Walking in France – holiday suggestions

W

alking in France gives you, as the French would say, “l’embarras du choix” – quite literally, you are spoilt for choice. The vast majority of French do all their walking in France, with few walking overseas with the exception of The Atlas Mountains in Morocco and the odd trail in Ireland or Scotland. This is not a case of the traditional ‘chauvinisme economique’ – quite simply, France has everything a walker needs within its own borders, so why walk elsewhere? The Hexagon, with its superb array of mountain ranges, central plateau and volcanic interior, Mediterranean Garrigue and coastal trails, is undoubtedly Europe’s best hiking destination.

When considering walking in France, the problem is often deciding precisely whereabouts to go. Thus the aim of this section is to offer some suggestions: to assist you in your decision-making process via a series of articles on themes that you might care to explore when considering walking in France. We hope they serve as a starting point for further research as well as provide you with backpacks of inspiration.

This French walker’s guide to walking in France hopefully achieves its objective: to enlighten our trip-hungry readership as to just some of the opportunities available to those walking with The Enlightened Traveller.

Le Guide delights in bringing you an abundance of information to help you make the right choices when you are planning your walking trip. The articles below are designed to whet the appetite and provide the all-important cultural and geographical context for some fine walking in France.

We offer a variety of walking trips in the following regions: Auvergne, Camargue, Cevennes, Languedoc, Loire Valley, Provence and Rhone-Alps. The articles provide excellent background reading for those wishing to explore The Hexagon on foot.

Please scroll down to discover the walking in France suggestions and themes. A summary of each one is listed below and you can click each photo to read the full article and download the relevant tour promotional flyer in pdf format. Bonne lecture!
Walking in France's Cantal - Breche Rolland
Walking in Cantal's volcanic uplands
Cantal’s volcanic uplands

Hiking Cantal’s volcanic uplands commences with a climb to Murat’s pilgrimage shrine, a fitting start to a fine day’s walking in France along a variant of the Compostella Trail. The cows are inquisitive but friendly, and you are rewarded for your efforts by the day’s grande finale: a climb to Eagle’s Beak Rock and Venus Point, at 1700 ms and 1669 ms respectively. “

- Click the photo (above) for further details.

Walking in France across the Aubrac plateau
Walking the Via Podiensis
Walking the Via Podiensis

Walking the Via Podiensis is an experience that features stunning countryside, rich cultural heritage and chance encounters. This is an extract of one such personal experience of walking in France enjoyed by a member of our staff in 2012. The full version is reproduced in our Walking St James in Comfort tour dossier, but we hope the snippets below whet the appetite sufficiently.”

- Click the photo (above) for further details.

Walking in France at St Chely du Tarn
Walking the Tarn Gorge
Walking the Tarn Gorge

Walking the Tarn Gorge has a much-merited legendary status among French walkers; so much so that you are likely to meet ‘randonneurs’ here from the six corners of The Hexagon. They come to feast their eyes on some of Europe’s most spectacular scenery, enjoy the isolation and remoteness of southern Lozere and escape the crowded trails that typify walking in France in places like Haute Savoir and Eastern Provence. “

- Click the photo (above) for further details.

Walking in France via the Cévennes Railway
Cévennes Railway – Le Cévenol
Cévennes Railway – Le Cévenol

Built over a century-and-a-half ago to facilitate the transport of wine and coal to Paris, the “line of 100 tunnels” bears testimony to man’s engineering ingenuity as it wends its way along a geological fault-line and across some breathtaking viaducts.”

- Click the photo (above) for further details.

Walking in France along  the Stevenson Trail
Reflections on the 130th anniversary of Stevenson Trail
Reflections on the 130th anniversary of France’s Stevenson Trail

It’s official – not only is this celebrated hike, forerunner of the whole hiking movement as we know it today, one of the top-ten rated walking in France experiences, but it is now considered by Forbes Traveler as one of the World’s most famous travel adventures. The Sydney Herald are also great fans of the trail and recommended ourselves as your tour operator for the tour. Here’s some vital background reading
…”

- Click the photo (above) to read the full article.

Walking in France - mini-TMB tour
Walking our mini-TMB tour
Walking our TMB mini-tour

Each of you will have your own unique way of arriving in Courmayeur. We chose to stay in Chamonix for the night and took the SAT coach from just outside la gare Chamonix that travels through Mont Blanc tunnel – it’s a cheap, regular service and we were in our Courmayeur hotel within 50 minutes!”

- Click the photo (above) to read the whole article.

