5mi), or the Montagne de Lure loop (22 km / 13 mi)!

This list isn't exhaustive by any means though. There are still hundreds of other places to discover in France through hiking!

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