When it comes to walking and hiking, there are few places quite as suitable for it as France. It’s a country of contrasts – just think of the gently rolling hills and lush green vineyards of the east, compared with the rugged mountains of the Pyrénées in the south west of the country. There is nothing quite like talking a long walk in France, that’s for sure.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a placid soul who prefers moderate inclines or an adventure hungry mountaineer who can’t get enough of those rocky plateaus, you’re bound to find the perfect walking destination in France. You don’t have to spend a week out in the wilderness getting all too familiar with the native wildlife – there are plenty of exciting trails that last an afternoon or even just a few hours. Here is a guide to the best walking destinations in France.
Mont Blanc – if you want to catch a glimpse of the biggest mountain in Europe, get yourself down to the charming little village of Chamonix. This is where most visitors choose to start their walking trails – it is a great base, because it allows you to choose the difficulty level of your trek. For the best views, get yourself up onto the elevated path of the Aiguilles Rouge just above Chamonix. You can spend a whole day climbing to the top, or you can choose to start further along the trail. If you’re feeling extra bold, why not tackle the infamous Tour du Mont Blanc. This is a strenuous 250km trail that takes in the most dramatic mountain corners of France, Switzerland and Italy, say the experts at BoundlessJourneys.com.
Alsace Wine Trail – according to Guardian expert Simon Ingram, the woody charm of the Rue du Vin is the ideal place to mix wine and walking. The trails are mostly gentle, the scenery is spectacular and there are more beautiful vineyards here than you’ll ever see anywhere else. The charming little villages of Bergheim, Turckheim, Riquewihr and Kaysersberg are all easily reached on the various routes and trails that snake through Alsace. Once again, you can choose to spend whole days on the road or you can take it a little easier and spend a week completing the walk through wine country. Visit Chez Nous for the very best deals on holiday cottages, villas and apartments in and around the Alsace region of France.
Languedoc – the Languedoc region of France is very special indeed. It is where you will find one of the oldest and most fascinating stories in all of French history, says Telegraph journalist Gabriella Le Breton. This is where the Cathars lived and died – the Languedoc region is often referred to as Cathar country. Today, you can still walk the ancient path that the Cathars once used to escape persecution from the Catholics. The route starts at Roquefixade and traverses a great deal of the Languedoc before it reaches the little coastal town of Padern. If you decide to tackle this trail, you will encounter a wide variety of countryside environments – everything from dense forests, to open meadows and spectacular gorges. For interested in Cathar remains, there is a six day walking trail that takes in the castles of Montségur, Peyreperteuse and Puilaurens.
Author Bio: Frank Eden is a retired history teacher and a keen walker and hiker. He recommends Chez Nous for the very best deals on accommodation in and around France. Frank can usually be found mapping out new trails across the Pyrénées.