Do you feel the urge to immerse yourself in the beauty of the landscapes of France? Here are the 9 best places to hike in France!
France is a country of known and recognized beauty that unfolds through a great diversity of landscapes.
Discover and admire it through many prisms, from the majestic high mountains to the gentle Mediterranean coast, through rich valleys and ocean lands.
Do you want to immerse yourself in this incredible natural heritage? France is home to many hiking trails that allow you to explore the most beautiful sites in the country.
Take a break from your daily life and get back to basics by discovering them. Safety above all: don’t forget the preparation of your hiking equipment!
Where to start? To give you ideas, here are the 9 best hiking spots in France.
The 9 Best Places To Hike In France
1. The Queyras
The Tour de Queyras sweeps landscapes of great beauty in the heart of the Hautes-Alpes. Welcome to a hiker’s paradise!
Its alpine trails are particularly famous, perfectly maintained, and therefore among the most accessible in France. The Queyras Regional Natural Park contains breathtaking landscapes.
Many protected animal species inhabit the Queyras. You will undoubtedly come across some chamois, eagles, and other marmots. As for the dahut? We let you go in search of him…
Breathtaking views await you. They sometimes offer lunar landscapes, alternating between mineral valleys bathed in electric blue lakes and softwood forests.
Cultural heritage is not to be outdone. On your way, you will find typical mountain villages, home to some of the most beautiful French alpine chalets.
2. The Jura
The Jura is a popular destination for hikers and other nature lovers. The area was uninhabited for a long time. There are many hiking trails in the area.
They allow you to discover all the richness of this department located on the border of Switzerland.
You can walk high mountain paths in the Jura and admire lovely panoramas of the Alps and great lakes, including Lake Geneva. Moreover, the department is home to a good part of the lake region, which allows you to discover many bodies of water through a series of beautiful hikes.
Finally, the Jura can also be visited for its many waterfalls, including the famous Hedgehog waterfalls. Do not hesitate to go hiking in the Jura in the middle of winter! You will not be disappointed.
Here are some hikes to do in the Jura:
● The Sentier des Combes takes you through combs and alpine pastures for 13 kilometers. You pass by the Borne au Lion, at the foot of the Crêt de Chalam;
● The Sentier du Crêt de Chalam takes you to the summits to admire a magnificent 360-degree panorama;
● The Crêt de la Neige is the highest peak in the Jura and allows you to enjoy an incredible view of the Alps;
● The Hedgehog waterfalls are run along a pleasant path accessible to the whole family.
With its atmosphere tinged with legends and mysteries, Brittany is one of the best hiking spots in France. This region has landscapes of such exceptional beauty that you won’t find anywhere else.
If it is not here that you will see the most impressive hiking spots in France, you will undoubtedly be charmed by its natural heritage at the end of the world.
As the Sentier des Douaniers stretches for 1,800 kilometers along the Breton Ocean coast, you can reach Mont-Saint-Michel from the Arzal Dam while enjoying views of the coast almost all along.
Also, walk through the forest of Brocéliande, theater of Arthurian legends. Along the trail, you’ll discover centuries-old trees, lakes, megaliths, and even Merlin’s tomb!
4. The Calanques
Let’s go to the South of France! The Calanques National Park is home to unique geological formations bathed by the Mediterranean Sea, offering visitors a landscape of incomparable beauty, making it one of the best hiking spots in France.
The GR98-51 allows you to explore some of the most beautiful creeks in the whole Mediterranean, along a 25-kilometer path. Plan two days to make the most of its ochre cliffs, crystal clear water, wild coves, and rich biodiversity.
Climb Cap Canaille, the highest cliff in Europe, to admire a superb view, discover the unusual blower’s hole located on the creek of Port-Miou, discover the Walkyrie wood that inspired Wagner, and much more! Be careful, though; some passages are technical.
5. The tour of the lakes of Auvergne
Auvergne is a region full of unspoiled, wild landscapes, an ideal playground for hikers. The tour of the lakes of Auvergne sees a great diversity of these pass through a loop of nearly 200 kilometers.
In the heart of Massif Central, discover the volcanoes, forests, and lakes of Auvergne and the region’s cultural richness through its traditions and heritage.
Take 10 days to experience incredible moments of escape by walking the Tour des lacs, d’Auvergne. Here’s what awaits you:
● Volcanoes: the famous Chaîne des Puits, but also the Monts Dore and the Cézallier;
● Lakes: Chambon, Pavin, De Servières, Lastiouilles, etc.
● A rich cultural heritage: between charming villages and gastronomy to die for (taste the potée or the Auvergne truffade);
● Unique fauna and flora.
6. The Balconies of the Mer de Glace in Chamonix
Balcons de la Mer de Glace in Chamonix offers total immersion in high mountains, in a brutally wild and exotic landscape, without being particularly difficult to traverse.
This is a perfect introduction to the world of mountaineering… You tread on the surface of the Mer de Glace glacier, the white eminence of the Alpine country, and walk along with its balconies.
All around you, ridges and snow-capped peaks dominate the valley, giving the landscape the allure of the Far North. Nearly 20 kilometers of hiking await you, depending on your pace, between one and three days of walking.
7. The Way of Santiago de Compostela (France/Spain)
The Way of Santiago de Compostela is a legendary trail that sees hundreds of thousands of hikers pass through landscapes that are sometimes bucolic, sometimes breathtaking.
It will take you at least three weeks to go through it in full. However, nothing prevents you from taking only one section of the trail.
In France, four different trails reach the beautiful city of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, at the gates of Spain. The second stage takes you to Santiago de Compostela, in Galicia, Spanish Celtic land. Here are the four starting points of the French trails:
● Le Puy-en-Velay;
Besides the spiritual significance for Catholic pilgrims, the Way of Santiago de Compostela is an excellent hike that will appeal to anyone.
Allowing you to discover a wide variety of landscapes and cultural and architectural heritage, it is above all a human experience that awaits you.
The Island of Beauty does not owe its nickname to chance. Corsica certainly has the list of dream landscapes in France. As such, it deserves to be among the best hiking spots in France.
Bathed in a deeply Mediterranean atmosphere, they reveal themselves to the eyes of hikers through a real kaleidoscope of shapes and colors.
Although the reliefs of the island make it a capricious hiking spot, its striking beauty attracts thousands of hikers every year! Specifically, the GR20 runs through the region from north to south, providing spectacular views to anyone who ventures there.
The trail is considered one of the most beautiful in the world, and it is well deserved! There may be dangers along the way, so it is not advisable to go alone.
A more affordable option, the three mare trails (Corsican for “sea-to-sea”) cross the island from east to west. They take you through mid-mountain landscapes, sheltering a vibrant fauna and flora until you project yourself on the scenic coastline.
Want more? Corsica is full of unique sites, and many other hikes await you!
9. The Pyrenees
The Pyrenees offer perhaps the most remarkable diversity of landscapes in France. From the oceanic lands of the Basque Country to the Albères massif on the Mediterranean coast, the Grande Traversée des Pyrénées allows you to travel them on 900 kilometers of trail.
Discover the natural wealth of the Pyrenees Natural Park, the Néouvielle Nature Reserve, the Cerdanya Altiplano, and much more!
You will encounter valleys, caves, waterfalls, emerald lakes, and vertiginous peaks on the trail.
Emblematic hike of the Pyrenees, the Tour du Pic du Midi d’Ossau takes you to the summits. The Pic du Midi d’Ossau is recognizable among all, its streamlined tooth-shaped silhouette reflecting on the crystal clear waters of Lake Ayous.
The path that leads to it takes you through a typical landscape full of beauty and tradition.