France

Best walks, hikes and treks in France [View list of walks]

About France

Well, where to start with such a rich and interesting country? And how to keep it brief?

A long and busy history, from major Roman provinces to Europe's most powerful nation, with centuries of wealth and stability interspersed with cataclysms from the Hundred Years War to the Revolution to the disasters of the 20th Century, have left a magnificent array of towns and cities (with Paris as its supreme if not most charming expression), castles, churches and art, with every little market town seeming to nestle some treasure, or at least a delicious restaurant.

Wandering through France's hugely diverse regions - barrenly beautiful Brittany to lush vineous Burgundy to the foothills of the Pyrenees to the once-volcanic Massif Central to historic Provence to the high Alps, to name just a few - is a delightful way to spend a week (or a year). And this is complemented by a fabulous selection of walking. And its beaches aren't bad, either. And the food and wine are tolerable.

So, France has things to fascinate everyone, children included. The variety of travel and tours you can make in France is as a result huge. We tell you about walking below, but have a look here for a wide selection of the fabulous France travel, tours, holidays and activities available.

Walking, hiking and trekking in France

France has some of the world's best walks, hikes and treks, ranging from famous mountain hiking and trekking trails such as the Tour du Mont Blanc and the Pyreneen High Route to geological absurdities like the Verdon Gorge to historic pilgrimage and other routes (Chemin St Jacques; Sentier Cathar) to coastal beauties (Mont St Michel).

So, walking, hiking and trekking tours and holidays in France are so varied that everyone's taste and energy levels can be met. Walking in France isn't just for hard-nuts, although there is plenty to get their juices flowing. The lazy and youngsters alike will be enthralled by what it offers.

See below a list (currently incomplete - please give us your recommendations!) of the best walks, treks and hikes in France. Various of these are in our World's Top 100 list.

 

Famous walking regions include:

Famous walking, hiking and trekking regions include:

-          The Alps, including the Mont Blanc Area and Aiguilles Rouges and the Vanoise.

-          The Jura

-          The Pyrenees, from the glories of the Pyreneen High Route to the Gavarnie Cirque to the historic Sentier Cathar, which winds among the eastern foothills before crossing the range.

-          The once-volcanic Massif Central

-          Provence, including the Alpes Maritimes and the Verdon Gorge (GR4)

-          Corsica, including the famously infamous GR20 traverse of its spine.

We intend that our walk pages contain detail and photos on walking, hiking or trekking routes, including books, best times and weather, how to get there, possible problems, walking, trekking and hiking firms, organisers and guides in France, accommodation in France and useful links. But this takes a lot of research, so if they are not “there” yet, please give us any suggestions you may have.

We intend that our walk pages contain detail and photos on walking, hiking or trekking routes, including books, best times and weather, how to get there, possible problems, walking, trekking and hiking firms, organisers and guides in France, accommodation in France and useful links. But this takes a lot of research, so if they are not "there" yet, please give us any suggestions you may have.

D-Day Beaches, Normandy
D-Day Beaches - American cemetery© Copyright Flickr user stephenminnig Cirque de Lescun
Lescun - © Flickr user Bernard Blanc Pic du Midi d'Ossau
Pic du Midi d'Ossau - © Flickr user JM Fumeau

Best walks, hikes and treks in France

You can sort the walks by category by clicking on the category titles.

(The rating of walks marked * is currently provisional.)

Region Walk Name Walkopedia Rating Difficulty Day Walk
Possible?

  Chemin St Jacques
86
Variable No
  Conques to Cahors
86
Variable No
  D-Day Beaches, Normandy
85*
Straightforward Yes
  First World War Battlefields
83
Straightforward Yes
  Pieterpad
0*
Moderate No
  The Pilgrim's Trail, Mont St. Michel
86*
Variable Yes
  Walkers Haute Route (Chamonix to Zermatt)
88.5*
Difficult Yes
 Alps Aiguilles Rouges
88.5
Variable Yes
 Alps GR5 or Grand Traverse des Alpes
82*
Variable Yes
 Alps Grand Balcon Nord
86
Variable Yes
 Alps Haute Route (Chamonix to Zermatt)
83*
Very Difficult No
 Alps Lac Blanc and Southern Aiguilles Rouges Traverses
84
Variable Yes
 Alps Mont Blanc Area
90
Variable Yes
 Alps Mont Joly
83
Strenuous Yes
 Alps Tour of Mt Blanc
92*
Strenuous No
 Corsica Corsica (GR20 and others)
90*
Variable Yes
 Corsica GR20
85*
Very Difficult No
 Corsica Mare e Monti
89*
Strenuous Yes
 Corsica Mare-Mare Nord
90*
Strenuous Yes
 Corsica Mare-Mare Sud
88*
Variable Yes
 Indian Ocean Reunion Island
90*
Variable Yes
 Massif Central Robert Louis Stevenson Trail
86*
Variable Yes
 Massif Central St-Gilles Way or Regordane
84*
Yes
 Provence Gorges d'Oppedette
83.5
Variable Yes
 Provence GR4 (Verdon Gorge)
87*
Variable Yes
 Provence Montagne Sainte Victoire (Cezanne's Mountain)
82*
Variable Yes
 Pyrenees Balaitous
82
Strenuous Yes
 Pyrenees Breche de Roland
91
Strenuous No
 Pyrenees Canigou
87*
Strenuous Yes
 Pyrenees Chemin de la Mature
92*
Variable Yes
 Pyrenees Circuit of the Pont Gisclard
0*
Moderate Yes
 Pyrenees Cirque de Lescun
84*
Yes
 Pyrenees Cirque de Troumouse
86
Strenuous Yes
 Pyrenees Cirque d'Estaube
86
Moderate Yes
 Pyrenees Eastern Pyrenees
87*
Variable Yes
 Pyrenees French Pyrenees
91
Variable Yes
 Pyrenees Gavarnie Area
87
Variable Yes
 Pyrenees Gavarnie-Ordesa Circuit
91
Variable No
 Pyrenees Gourette
83*
Variable Yes
 Pyrenees GR10
87*
Difficult Yes
 Pyrenees Ibon de Estanes
0*
Yes
 Pyrenees Marcadau Valley
83
Variable Yes
 Pyrenees Neouvielle
85.5
Variable Yes
 Pyrenees Pic du Midi d'Ossau
84*
Variable Yes
 Pyrenees Pilo de Belmaig Ridge
83
Strenuous Yes
 Pyrenees Pyrenean Haute Route
87.5
Variable No
 Pyrenees Sentier Cathare
86
Moderate Yes
 Pyrenees Vallee de Lutour
86*
Variable Yes
 Pyrenees Vallee d'Estaing
86*
Variable Yes
 Pyrenees Vignemale and Vallee de Gaube
86
Variable Yes


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