“Walking is the best medicine for man” , and yes Hippocrates had already understood that! Nothing better to clear your mind and disconnect from our sometimes gloomy daily life than a hike in the heart of nature! We have surely already told you about the most beautiful treks in the four corners of the world, but why go so far? Fortunately, France is full of equally spectacular trails!

Seasoned hiker or neophyte, we offer you our top 10 of the most beautiful hikes in France . On your marks, ready? Walk!

 1. The GR20 in Corsica

  • Total distance : approximately 180 km from Calenzana to Conca (North – South) 
  • Total duration : about 15 days (depending on the steps chosen)
  • Walking time : between 5h and 6h30 per day
  • Difficulty level : difficult
  • Recommended period : from June to September

Spread the word, Corsica holds the record for dream landscapes in our dear and tender Gaul. In one and the same land, the Island of Beauty gives us the impression of traveling through dozens of countries. Endowed with a breathtaking botanical and mineral diversity, Corsica is full of forests, lakes, multicolored rocks, heavenly beaches, all in a hodgepodge of Mediterranean flavors and breathtaking lights. In short, it’s a bit like the hiker’s Garden of Eden. 

A good for a bad one could also say because its massifs are not the easiest. To believe that such a setting is deserved. However, this does not discourage the 15,000 athletes who come each year to challenge the peaks of the famous GR20 , which crosses the region from North to South for around 180 km , from Calenzana to Conca . Considered one of the most beautiful courses in Europe , it is also one of the toughest. Novice climbers, abstain! 

Certainly, its landscapes have made many people dream, between the magnificent torrents, lakes, vertiginous ridges, incredible panoramas and the pretty bucolic refuges that one crosses on its way. Nevertheless, there is no question of taking your first steps as a climber. The GR20 is intended only for experienced hikers in excellent physical condition. 

And even if walking in the mountains no longer holds any secrets for you, you are strongly recommended not to go it alone on this dangerous route and, under no circumstances, not to leave the beaten track! 

Count 16 days for a classic hiker (i.e. one stage per day). Prepare to walk, on average, between 6 and 12 km per day and sometimes even more because some stages can go up to 23 km! On the vertical drop side, don’t forget that you will evolve in an alpine environment and that consequently, ascents and descents will be your daily life. The positive elevations generally vary between 700 and 1200 m, except for the first stage which will make you, from the start, warm up your calves with a positive elevation of 1360 m.  

Nevertheless, if you do not feel ready to face the course in its entirety, you can already train on a portion of the course. Indeed, it is possible to do only the southern part of the GR20 , from Bavella to Vizzavona or the northern part of the GR20 , which will take you about 8 days. 

And whatever the duration chosen, note that you can favor the sea or the mountains during your ascent. We will then speak of “mare e monti” or “mare a mare” for fans of the big blue.

randonnee-gr20_c2rxkv_1_ftswuj.jpg

Last important point concerning the GR20 in Corsica , choose the date of your ascent carefully. Before June, the refuges are not yet guarded and some areas are still snow-covered. Ditto for the end of August, when the springs dry up.

2. The GR5 or The Great Crossing of the Alps

  • Distance of the Grande Traversée des Alpes : approximately 620 km
  • Total distance of the GR5 : approximately 2,500 km to connect the North Sea to the Mediterranean Sea
  • Distance to be covered in France : approximately 1,200 km, including 410 km for the Grande Traversée des Vosges, 270 km for the Grande Traversée du Jura and 620 km for the Grande Traversée des Alpes  
  • Total duration to complete the Grande Traversée des Alpes : between 3 and 6 weeks of walking depending on your level
  • Recommended period : from May to October
Tour of Mont Blanc

Among the many hiking trails found in the region, the GR5 is one of the country’s must-sees. This cross-border route begins with our Dutch friends, on the shores of the North Sea beaches and ends in Nice, on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, 2,500 km further on. The best for the end, will say the chauvinists. Anyway, we will concentrate on the French section , nicknamed ” La Grande Traversée des Alpes “, which already gives a lot of trouble to the great walkers. 

