Route Planning in France

Route Planning in France
France is a European country about 80 percent the size of Texas. Within the boundaries of France outdoor enthusiasts can find much to explore. The French countryside has many trails that are easy to walk. Visitors will also find large mountains to climb and even wild flamingos and horses to view close up. Travelers can easily plan a route that showcases the area's tremendous natural diversity as well as areas of historic importance. A trip that starts at the Camargue, encompasses the French Alps and ends with surfing in the Bay of Biscay can showcase all that wild France has to offer.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Step 1
Include the wild areas of France. While much of France remains urbanized, once you leave Paris, Lyon or Nice behind you can easily find huge pockets of wildlife. Once such area is the Camargue. Located at the southern tip of the famed district of Provence, the Camargue is one of the truly unspoiled regions left in the entire country. The Camargue is a marshy area that empties into the Mediterranean Sea. Within a short drive of the historic cities of Arles and Avignon travelers can view flocks of wild flamingos, untamed bulls and the area's widely admired white horses. Book a stay at a ranch to visit with French cowboys who will show you how to ride a horse. Walk through salt marshes to get a close up view of wild birds and native flowers. Hire a bike to follow the many trails that lead through the back county where you can see rice fields and lagoons. The Camargue is best explored with the help of a car.
Step 2
Hike the French Alps. The French Alps span several important peaks including Mount Blanc, the highest point in the entire Alps chain. You can get from the Camargue to the French Alps with a car in under a day. Visit the Alps during the winter when you can participate in many different winter sports. Try skiing in Grenoble or Chamonix. Explore the pretty town of Albertville, site of the 1992 winter Olympics. Take the Aiguille du Midi over 12,000 feet to enjoy one of Europe's most spectacular views. The round gondola brings you to the lift station where you can ride the elevator to the summit and see all of the Alps in one amazing glance.
Step 3
Go surfing in the Bay of Biscay. The Bay of Biscay is several hours drive from the French Alps. A car is necessity for travel between the two because there is no direct service by public transportation. France is bordered by three coasts that lead into the English Channel, the Mediterranean Sea and the Bay of Biscay. Some of the best surfing in Europe can be found in the area bordering the Bay of Biscay. Base yourself at the small resort town of Biarritz. Made fashionable at the turn of the last century by English kings and gentry, today Biarritz has waves that will delight any water lover. Rent a board or bring your own to try the swells just offshore. You'll find protected beaches, quaint villages and local Basque culture.

Tips & Warnings

Allow at least two or three days to explore each area fully.

Article Written By S. Herlihy

S. Herlihy has been a freelance writer since 2001. Her work has appeared in many publications, including "USA Today," "The Women’s Independent Press," "Big Apple Parent" and "ComputorEdge Magazine." Herlihy earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the City University of New York.

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