Hiking in France: 10 Best Hikes in France to Explore

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In search of the best hikes in France to explore? Look no further than these 10 exciting French hikes!

Nothing can parallel the experience of exploring France on holiday! The country’s stunning architecture, amazing art, French landmarks, and beautiful cities coupled with the striking diversity of landscapes make France a must-visit destination in Europe. 

Best hikes in France
Best hikes in France

But what makes France even more alluring, especially to outdoor and nature lovers is the incredible array of hikes that pass through gorgeous alpine scenery, along striking coastlines, and many picturesque, historic villages.

Whether you’re looking for a tougher multi-day hike or wanting a more moderate French hiking experience, with a spot of French glamping along the way, then this guide is perfect for you.

Here we’ll list various hikes differing in difficulty and length so you can find the perfect hike for you!

So, pack your bags, and let’s get ready to explore this amazing country on foot on these 10 amazing hikes of France! 

10 Stunning French Hikes to Explore

1. Tour du Mont Blanc

Where: Mont Blanc hike takes you through Italy, France, and Switzerland
Type of route: A circular route that begins and ends with Les Houches, France
The time needed: Around 11 days to complete
Level of difficulty: Hard

Tour du Mont Blanc
Tour du Mont Blanc

Tour du Mont Blanc should be at the top of your list when hiking in France. It is one of the most popular long-distance treks that is easily accessible from multiple locations.

However, you need to be very fit and an experienced hiker to tackle this physically demanding route that covers roughly 170 kilometers / 105 miles.  

The trek takes you through stunning landscapes and high alpine environments through three different countries (Italy, France, and Switzerland).

You can stop wherever you want for a break or snack stop at the numerous sites along the way. Enjoy some spectacular views of the Chamonix Valley and Mont Blanc and do be surprised if you are spot an Ibex or two.

2. Lac Blanc

Where: Take the lifts to get to the top of L’Index in Chamonix and then hike to Lac Blanc
Type of route: This can be done in either direction and the route type is a circuit.
The time needed: The ride up takes around ten minutes, and the hike will take around 4- 6 hours.
Level of difficulty: Intermediate

Lac Blanc
Lac Blanc

One of the most breathtaking hikes in France to explore, you simply cannot afford to miss this hike in the Aiguilles Rouges region, and every hiker coming to Chamonix must hike to Lac Blanc

Start your trip with a cable car ride and admire the stunning scenery around.

Once you get down and arrive at the summit, you are welcomed by the sight of the ethereally beautiful jewel-like glacial lakes surrounded by the snow-covered peaks of the Aiguilles Rouges. 

You are likely to come across Ibex and marmots in the area, and the high rocky path is clearly marked on the stony route.

3. The GR20 Hiking Trail

Where: Corsica
Type of route:North (Calenzana) to the south (Conca) or the other way round
The time needed: Around 14-16 days
Level of difficulty: Very difficult

GR20 Hiking Trail 2
GR20 Hiking Trail

The GR20 hiking trail is one of the toughest long-distance hikes in Europe stretching along for around 180 kilometers / 112 miles. Forget renting a car in Corsica – see the island on foot!

The legendary trail is very popular with advanced hikers and takes you through rocky hillsides and dramatic wild gorges. 

The hike on the remote terrain is a test of physical endurance plus a psychological challenge but also one of the most beautiful in France. Trekkers find both the northern and southern sections of the hike equally difficult.

GR20 Hiking Trail
GR20 Hiking Trail

Only experienced and physically fit hikers must opt for the GR20 hike. There are huts available throughout the trail at various points for overnight stays.

4. Mare a Mare Sud

Where: Corsica
Type of route: Trailhead starts at Porto Vecchio and ends in Propriano
The time needed: 5 Days to complete
Level of difficulty: Intermediate

Mare a Mare Sud
Mare a Mare Sud

If the GR20 hike is too ambitious for you, then you can also consider the Mare a Mare Sud hike which is actually made up of three trails, the north trail, central trail, and the south trail that connect the east and west coast. 

These hikes are a lot more varied as they take you along the coast, into extensive lush forests, and over high mountain ridges.

It is indeed one of the best hikes in France for hikers and is the perfect choice for anyone who wants to explore and experience the island of Corsica.

Discover the natural beauty of Corsica, one of the most beautiful Mediterranean islands, explore ancient historical sites, visit small mountainous villages and enjoy stunning views over the mountains.

5. Cirque du Fer-à-Cheval

Where: Sixt-Fer-à-Cheval, Haute-Savoie, France
Type of route: Trailhead starts at Fer-à-Cheval’s car park, goes towards the Chalet du Prazon in the direction of Le Bout du Monde, and then back.
The time needed: Around 3-4 hours
Level of difficulty: Moderate

Cirque du Fer-à-Cheval
Cirque du Fer-à-Cheval

Yet another breathtaking hike to embark on in France is the Cirque du Fer-à-Cheval!

Once you start hiking to the far end of the valley, you are sure to lose all sense of time and place as your whole focus would be on the impressive scenery backed by snow-capped mountains, and sweeping views are sure to take your breath away. 