The GR5 owes its popularity to its almost cinematographic setting where all kinds of natural phenomena mingle: snow-capped peaks, Savoy mountain pastures, high-altitude deserts, lakes, dense forests and turquoise waters to end this adventure… The USA only has to behave well ! Less dangerous than its Corsican counterpart, the GR20 , the GR5 still requires good physical condition. 

The classic route of the Grande Traversée des Alpes begins on the shores of Lake Geneva and ends, some 620 km further on (about 3 weeks/one month of walking) on ​​the Mediterranean beaches. On the program, you will have the opportunity to cross the Vanoise, Queyras and Mercantour parks and thus enjoy the most diversified and preserved heritage in France. The locals are very proud to see more than half of the French flora growing in their land, as well as rare species such as the chamois, the ibex or the wolf. 

The particularity of La Grande Traversée des Alpes also lies in its versatility. Sometimes you just have to skip a stage to drastically change the scenery and see a desert nature transform into a real competition pasture. It will be difficult for you not to be in awe of so much beauty!

Lake Geneva

If you don’t feel like a great athlete or you don’t have enough time to complete the Grande Traversée des Alpes in its entirety , you can also choose a shorter route and shape it as you wish! Some leave directly from Briançon, in order to shorten the crossing to 11 days. At the risk of annoying competition climbers, we confirm that the show is not spoiled for all that, since it crosses one of the key points of the Alpine heritage: the Regional Natural Park of Queyras where torrents, larch forests, gorges and picturesque villages.

The complete route, meanwhile, crosses two other mythical parks: the Vanoise and the Mercantour , which also feature on the list of French natural masterpieces. Not to mention the many nature reserves that populate the Alpine massif and the majestic Mont Blanc which dominates the Traversée des Grandes Alpes .

Sunset in the Mercantour

Not used to long walks in the mountains? Thanks to the hoteliers and restaurateurs, it is possible for you to complete the route almost without luggage, by bringing only what you need for the day. But if you’re more of a competitive sports type, nights in bivouacs are also possible. 

For those whose orientation is not the first quality, know that the markup generally allows you to put map and compass aside. Be careful, however, of the change in signals: the Vosges markup differs from its counterparts. It is marked by signs with a red rectangle.

However, avoid leaving outside the July-October period. Don’t forget that you will evolve in a predominantly alpine environment, so the weather conditions can be bad and the snow could surprise you! 

3. The Queyras Tour (GR58 – Hautes Alpes)

  • Distance : 130 km 
  • Level : medium 
  • Recommended period : from September to October if you want to admire the most beautiful colors (but the itinerary can be done between June and October) 
randonnee-dans-queyras_fibyef_1_fzcvfv.jpg

Naturophiles revere the Hautes-Alpes as the messiah for its incredible complexity. You don’t know where to turn between its mountain lakes, its torrents, its voluptuous peaks, its fields of lavender and its dazzling glaciers. The number 1 attraction remains, however, without a doubt the GR58, otherwise known as the Tour du Queyras , which allows you to make the famous tour of the park of the same name, the Parc Naturel Régional du Queyras

Over 130 km, you will come across typical mountain villages (including Saint-Véran, the highest town in Europe), some of the most beautiful alpine chalets in France, a lunar setting and large lakes with tire-larigot . It should be noted that the GR58 is practiced from the beginning of May to mid-November, while paying attention to the snow at the beginning and end of the season on the highest areas (Vol Vieux, Agnel and the Col de Chamoussière). However, the best period remains from September to October, for its superb autumn colours.

Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a seasoned hiker to undertake the GR58. The marked paths are quite easy to navigate and, for the less experienced, it is possible to call on a porterage service which offers, among other things, the port by a pack donkey.

