France is an unlimited, lovely and various nation with hundreds of locations to find and go to. Whether you’re into excessive mountains with glaciers, calm seas, rolling barrels, rivers with gorges or lakes, large forests, salt marshes, volcanoes – or nearly another geographic characteristic – you will see that it in “the Hexagon”, because the natives name it!
Of course, its magnificence and variety make France one of the crucial visited nations on the earth. There are an entire host of in style locations which magnetize many vacationers year-round. However, there are additionally loads of lesser-known little nuggets of open-air pleasure so that you can uncover. We have put collectively 10 hidden gems in France, for many who wish to keep away from the crowds:
1 – Labeaume in Ardèche
This charming city, situated within the Gorges de la Baume, has a serene ambiance and its very personal character. On the banks of the river Baume, alongside limestone cliffs that after housed troglodytic caves, you will see that a church and outdated homes lining slim streets. This village is ideal for strolling, so lose your self in its slim streets, which is able to information you to the highest of the village. Enjoy the distinctive view from the highest. If it’s scorching, don’t neglect your swimwear so you possibly can benefit from the river to chill off! This is the right place to wild swim and really feel your batteries recharging.
2 – Cap Blanc-Nez and Gris-Nez on the Opal Coast
Cap Blanc-Nez and Cap Gris-Nez collectively kind one of many 13 nationwide tourism spots with the “Grand Site de France” label.
At Cap Blanc-Nez, admire chalk cliffs which fall into the ocean, taking a hike alongside the excessive a part of the cliffs. There is a 6.5km route referred to as the Cap Blanc-Nez loop.
As for Cap Gris-Nez, the closest level on the French coast to England, it’s distinguished by its sandstone and clay cliffs. Its lighthouse is listed as a Historic Monument. There are many waymarked trails to stroll, such because the ‘Cap Gris-Nez 3km loop’, the GR120 lengthy distance mountaineering path or the ‘Customs path’. Read our article on the Côte d’Opale for extra.
3 – Cap d’Erquy and Cap Fréhel in Brittany
Get a change of surroundings whenever you go to the Capes of Erquy and Fréhel. Discover a mix of pink sandstone cliffs, wild moors, seashores and pine woods, all with the backdrop of an emerald sea and dotted with characterful villages.
In the spring, the pink of the cliffs is blended with the intense yellow of gorse flowers, whereas in the summertime, you’ll see the purple of heather. Numerous plant species reside right here and the Cap d’Erquy is a haven for seabirds. Meanwhile, the view from Cap Fréhel might be one of the crucial lovely in Brittany.
You can hike the GR34 between the 2 Capes and benefit from the lovely surroundings, seashores and coves. Cool off with a swim within the clear waters. After, don’t neglect to style the Erquy scallops.
4 – Vulvoz waterfall within the Jura
In the Jura, about 13km south of Saint Claude, the 22-metre Vulvoz waterfall is an actual marvel. It has quite a few ranges, plateaus of emerald inexperienced water. Superb images assured! Access to the waterfall is kind of simple, you solely have to do a couple of 5-minute stroll. But do ensure you put on the proper sneakers, as the trail is steep.
5 – Grotte Saint-Marcel in Ardèche
With 60 km of galleries, Grotte Saint-Marcel, found in 1836, is among the largest caves in France. Although not unknown, it’s much less frequented than some caves, which makes it probably the greatest hidden gems of France. Unique in Europe, you possibly can uncover a 400 m lengthy circuit which follows an historic underground river, massive rooms and galleries and a waterfall of about 100 calcite basins. Light exhibits and music make nature’s present much more dramatic. The Saint Marcel cellar close by additionally provides wine-making excursions.
6 – The Soubeyrane cliffs within the Bouches-du-Rhône
Love mountaineering challenges and sumptuous views? This path is for you! It runs alongside the highest sea cliff in France, nearly 400 metres above sea stage, between La Ciotat and Cassis. You’ll come throughout a lot of viewpoints to admire the panorama over Cassis or the bay of La Ciotat. At the tip of the afternoon or at sundown, you’ll get pleasure from a panoramic view, with magnificent colors. (Note that this stroll might be not appropriate for anybody with a worry of heights or babies.)
7 – Néouvielle National Nature Reserve within the Hautes-Pyrénées
Rising from 1,800 to three,091 metres, the Néouvielle reserve is a “mountain in the heart of the Pyrenees”, an imposing granite barrier between the valley and the two,313-hectare nationwide nature reserve within the Néouvielle massif. What makes it particular? Its very various fauna and flora: round 370 animal species and 570 sorts of algae.
This reserve is just 15-20 km from Aragnouet, the final city earlier than the Spanish border, and was labeled as a nationwide nature reserve in 1968. Meadows, crystal clear waters, pine forests and glaciers – you can be amazed by the sumptuous landscapes and panoramas. We suggest visiting between June and September to get pleasure from it at its finest, and to plan to find it on foot or by e-bike (out there for rent on web site). Canoes or kayaks are additionally out there to lease on web site. Get extra info on the Pyrenees National Park info level on the Orédon automotive park.
8 – Commarque Castle within the Dordogne
The Dordogne is well-known for its magnificent châteaux and its chic nature, and plenty of vacationers come to go to them yearly. Rather less in style and frequented than others, Commarque Castle is among the hidden gems of France nicely price a go to. It is a hillside citadel situated between Sarlat and Les Eyzies.
Built within the twelfth and 14th centuries, the fortress of Commarque might be the most intricate medieval advanced within the Périgord. We assure that your go to might be distinctive, as actions and exhibits complement the pure and constructed curiosity: an escape recreation, a show of knights’ abilities, a guided tour and a scorching air balloon flight from the foot of the Castrum.
Discover extra castles in our article on the castles of the Dordogne and Loire Valley.
9 – Lake Lauvitel in Isère
Located within the commune of Le Bourg-d’Oisans, that is the largest lake within the Écrins massif. A good way to get pleasure from it’s to hike for about an hour and a half up the wooded hill, from La Danchère to La Lauvitel. There are just a few good viewpoints alongside the way in which to catch your breath. But the view from the highest is de facto magnificent: you can be amazed by the great thing about the blue water and the encircling mountains, but in addition the waterfall within the center that feeds the lake with recent glacial water. After your hike, you’ll have earned a refreshing dip and a picnic.
10 – The village of Salers in Cantal
The village of Salers, labeled among the many most lovely villages of France, is a medieval village, situated above the Maronne valley, within the regional pure park of the volcanoes of Auvergne. The Belfry Gate and the Martille Gate are the one stays of the medieval ramparts that after protected the village.
You will fall below the spell of this distinctive village, which takes you again in time as you stroll by its streets. Don’t miss the church of Saint-Mathieu, with its Romanesque porch, tombs, chandeliers and Aubusson tapestries.
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