From mountain villages to crystal clear coastal waters, there is a walking holiday in France to suit every taste. Don't forget to round off your trip with a glass of France's most famous export from your region's vineyards. Bon vacances!
Surrounding this glitz and glamour of Monaco and the Cote d'Azur, is the uniquely French region of Provence. Famed for its cuisine, lavender fields and relaxed way of life, you can truly lose yourself in this rustic French paradise. The everchanging landscapes are alive with colour and you can see why Provence attracted a host of famous artists like Rénoir, Chagall, Cézanne and Picasso.
Arguably the home of the greatest gastronomy in France, Burgundy offers some of the greatest examples of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in the world. Medieval villages pepper the rolling agricultural land making walking in Burgundy a sheer delight.
Walking holidays in France don't come more unique than hiking in Brittany. The standing stones at Carnac, Perros-Guirec with its pink granite, the stunning city of Vannes and amazing beaches are all compounded by the vibrant Breton culture. A unique and passionate part of France, definitely not to be missed.
Taking a walking holiday in the Alps is by far the best way to discover the area. The Tour du Mont Blanc is one of the world’s great walks. Challenging and rewarding hikes, fantastic food and drink, sleeping in huts jotted along the scenic trails that traverse France, Switzerland and Italy – the TMB is a hiking holiday dream come true. This is the Alps at it's finest.
The Loire provides the freshest, most delicate Sauvignon Blanc in the world. It is so beautifully put together that you will occasionally feel you are walking in a fairy tale. Grandiose chateaux and perfectly manicured gardens back onto fields of arrow-straight vines. Loire wines are a perfect accompaniment to fish, so just as well the cuisine here is as perfect as the rest of the region.
France is the world's most popular tourist destination. 82million people per year visit France. The Gare du Nord in Paris is Europe's busiest train station, with 190million passengers passing through per year. (built in 1846 it is also one of the worlds oldest train stations.) Tourist highlights include The Palace of Versailles, Cote d'Azur, Mont St Michel and Carcassonne. Oh, and of course, Paris.....
Paris has 30 million visitors every year and when you look at its attractions, you quickly understand why. Of course, there is the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and Champs-Élysées. There is the Louvre, the most visited museum in the world, and another 170+ museums too. There are 830 libraries, and well over 150 churches and cathedrals including Notre Dame and Sacre Coeur. And after checking all this out, it is lucky it is the birthplace of cafe culture and you can rest your weary feet and indulge in some amazing people watching.
There are 27 Regions in France, divided into 101 Departement. These regions all boast proud traditions, unique local gastronomy and their own distinct and unique style of wine. The Dordogne is full of stunning rural villages and medieval towns. Burgundy has a heavy emphasis on wine-making and local produce and the Isle of Corsica is rugged and mountainous, fringed with heavenly white beaches.
The French consume 11.2 billion glasses of wine each year. It is not that they are particularly heavy drinkers, but wine is so deeply ingrained in the culture of France, that it fuels the passion of the people. Each region's wines are distinctive and famed for different styles and grape varieties. Bordeaux produces bold, strong reds, based on 5 grapes (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Petit Meunier and Cabernet Franc) Burgundy produces earthy, complex Pinot Noir and intensely deep and varied Chardonnay, while the Rhône produces spicy, bold reds like the famous Chateauneuf du Pape. You can easily lose yourself in conversation about wine in France.
Learn the Language. It is common courtesy to learn a few words of the local language and in France, it will help a lot. While there are always stories about French people being rude to foreigners, it is not really true. Everything in France starts with a 'Bonjour,' and learning a few helpful phrases is definitely a good idea.
Lunchtime is sacred time. France loves to lunch. It is a time of day that is specifically set aside which means that many shops, banks etc will be closed for at least 2 hours, from around 12-2. Sundays are also very quiet, with most supermarkets and shops closing all day. Sunday lunch is family time and the French take it very seriously.
Take local recommendations. French people know their food and drink and often are very proud of their local produce. When it comes to eating in drinking, it is often a good idea to ask for a recommendation. There are over 450 types of cheese in France and more wine than you can imagine. A little local knowledge is definitely the way to get the best out of your adventure.
No need to Tip. There is a service charge included in every hotel, restaurant, bar and café so there is no tipping required on a walking holiday in France. Other money saving tips would be to drink at the bar, rather than taking a table, ask for the Vin Ordinaire (house wine) which will likely be good and well priced and many restaurants will offer formules or menus, which are set menus that are a lot cheaper than à la carte.
Learn the Art de Vivre. The Art de Vivre is the French way of living life. It is almost a form of mindfulness, but really just means that you need to savour the moments, enjoy each mouthful of wine or moment spent enjoying the superb views. Also, you should get into the rhythm of other people living like this, i.e. service might be slower, things might be closed when you would expect them not to be, mobile phones may be switched off at the weekends.
Walking in France FAQs
Q: What is the currency in France?
A: France currently uses the Euro as it's currency. You can easily withdraw Euros from ATMs in France or change your currency before you travel.
Q: Is there good mobile/cell phone coverage?
A: In the main towns and cities the coverage is excellent. Much of France is rural and wild, but even there the signal can be strong. Wifi is widely available in hotels/cafes/bars.
Q: Can I drink the water?
A: The tap water in France is both safe and pleasant to drink. However, there are many French mineral waters which are considered better tasting than the tap water.
Q: Is the public transport good in France?
A: The train service in France is excellent and connects most French cities and towns. In more rural areas there is a decent bus service, but any information you need on local transportation will be provided in your Macs Adventure information pack.
Q: What food can I expect in France?
A: France is always touted as one of the greatest countries for gastronomy, indeed French cooking has been put on UNESCO's 'world intangible heritage' list. Much of French cuisine focuses on getting the best out of local ingredients, so while you can certainly eat snails and frogs legs, you will more often find simpler roasted meats and vegetables, but treated with such care that great flavour bursts forth from behind their simple facade.
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