The donkey is able to carry the luggage of 2 to 4 people but walks at a regular speed (3 to 4 km/h). So there is no need to plan your hike at a run. Good news, most lodges welcome your pet, which also adapts very well to bivouacs (grass and a little water are enough for its diet).

randonnee-queyras_kdopcn.jpg

The duration of the trip will depend on your level of experience. We generally count 7/8 days for a standard walk and 4/5 days for well-tempered hikers, knowing that there are many possible variants.

Our favorite on the course? The view from the ridge of Château Jean Grossan (located above the Col Bramousse), which dominates the entire Ceillac valley and its superb larch forests. Bon vivants will appreciate the local beer, La Tourmente, which is more than welcome after a day of walking.

Note that some summits are optional and reserved for those who have the bottle, such as the Pain de sucre or the Pic de Caramantran, culminating respectively at 3208 and 3021 meters. 

For those who wish, the GR58 can also be done in total autonomy. Queyras being a regional park, it is quite possible to pitch your tent there, provided that it is located more than an hour’s walk from the houses and only at night. Garden squatters, abstain!

4. The GR98-51: a beautiful hike in Les Calanques between Marseille and Cassis

  • Distance : 25 km
  • Duration : 2 days
  • Recommended period : from October to May (the summer season being particularly hot)

The Calanques are to the Bouches-du-Rhône what a good grape variety is to wine: they are unmissable. The national park of the same name is famous throughout the world for its crystal clear water, its wild creeks, the superb vegetation of its cliffs and its panoramas worthy of the most clichés of postcards. Visitors sometimes travel thousands of kilometers to admire the view of the famous Cap Canaille , the highest cliff in Europe from a height of 363 meters.

creeks

While visiting the region, one cannot help but think of all these painters, inspired by the diaphanous light of the rocks and its changing colors at every hour of the day. If you are fond of geological curiosities, you will not be disappointed by the hole of the blower, located in the pretty creek of Port-Miou . It is a fault in the rock starting from the turquoise water and ending at the top of the rock with a tiny hole. The waves compress the air there, which then escapes emitting sounds, strangely reminiscent of those of a tuba. Mother Nature sometimes has many surprises in store for us…

creeks

To the contemplators are added the climbers, eager to apprehend Les Calanques by the GR 98-51 . In one or two days, this hike crosses Les Calanques from Marseille to Cassis for about 25 km, along the big blue. Be careful, even if this route seems very attractive, note that some sections are quite technical, especially trails 5 and 6 which have very significant positive elevations. Some areas have ropes and chains and are quite dizzying. It is therefore strongly recommended that you have some experience in climbing if you wish to take these routes. Rest assured, there are more affordable variants with, as a bonus, superb panoramas of the coast and its vegetation.

At Hardloop, we opt for the hike over two days, giving us time to explore all the natural curiosities of the place. To be able to explore the area in the evening, the ideal is to start with a day of 4 to 5 hours of walking, to reach the Calanque de Morgiou from Marseille. 

creeks

The two must-sees on the route: the Calanque de Marseilleveyre and the Bois des Valkyries . The Calanque de Marseilleveyre – classified as a National Nature Reserve for its incredible animal and plant diversity – is a great classic for Sunday walkers in Marseille, who come to admire the breathtaking view of the Riou archipelago. The Bois des Valkyries, as its name suggests, inspired Wagner and his famous ride. Fascinated by the reliefs and the vegetation of the place, he used it as a model for the decor of his opera. 

randonnee-calanques-cassis_czqpps_1_pwskhq.jpg

The second day hike takes about 4 to 6 hours to reach Cassis . Apart from the Calanque de Surgiton and its wild creeks, the pretty ascent towards the Val Vierge is not the most unpleasant. The place owes its fame to its immense dark rock slope where mountaineers George Livanos and Michel Vaucher traced the first hiking routes. Be careful on the rest of the course: the step of the rock requires vigilance and a safety rope for the less experienced. 

