Walking, for the unacquainted, is a whole lot more than moving one leg in front of the other. For travellers, especially those looking to see the world in exciting new ways (which is all of us I’d hope), walking is special for a multitude of reasons. Not only does it get us up close and personal with the destinations we hope to discover, it also enables us to interact with people, in a way you can’t do on a midnight bus or flight somewhere, in the hope of forming new relationships and further deepening our experience of a place.
With so many places to give it a try all over the planet it’s France that I think is one of the world’s most special places. Home to so many distinctive regions each with unique walking adventures of their own, it’s this Western country that I think people interested in the concept of taking a walking trip or holiday should best come to know.
Still need further encouragement? Check out these eight reasons.
Geared Toward Non-Motorised Exploration
From the high passways of the French pyrenees to the ambling forest routes of the Cote D’Azur, France is a country that very much takes care of its walkers and cyclists alike. From villages and cities that cater specifically to non-motorised explorer, in restaurant deals, accommodation deals and even the roads, byways and walking paths themselves, there’s no better place on earth to make a start.
Another great reason for checking out France as a first-timer interested in walking? Guided tours.
France has a bunch of guided tours that run all over the country, that bring holidaymakers of all experiences and background levels together and seek to teach them more about the regions they find themselves in and also showcase some of its best geographical and cultural delights. In terms of making friends, a guided tour can also be something of a saving grace too, as you’ll often pass through many different towns and villages together while eating, drinking and walking until your hearts content.
Another reason is that they can help you refine your language skills too. As tours, like those of Belle France, are often conducted in French to give you even more of a cultural immersion experience.
France is possibly one of the most geographically diverse countries in Western Europe.
From its snow laden mountains in the Alps (and regions like Vercors and the Prealps too), to pristine beaches on both the Atlantic and Mediterranean sides of the country, France has almost everything any walker with a particular climate or landscape preference might want.
From deep gorges, to limestone cliffs, to beachside paths, to vineyard ambles, to busy city trails, there’s a whole world of walking in just one country.
Another great reason to get moving on your own two feet in France is one of the most famous walking routes that exists on the planet; the camino.
A ancient medieval pilgrimage route to the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, many of the way’s famous routes begin, start and pass through France, giving you a prime opportunity to enjoy portions of the trail and see what travelling the camino is all about in this day and age.
Staying in gites, hostels and hotels along the way, the camino is an experience like no other, bringing people from all different backgrounds together to enjoy the great outdoors revelling in the undeniable fact that walking brings you closer to the heavens than any other mode of exploration.
France is a fantastic place to begin your two-footed journeying. Seeing the world from the ground up, in as welcoming environment as this, might just make you re-think your need to ever hop into a bus or car again.
Cover photo: Port d’Orle, by Selden Vestrit.