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French Alps | © kaydeeweb / Pixabay
French Alps | © kaydeeweb / Pixabay
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10 Top Hiking and Trekking Spots in France

Picture of Holly Howard
Updated: 22 November 2017
France boasts over 100,000 km of walking trails. From long-distance footpaths, such as the famous Grande Randonnée (GR) network, to shorter trails for localised hiking, the country is a walker’s paradise. Here are 10 top hiking and trekking spots from all across France.

Tour du Mont Blanc

We’ve got to start off with the Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB). This iconic trail traverses some of the most stunning landscapes over a stretch of 170 km. The hike, which takes seven to 10 days to complete, crosses the borders of Italy and Switzerland, circling Mont Blanc in effect, before finishing in France.

Luberon mountain trails

The Luberon Natural Regional Park is a pure delight. The trails here weave through pretty, hilltop Provence villages with views of vineyards, olive groves and renowned red Luberon rocks. Although Gordes is the most renowned village in the region, Roussillon is equally disarming. These trails are generally great for all walking abilities, and the best part is you’ll come across everything ranging from hundred-year old chapels to prehistoric caves en route.

Luberon Natural Regional Park, France

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Dune du Pilat

This is what the tallest sand dune in Europe looks like. Situated on France’s Atlantic coast, the Dune du Pilat is a unique slice of landscape. Stretching out for approximately 3 km, and offering extensive views over the Arcachon basin, climbing the dune – though this is no easy feat – is definitely a good reason to visit. However, the trails all around the Arcachon Bay shouldn’t be missed.

Dune du Pilat, Route de Biscarrosse, La Teste-de-Buch, 33260, France

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Cirque de Gavarnie

The Cirque du Gavarnie is situated in the Pyrenees mountain range. Cirque is the geological term for natural, high-altitude mountain bowls or basins, that have been carved out by ancient glaciers. The Cirque du Gavarnie is one of the best-known examples of these, and boasts Europe’s largest waterfall at its centre. The views here are pretty hard to describe, which is why it is frequented by hikers all year round.

Cirque du Gavarnie, France

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Gorges du Verdon

The Verdon Gorge is a dreamy spot in Provence. The turquoise crystal clear water, complemented by dramatic rocks and vegetation, make this river canyon one of the most popular in Europe. Although you can also explore the gorge by cycling and kayaking, trekking offers the most varied vantage points.

Gorges du Verdon, France

The Mediterranean balcony

This Mediterranean trek – also called the Balcony of the Côte d’Azur – runs from Menton to Marseille along the GR51 route. The full trail passes through some of South of France’s finest spots including picturesque hilltop villages, pine woods by the sea, and plateaus with mountain views. Depending on where you are in the region, you can get on the trail from different points.

A Vantage Point from the GR51
A Vantage Point from the GR51 | © / Flickr

Normandy beaches

Rugged and beautiful, this well-explored area of France is steeped in history but hasn’t lost any of its allure. You’ll probably be here for the cemeteries, but make it a point to also check out the vast stretches of sand and undulating coastline.

Normandy Coastline
Normandy Coastline