And if you hike from April to May (the climbing period is between October and May), find out beforehand about the “rue”, a plant that can cause very severe burns. You will have been warned.

5. Destination Brittany on the GR34 or the Sentier des Douaniers

  • Distance : 1 800 km
  • Level : easy/medium
  • Recommended period : October to May
Côte de Granit Rose

Who hasn’t once in their life spent their family vacation on a background of pancakes with salted butter and raw cider? 

If Brittany is known for its gastronomic delights, it is also known for its incredible natural heritage, which sometimes gives it the air of being at the end of the world (finisterians raise their hands). Some will even go so far as to say that it is unlike any other region in France, and we quite agree.

Its Celtic landscape where rocky creeks, granitic points, moors, mountains and tides mingle is reminiscent of that of Ireland or Scotland. We are almost surprised not to hear the sound of bagpipes in the distance. Here, hikers enter wild, untamed land, harboring landscapes that remain forever etched in the climber’s retina. 

On your way, don’t forget to stop at one of the tourist spots that are the pride of the region, such as Saint-Malo , a corsair city bordered by ramparts, or the mythical forest of Brocéliande , which gave birth to the famous legends of the King Arthur. Without forgetting Pont-Aven and its incredible galettes (for the walker’s peckishness)!

randonnee-saint-malo_h1z60u_1_dyamvl.jpg

Even if it is (very) difficult to choose between the many itineraries offered by the Kouign Amann country, it is impossible not to mention the messiah of French long-distance hiking trails: the GR 34 or “customs path” , which is extends over almost 1800 km along the coast of Brittany. Translation: you have a view of the coast… pretty much all the time.

As its name suggests, the Sentier des Douaniers once allowed customs officers to criss-cross the coast in order to monitor the smugglers who came to venture there. With the appearance of long-distance hiking routes, the Sentier des Douaniers is experiencing a second wind and is marked with the famous white and red marks. Today, we can therefore go around the Breton coast, from Mont Saint-Michel to the Arzal dam, in Morbihan .

Cap Fréhel

On this hiking trail, the scenery speaks for itself: wild coasts, marshes, beach dunes, rocky points, arid moors, deep creeks… A little more and you would think you were Christopher Columbus discovering a land unexplored! The essentials of the route are of course the Bay of Mont Saint-Michel , but also the coasts of Granite Rose and, how can we forget, Abers: the tip of Finistère

Unless you have unlimited time for your hike, you will need to cut the pear in half, or even more. 

If you are the “Côtes d’Armor forever” type, you can focus on the western part of the Bay of Saint-Brieuc, on the Goëlo coast. This 4-day itinerary (72 km) offers you a beautiful summary of nature, between sandy beaches, gates and rocky points. The icing on the cake: its cliffs are among the highest in Brittany.

Mont Saint Michel

A word of warning: the route is generally quite easy, but a section remains quite technical between Bonaparte beach and Le Palus. We pass by the cliffs of Plouha , the highest point in Brittany, culminating at 104 meters. This zone requires a good physical condition and the habit of heights. But the game is worth the effort because once you get to the top, you can admire the magnificent panorama that stretches from the bay of Saint-Brieuc to Cap Fréhel .

Another possibility for the less experienced: the Perros Guirrec – Ploumanac’h trail , located on the Pink Granite Coast , recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The rocks, sculpted by the sea and the wind, have an astonishing morphology. The most creative will see a Napoleon hat, a dog, a turtle, or even a mushroom. Up to you !

6. The Tour of the Pic du Midi d’Ossau (Pyrenees Atlantiques)

  • Distance : 17 km environ 
  • Ascent : about 1000 m
  • Duration : 1 day (or even 2 if you want to stop over) 
  • Total walking time : 7h30 on average
  • Level : difficult 
  • Recommended period : from May to October
randonnee-pic-du-midi-ossau_k2ffov_1_vfqvew.jpg

The Pyrénées Atlantiques also have their share of wild nature to offer. Peaks, caves, lakes, waterfalls: you will be amazed. The department owes its name to its geographical location, and is therefore endowed with 32 kilometers of coastline. On the program: fine sand and endless cliffs. It is also the area with the best waterways in France. You can therefore take full advantage of the torrents, streams and rivers that punctuate the course of the hiking trails. 

