Several world-class mountain ranges, more than 3,000 kilometers of coastline, 30% of the territory covered with forests... France is a territory rich in natural landscapes, as varied as they are exceptional. And its inhabitants clearly understood it: the French would be nearly 20 million to hike.
So for the most demanding of them, as well as for the 90 million tourists visiting each year, we have concocted a list of the 10 most beautiful hikes in France. All to be done in a single day, while waiting for our selection of the most beautiful long-distance trails.
We start this selection with a must-have in Corsica: the needles of Bavella! Saw-toothed red peaks, rocky walls, streams, pines twisted by the wind... It is no coincidence that the Aiguilles de Bavella stand out from other hikes, in the heart of an island yet already well blessed by nature.
This one is a big loop trail to discover four lakes: Lac Blanc, Lac Noir, Lac Forlet (also known as Lac des Truites) and Lac Vert. The landscapes are varied, between the Vosges crests, the lawn of Faing and the many bodies of water. And the panoramas are superb, both over the Vosges and the Black Forest.
Cliffs overhanging the sea 70 meters, coastal paths, wind and raging waves... Here is a magnificent summary of Brittany! Starting from the Pointe du Van, this loop path runs along the Baie des Trépassés before going around the Pointe du Raz. Offshore, you can see the islet of La Vieille and the island of Sein.
At the other end of the country, here is a little corner of paradise nestled in the Mercantour National Park. This hike takes place in a beautiful pine forest to Mont Pelat, considered the most accessible peak over 3,000 meters in the Southern Alps. Allos Lake, located on the way, is the largest natural high altitude lake in Europe.
A little further north, here is a large loop to discover the Cerces massif, on the Franco-Italian border. It's sporty, but the magnificent and varied landscapes largely justify the effort.
We continue with the ascent of the highest point of the Vercors (2341m), which provides a 360 degree panorama. It is a rather sporty hike, where you may have the chance to observe ibexes, marmots, and sometimes even vultures.
Our last trail in the Alps, located between Thonon-les-Bains and Montreux, presents a pleasant setting between dense forests and ridges. But the highlight of the show comes from the magnificent viewpoints over Lake Geneva, Chablais and the Jura range.
Then, let's head to the Ossau valley in the Pyrenees. We do not know what seduces us the most in this route: the superb lakes of Ayou, or the breathtaking view of the Pic du Midi d'Ossau. Simply outstanding.
On the other side of the massif, here is the ascent to the highest point of the Pyrénées-Orientales. The summit offers a superb panorama of the many high-altitude lakes that border this idyllic walk.
Already voted the most beautiful waterfall in France by Hika, Gavarnie is also one of the most beautiful hikes in France. Its 422 meter high waterfall has a sumptuous setting, in the heart of a majestic glacial cirque traversed by a path accessible to all. A delight !
Cover image: © nicopphoto