Walking in France - Garde Guerin village
Walking in Languedoc
Walking in Languedoc

Ideas for walking trips are in abundance in this region, with its amenable climate and varied terrain. The Regordane Way, The Robert Louis Stevenson Trail, The Via Domitia and the French Compostella trail are just four inn-to-inn trails that you can place on your walking in France wish list. Add to that the abundance of fine circular walks, many available all-year-round, and you see why Languedoc is in a class of its own in respect of options for walking in France.”

- Click the photo (above) for further details.

Walking in France - Le Pont du Gard
Walking in The Gard
Walking in The Gard

France’s quarry for ‘la vrai Pierre,’ offers trips into south-eastern Cevennes, hikes along the Gardon Valley to Le Pont du Gard and across the ‘terre sauvage’ that is Camargue.”

- Click the photo (above) for further details.

Walking in France - pretty flamingos
Camargue: The French Wild West
Camargue: The French Wild West

For lovers of wildlife, especially of the winged variety, the Camargue is your nesting ground. Not to forget the ubiquitous black bulls, white horses and pretty flamingos.”

- Click the photo (above) for further details.

 Walking in France - the rolling bliue hills of Cévennes
Walking in Cévennes
Walking in Cévennes

‘Blue waves’ of rolling hills constitute this Final Frontier, where nature has created a walkers’ paradise. Here is some advice as to the best way into this unique ‘region’ for you according to your walking experience and objectives.”

- Click the photo (above) for further details.

Walking in France near Nimes in the Garrigue
Walking Nimes and its Garrigue
Walking Nimes and its Garrigue

Walking breaks are available throughout the year in the Mediterranean Garrigue. It’s light walking in France and the chance to enjoy some fine views whilst immersing yourself in the magical aromas of the Garrigue.”

- Click the photo (above) for further details.

Walking in France - the Uzès skyline
Walking in Uzège
Walking in Uzège

Uzès and the surrounding villages offer some of the finest opportunities for light rambling in France, and some excellent hotels, to boot. Relax in fine surroundings and enjoy fine cuisine at the end of your forays. “

- Click the photo (above) for further details.

Walking in France at Martel bridge
Valcèzard
Valcèzard

Hiking in Valcèzard: the lesser-known trails of the triangular area between the Ardèche, Rhone and Ceze valleys have some of the garrigue’s prettiest villages and an alluring natural charm. “

- Click the photo (above) for further details.

Walking in France - Aigueze
Walking in Provence
Walking in Provence

From the Alps in the north east, to the Calanques and Camargue in the south via the Arpilles in the centre, opportunities abound for some fine walking.”

- Click the photo (above) for further details.

Walking in France at Ville des Glaciers
From Chamonix to Courmayeur along the Tour du Mont Blanc
From Chamonix to Courmayeur along the TMB

Surely no-one actually walks up to La Flegere when hiking from Les Praz de Chamonix to Les Houches? You certainly do not; and even if it is raining down in the Valley, you should hopefully get above the cloud cover and pick up the mythical Grand Balcon du Sud with ease. It’s walking in France and Italy in one trip!”

- Click the photo (above) for further details.

Walking in France - rock outcrop near Pont de Montvert
The Protestant uprising in The Cévennes
The Protestant uprising in The Cévennes

The Cevennes hills were the context for a bloody uprising in 1702 that changed the face of France and ultimately the world as we know it. Those Protestants who stayed were harassed and many butchered, whilst those that fled thrived economically in Northern Europe and the New World. Learn about the plight of the Huguenots whilst walking in France in their home territory.”

- Click the photo (above) to read the full article.

Walking in France - aerial view of La Grande Motte
La Grande Motte
La Grande Motte

If it is centre-based, light walking you seek, and you have a penchant for coastal walking, this verdant, all-year-round coastal town is the ideal base, located equidistant from both the Paris of the South Coast, Montpellier, and Camargue, France’s Wild West.”

- Click the photo (above) for further details.

Walking in France - cross by the Regordane
Hiking The Regordane Way
Hiking The Regordane Way

The Regordane is a national treasure trail that has recently been resuscitated after 300 years of dormancy. The eastern frontier of the fledgling Gaul in the early Middle Ages, it is arguably the ‘sentier par excellence’ regarding the role it played in laying the foundations of Modern France. Quite literally an Masterclass in French history and a unique experience for lovers of walking in France. “

- Click the photo (above) for further details.

Click to visit The French Hiker’s Guide to Holidaying in the Hexagon at France self-guided trips, trails, themes…