One of the great classics of Pyrenean hiking is undoubtedly the Ossau Valley and its national park which crosses a small piece of the Iberian Peninsula. Ranked in the top 6 of our ranking of the most beautiful hikes in France , the Tour du Pic du Midi d’Ossau will delight lovers of the great outdoors. A former volcano perched at an altitude of 2884 m and recognizable among all by its shape (because it looks like a tooth!), the Pic du Midi d’Ossau dominates and is magically reflected in the Ayous lakes

The landscape is shaped by the many forests, pastures, canyons, lakes, torrents which make it the ideal place to recharge your batteries (and drop your mobile phone). Small peculiarity of the place? The park includes a nature reserve whose primary mission is to encourage the reproduction of griffon vultures. It is therefore not uncommon to see these pretty two-winged beasts watching us out of the corner of their eyes… 

The start of the Tour du Pic du Midi d’Ossau is from Bious-Artigues, located at an altitude of 1,417 m. You will then have the opportunity to discover Lake Bious-Artigues and Lake Peyreguet during your excursion. 

If you don’t want to do the hike in a single day and take your time, we advise you to stop halfway, at the Refuge de Pombie

Pic d'Ossau

Another regional splendor made our little mountain dweller heart beat faster: the Chemin de la Mâture and its 700 meters of drop. In the 17th century, the sailing navy needed giant trees for the construction of tall masts, which are found in droves in the forests of the Pyrenees. Never mind, a certain engineer by the name of Leroy had a colossal job carried out: a path carved into a gigantic limestone wall, which we can now cross. 

La Mâture is one of the few difficulties present on the course. Without being too complicated, the Chemin de la Mâture still has some technical areas such as the three chimneys that block the path at the Col de Suzon (2127 meters). Also note that some holds are fairly spaced out and that it is best to rope yourself up, especially on the descent. Plan a helmet too, especially in times of crowds. 

Along your journey, we challenge you not to fall for the succulent local sheep’s cheese, which would capsize the most cynical of taste buds… It is not uncommon to come across shepherds accompanied by their flocks. 

Herd in the Pyrenees

If you are also a fan of speleology, we strongly advise you to visit the Barétous Valley and its lunar landscape. It has some of the deepest sinkholes in the world. Not to be missed under any circumstances: the Gouffre de la Pierre Saint Martin , which descends to a depth of 1342 m or La Verna, a geological site famous throughout the world.

In short, you just have to be careful in the few difficult areas and be in good physical condition. The ideal season to complete the Tour du Pic du Midi d’Ossau : from May to October.

7. The GR10 or Crossing the Pyrenees

  • Distance : 1 100 km 
  • Duration : between 65 and 70 days on average
  • Recommended period : from June to October  
GR10 Crossing the Pyrenees

Among the treasures of the Pyrenees, we can place the GR10, also called La Traversée des Pyrénées, in the top three of the list without hesitation. From Banyuls to Hendaye , La Grande Traversée des Pyrénées crosses all the regions of the Pyrénées Atlantiques and Orientales over approximately 1100 kilometres, alternating between valleys, peaks and passes.

It is not easy to choose ONE point that would particularly mark the course as it is complex and diversified. Along the way, you come across white and red villages in the colors of the Basque Country , verdant valleys that have nothing to envy to the Icelandic pastures, as well as fauna and flora to make the mountain dwellers of France and Navarre jealous.

Small warning for those who would like to travel the entire GR10 . Unless you have time to figure out what to do with it, it will be quite difficult for you to do it all in one go. It takes a month and a half or even two months to reach Banyuls. Many people therefore choose to do only part of it. 

