Hiking during the holidays

France is perfect for walking. Whatever region you are staying in, Aquitaine, Dordogne, Provence, Languedoc, the Alps or Poitou-Charentes, they all have well-marked hiking trails. Hiking is one of the most popular activities among those going on holiday to France. Loads of the hikes start from near our holiday parks. You can go for a walk with your partner or with the whole family. It is also possible to join a larger group departing from the local Office du Tourisme.

Hiking Trails in France

You can always of course go on a walk that you have mapped out yourself but it can be easier to follow a trail! These trails bring you to some of the most beautiful places in the area. In addition to the local hiking trails, there are also rural routes for long-distance hikes. In France there are more than 20,000 km of hiking trails. The different types of routes, such as Promenade's and Randonnée's, have different symbols so that you can recognize them. In all cases, make sure you are well prepared: Put on good shoes, bring things to take care of blisters and do not forget your sunscreen. If you are going for a longer walk, be sure to take plenty of drinks with you.

The symbols for hiking trails

There are several routes in France that are marked with symbols/markings. The markings are stripes in a certain color and can be seen on trees, rocks and road signs:

  • Grande Randonnée (GR): These are the long-distance walks that go right through the region and even the entire country. The hikes take you from place A to place B. Well-known GRs are the GR10 that goes through the Pyrenees or the GR5 that runs from Hoek van Holland (NL) to Nice (FR). The pilgrimage routes to Compostella also have a GR number. The GR trails have a white-red marking.
  • Grande Randonnée du Pays (GRP): Another type of long-distance walk is the Grande Randonnée with the addition "du Pays". These are walks in a loop form. They start and end at the same point. These can also be multi-day tours. You can recognize these trails by their yellow-red stripes.
  • Petite Randonnée (PR): These are relatively short walks, ranging in duration from 2 to 8 hours, which makes them doable within a day. These routes are marked with yellow stripes.
  • A pied en famille: These trails are actually part of the PRs and were introduced in 2002. These walks are perfect to do together with your family and take between 1 and 3 hours.

Nordic walking

Nordic walking is popular, it is also popular in France. You’ll see Nordic Walkers on nearly every hiking trail. Sometimes whole groups pass by. It is possible to rent Nordic Walking poles at the local Office du Tourisme.

Wine walking tours

The region also has special hiking trails such as the wine walking tours which are often organized by the local Office du Tourisme. The wine chateau itself also organizes walks on the vast vineyards that often end in a wine-tasting "dégustation".

Hiking in the Dordogne - Lot

The Dordogne has around 1,000 km of long hiking trails, including the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela. There is also around 4000km of shorter walks. These routes often start in the center "Le Bourg" of a village. These Petites Randonnées and trails run through forests, open fields, vineyards, hills and valleys. At the starting point of the route, which is also the end point, there is usually a sign with a large map with the various walking routes. In the local Office du Tourisme you can find maps of the walk.

Parks in the Dordogne 🚶

Hiking in Aquitaine - Gironde

The Gironde offers many opportunities for hiking during the holidays. Along the Atlantic coast there are hiking trails such as the trail along the bay of Arcachon or in the famous Dune du Pilat. You can also just walk on the beach and enjoy the sea. In the southern part of France there are extensive forests. Here you can walk for hours and enjoy the beautiful nature. You can encounter all kinds of animals. You can also walk through and enjoy the extensive vineyards in the eastern part.

Park in the Aquitaine - Gironde 🚶

Hiking in Provence

The landscape of Provence is very diverse and there are many different types of walks you can do. The Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur is known for the beautiful coastline of the Mediterranean Sea with famous places such as Cannes and St. Tropez. You can walk well there. A well-known route on the coast is  the Nietsche path near the town of Eze. During the walk you have a magnificent view over the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. In clear weather you can see Corsica and even Italy. Inland there are beautiful lavender fields, hills and mountains up to 4100m high. Enjoy the scents and colors of the lavender. For sports enthusiasts there are hiking trails through the mountains and rock formations of the Gorges du Verdon. Well-known routes are the GR4 from Provence to the Atlantic coast, the GR97 – Tour du Luberon, the GR 91 – Tour du Mont Ventoux and the GR99 at the Gorges du Verdon.

Parks in Provence 🚶

Hiking in the Alps

One of Frances most popular walking region is the Alps. The untouched nature makes the area perfect for walking. You’ll walk through mountains and valleys. One day you’ll walk over a fairly horizontal path, the next day you’ll need to climb a steep mountain. The effort is certainly rewarded: the higher you go, the more impressive the views are. You can also make it easier for yourself by first going up by cable car and then hiking to a higher level. The great thing about the Alps is that it is beautiful in both summer and winter. Every season has its own charm. For the real sports enthusiasts there are even hiking trails that take several days where you spend the night in mountain huts. The Alps is also home to Lake Geneva. There are several hiking trails around the lake with beautiful views over the lake.

Park in the Alps 🚶

Hiking in the Languedoc

Languedoc is said to have everything France has to offer: the coast, mountains, vineyards, beautiful landscapes, culture and history. You can explore all of this when hiking. The coast has both sandy beaches and little bays with cliffs, the latter will require you doing some climbing. The same applies to hiking trails through the Pyrenees. There are hiking trails that go over a plateau, which are easy to walk. But if you really want to climb the mountains, it is important to be in good shape, have good equipment and you’ll likely need a guide. There are also hiking trails through the vineyards where you can observe how the grapes are grown.

Park in the languedoc 🚶

Hiking in the Poitou-Charantes

This region is quite flat with a few hills. This means that the walking routes are not too tiring whilst they still show you all sorts of  beautiful places. You can walk from one town to another and have a rest at a café along the way. The marked trails lead you past some of the most beautiful places. The area is also home to extensive nature reserves which are popular among hikers. There are areas with loads of birds and other animals and in the west lies the Marais Poitevin. This is a large swamp area that is perfect for hiking. The northern part of this department has vineyards.

Parks in the Poitou-Charentes 🚶