Admire the imposing limestone cliffs with their many waterfalls, and you are sure to come across several ibexes and marmots on the way.

This enjoyable hike is rated moderate due to the length and elevation.

Avoid hiking after November because of the risks of an avalanche.

6. Raz and Sizun Trek

Where: The Cape of Sizun in the West of Cornouaille
Type of route: Pointe du Raz 
The time needed: Around 3-5 hours
Level of difficulty: Medium

Phare de la Vielle
Phare de la Vielle

The Raz and Sizun Trek takes you along the rugged coastline bordered by rocky outcrops with spectacular landscapes. You are in one of the most beautiful parts of France and will simply love the trek that follows the idiosyncrasy of the terrain. 

Highlights of the trail include the famous Phare de la Vielle and the cape of Pointe du Raz.

Discover some of the most scenic villages of Brittany and get to know more about the architectural heritage of the sailcloth industry here.

Just walk along the rocky cliffs to enjoy the magnificent views and the spectacular landscapes.

7. Colorado Provençal

Where: Luberon, Southern France
Type of route: A circular trail that starts from the village of Roussillon 
The time needed: 2-3 hours
Level of difficulty: Easy

Colorado Provençal
Colorado Provençal

Colorado Provençal is located in the Luberon region that boasts a very colorful landscape.

As ochre, a natural pigment was previously extracted from the ground here; you’ll encounter different colors ranging from reds to oranges in some of the landscapes here. 

The trek will make you feel as if you are in Colorado because of the rock formations in white, red, and orange hues. The moderately trafficked hiking trail features a river and is popular for hiking, walking, and nature trips.

Some highlights of the trial include Chimney of the Fairies, the Sahara, or the White Desert. One can follow two distinct trails that take circular routes, Le Sahara and Les Belvédères.

8. The Pilgrim’s Trail

Where: From Bec d’Andaine 
Type of route: From Bec d’Andaine to Mont St. Michel
The time needed: Around 2 hours
Level of difficulty: Moderate

Bay of Mont St. Michel
Bay of Mont St. Michel

The Pilgrim’s Trail will take you across the sands of the Bay of Mont St. Michel, which is yet another beautiful spot to visit in France.

This is the same historical route that was used by the religious pilgrims since the Middle Ages and ends at the famous island of Mont St. Michel with the iconic Abbey. 

It is indeed one of the most scenic and popular treks in France with the route covering roughly 6.5 kilometers / 4 miles.

As part of the history of the trek, pilgrims from all over Europe used the trail to travel to Mont Saint Michel and the Abbey that dates back to the eleventh century.

9. Cirque de Gavarnie 

Where: Gavarnie
Type of route: A circular walk from Gavarnie village to the Cirque
The time needed: Around 2-3 hours.
Level of difficulty: Moderate

Cirque de Gavarnie 
Cirque de Gavarnie

The Cirque de Gavarnie hike is undoubtedly among the most popular hikes in the French Pyrenees. It is one of the beautiful natural sites in France and a UNESCO Global Heritage site today. 

There are more than a hundred hikes in the Gavarnie, and the Cirque de Gavarnie is the easiest of the region lasting for roughly 8.5 kilometers / 5.2 miles.

The scenic beauty gets dramatic after heavy rain, so be sure to wear proper shoes as the track can be damp and slippery.

The extremely popular walk offers you breathtaking views on the way with the majestic sight of Cirque du Gavarnie cliffs and the stunning waterfalls found here.

10. Camino Frances

Where: Camino de Santiago
Type of route: Begins in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port and ends in Spain in Santiago de Compostela
Time needed: Around 30 – 35 days
Level of difficulty: Medium to Hard

Saint-Jean Pied de Port
Saint-Jean Pied de Port

The Camino de Santiago route was one of the most important pilgrimage routes in Europe in medieval times and still remains one of the most popular to this day.

Whilst you can start this hike in Portugal or even from Spain, the French route is the longest and one of the most popular to hike. 

Whilst you can try to cover the 790 kilometers / 490-mile long journey over 35 days (averaging around 22 kilometers / 13 miles per day), many opt to break it down into smaller, more manageable routes instead. 

Starting in the characteristic Basque town of Saint-Jean Pied de Port this incredible journey will see you hike through the French Pyrenees Mountains and then passing through some pretty spectacular towns and cities of Northern Spain such as Pamplona, Logrono, Burgos, and Leon to name a few before eventually arriving at the endpoint at the imposing cathedral in Santiago de Compostela. 

We hope that you enjoyed these best hikes in France and can list some of your favorite French hikes in the comments below! Thanks!

Author Bio: 

Born and raised in South Africa, Marco Santos from Travel-Boo, currently resides in sunny Lisbon, Portugal. With an absolute love for Europe, he is on a mission to rediscover his own Portuguese & European heritage along the way.

Marco has set out to blog and share his passion for traveling through and exploring Spain, Portugal, and other parts of Europe, sharing what he’s learned through his travel blog Travel-Boo. 

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