On our side, we fell in love with the Basque part of the route with its villages nestled at the bottom of the valleys (don’t miss La Bastide-Clairence, ranked among “the most beautiful villages in France”). The course lasts 7 days on average, making a loop from Bayonne. 

Nothing better to learn about regional customs than this route, along the coastal cliffs, ridges and forests and giving you the opportunity to make all kinds of gastronomic stops. Suffice to say that we didn’t have to be asked to taste the delicious Itxassou black cherry (pronounced Itchassou), as well as the Espelette peppers, sheep’s cheese, Bayonne ham and other local specialities. You would be wrong to deprive yourself of it!

Aside from filling our stomachs as it should, the GR10 also sends our eyes full with its two essentials of the Pyrenean landscape: the ocean and the mountains as far as the eye can see. A word of advice, go for a dip at Hondarribia beach if you have the chance. It is located in the Spanish part, not far from Hendaye .

The summit of La Rhune (Larrun in Basque) is also one of the key points of the trip, from the top of its 900 meters in height. It offers a 360° view of the entire Basque coast and is home to all kinds of animal species (horses, sheep, vultures, pottoks): something to fill – for the most connected among you – your Instagram at galore. You can reach the top by taking one of the many footpaths, or by boarding the Petit Train de la Rhune (typical cogwheel train) if time is short. 

Herd of Goats in the Pyrenees

For the entire GR10 , the three hiking keys are required: a good knowledge of the mountain environment , good physical condition and a good sense of direction . Regarding this section in particular, do not embark on the adventure if you are looking for a simple fitness walk. We walk  4 to 6 hours on average per day, with an elevation gain of 300 to 500 meters. Sunday athletes will therefore have to find a plan B.

8. The Ways of Santiago de Compostela

The Circus of Gavarnie

With outrageously good sheep’s cheese, another gem takes its place in the Pyrenean heritage: Saint Jacques de Compostela . Legend has it that in the 9th century, a hermit named Pelayo received the revelation of the location of the tomb of Saint James, one of the twelve apostles of Christ, which was pointed out to him by supernatural lights. Following this, the bishop of the place would have ordered excavations which, according to the statements, led to the “holy body”. A building was then built on the same site, which today attracts pilgrims from all over the world.

From France, there are 4 different routes to get there, departing from Le Puy-en-Velay, Arles , Tours or Vézelay . The 4 routes are found in one and the same place, at the gates of Spain, in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port , in the heart of the Basque country. One route deserves special attention: the via Podiensis (signposted GR 65 ), which connects Puy-en-Velay to Santiago de Compostela. 

Every year, thousands of visitors take this historic path, which owes its notoriety to its unprecedented decor. Like Indiana Jones, one would almost want to track down the regional treasures that punctuate the road to the sanctuary. Ancient volcanoes, green hills, streams, broom, pine woods… No doubt, we are well between the magnificent Basque region and the land of Cervantes. Among these natural phenomena, the Aubrac plateau is one of the unmissable ones. Dotted with gigantic boulders and crystalline lakes, Aubrac quite naturally invites contemplation and is one of the highlights of the route.

Aubrac

Added to this are the many historical monuments that made Santiago de Compostela part of the legend. Among them, Notre Dame du Puy-en-Velay, known for its famous Black Madonna. It was visited by so many pilgrims that it was obliged, in the 12th century, to be enlarged by four bays. 

Architecture buffs will also appreciate the Valentré bridge , listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, emblem of medieval aesthetics in terms of defence. 

But beware, Compostela is not a place of pilgrimage for nothing: 750 km separate the two roaming points, or about a month’s walk . Once again, it is better to have time in front of you… and training for a marathon runner. 

Rest assured, you will not receive divine retribution if you choose the easy way. As the saying goes: it’s the thought that counts. Attention, shortened path does not mean zero difficulty. Depending on the routes chosen, the elevations can reach 2300 meters and some passages are very steep. If you are not too sure of yourself, take the Puy-en-Velay – Nasbinals path instead, accessible to beginner hikers. Count 6 to 7 days of walking for the latter.  

randonnee-aubrac_ukrdvp_1_xuaz17.jpg

If you want more information on this hike, quickly read our article Santiago de Compostela: from the pilgrimage to the modern way.

9. The GR70 to discover the Stevenson path in the Cévennes (Haute-Loire, Lozère, Gard)

randonnee-cevennes_hcmbei_1_h0gnke.jpg

A little reading now because the Chemin de Stevenson owes its name to the Scottish writer of the same name who recounts in his book Voyage avec un âne au pays des Cévennes , his journey through the Cévennes on foot. It leaves from Haute-Loire and crosses the whole of Lozère to reach, twelve days later, Saint-Jean-du-Gard with a single female donkey carrying her pack. The enthusiasm for this work is such that in 1978, a hiking route was specifically set up on the occasion of the centenary of the trip. It was then integrated into the long-distance hiking network as the GR70 .

By following the route, we understand better why the writer was swooned by the Cévennes landscapes which are reminiscent of the Scottish Highlands, especially when arriving at Langogne, the former province of Gévaudan . It is also here that the legend of the ferocious beast of Gévaudan was born, surely due to the mysticism of the place. Landscape of moors, swamps covered with heather, forest of birches, expanse of rocks: it is better to keep your cool.

During this initiatory journey we discover, among other things, all the charms of Lozère which, like Brittany, gives itself the air of the end of the world. It is quite simply THE ideal place to make a silent retreat because it is the highest and least populated department in France. The GR70 therefore has its place in our top 10 of the most beautiful hikes in France. 

And how not to fall under the charm of the Cévennes terraces, which seem straight out of the traditional Chinese countryside. They owe their existence to the many farmers who once worked in the area. The space being limited, they chose to develop the territory in this way, to the delight of today’s hikers.

Several route options are possible. Some take the decision to stop halfway through a week of hiking, while the most ambitious choose to go to the end of the trails taken by our Scottish friend. The Chemin de Stevenson starts from Le Puy-en-Velay , a tasty mix of volcanic landscapes and high agricultural plateaus. During your trip, you will have the opportunity to cross the Gévaudan and its small welcoming valleys then the Mont Lozère , a strange and hostile massif with tawny colors, before reaching the Cévennes and its Cévennes valleys. 

randonnee-lozere_il64sx_1_gnttlg.jpg

If you lack the time or the forces, you can stop your route at Chasserades . Dry your tears, even halfway the trail is worth the trek. You can admire the sublime view of the Bassin du Puy , cross the Gorges de la Loire and, if you keep your eyes open, you may have the opportunity to come across some vestiges of the Cevennes past. Many washhouses, shoeing looms, ovens, wayside crosses are hidden along the route. It’s time to activate the Sherlock Holmes within you.

In the technical department, no particular difficulties so no reason to postpone your trip! On the other hand, favor spring as the starting period. Beware of the months of July and August which can be very hot and stormy. Autumn, meanwhile, is quite foggy and rainy. 

10. Le Tour du Mont-Blanc: a grand panorama

  • Distance : 170 km environ
  • Duration : 7 days to 10 days
  • Level : medium
  • Recommended period : July – August 
Lac de Chéserys Tour of Mont Blanc

Last of our selection of the most beautiful hikes in France : The Tour du Mont Blanc . The “roof of Europe” fascinates more than one with its majestic ridges and eternal snow. What mountaineer has not, at least once in his life, dreamed of striking a pose on his imposing 4810 meter summit, just to say “I did it”? But beyond the big M, you can also make your dreams come true by exploring the surroundings of this mythical place.

The Tour du Mont-Blanc is considered one of the most beautiful hikes in the world . It does not care about borders and brings together the hellish Alpine trio, namely France, Switzerland and Italy. The good news ? All categories of climbers can put their soles on it! We can thus approach the guru of climbers, without losing a toe. In addition, you can choose between several itineraries, bivouac or accompanied by a guide for example.

Among the mythical ascents that can be made around Mont-Blanc , we can notably mention the Fenêtre d’Arpette , which culminates at 2665 meters above sea level. With its 1000 meters of vertical drop on each side, the ascent is relatively demanding but it reveals, at the end of the route, the superb Trient glacier . On the other hand, in view of the number of people taking this path, avoid the high season. 

For those who only have one week of vacation, the loop of Saint-Gervais-le-Fayet is a possibility. It takes a week and includes many “must-do’s”, in particular the Contamines-Montjoie nature reserve

All Chamonix residents will tell you that she has quite a corner of it. The highest reserve in France, it has the greatest difference in altitude: 2800 meters of mountain nature just for your beautiful eyes. We find there the usual fauna of forest areas (roe deer, badger, fox, deer, etc.) but also that typical of the Alps. To you the marmots, ibex, chamois and other cute creatures (if you manage to approach them). The reserve climbs above the col des fours, and gives a view of the superb glacier of Tré la Tête , which extends over approximately one thousand hectares. A worthy climb…

During the passage in Italy, we loved the climb in the Alps of the Col de la Seigne (2516 meters) which marks the entrance to the big boot. The massifs are even more majestic there and the descent gives a view of the pretty lake of the Miage glacier . This stage will give you the opportunity to discover the surrounding Italian villages, in particular that of Courmayeur, capital of the Italian Alps. 

The Swiss mountain pastures arrive towards the end of the route, just in time to taste their famous Alpine cheeses. 

White Lake

The ascent ends with a breathtaking hike, from Lac des Chéserys to Lac Blanc , offering the hiker a breathtaking view of the surrounding glaciers. Who said that Mont-Blanc was a must?  

Count 5 to 6 hours of walking per day on average if you do the Tour du Mont-Blanc in a week and positive elevations ranging from 800 to 1100ƒa reh m. 

Our 4 essential products for hiking in France

4 must-have Sierra Designs items for hiking in France

That’s it, you’re about to grab your backpack and your hiking shoes and set off on one of the 10 most beautiful hikes in France that we have just presented to you. However, don’t rush, because you won’t enjoy even the most beautiful hike without the right equipment. This is why we have concocted a selection of 4 products for you, which we believe will be your best allies for a quality wilderness adventure. 

First essential and probably the most important element of a hiking outfit: your hiking backpack . Indeed, this one allows you to take with you everything you will need during your hike, from your equipment (sticks, ropes or helmet) to your clothes, including your food, or your first aid kit. . However, your backpack should be chosen according to the duration and type of climb you are about to do. It should not be too big or too small, so as not to clutter up unnecessarily and therefore suffer from too heavy a load, or conversely, lack essential resources for the smooth running of your hike . theOrtovox Traverse 40 , with a modular volume of 40 liters, will be ideal for not missing anything during a medium to long hike. Light, comfortable, and equipped with numerous storage pockets, this hiking backpack adapts to your desires, and follows you faithfully in all your adventures!

The day finally over, it’s time to set up your camp, to rest and be in shape for the rest of your hike. The MSR Hubba Hubba NX tent , light, solid and spacious, will be ideal for two-person hikers concerned about the weight of their load and the functionality of their camp!

Finally, what would a good restorative night’s sleep be without a sleeping bag and a hiking mattress that is as comfortable as it is protective? The Mountain Hardwear Lamina 15F-9C is innovative and very clever. And for absolute comfort all night long, we recommend the Thermarest NeoAir UberLight mattress is a must for all hikers!

As you will have understood, there is no shortage of choice in France if you want to get away from it all for a few days or even a few weeks! No need to break your piggy bank to go to the end of the world, the most beautiful hikes are near you! 

Previous articleThe 10 best places in the world to surf
Next articleThe 15 most beautiful beaches in Europe