Six Nations of the Outdoors: France

It’s difficult to escape the popularity of the Six Nations rugby tournament at this time of year, but while the teams duke it out on the field, we asked GO Outdoors blog readers to vote for which of the Six Nation countries was the best for the outdoors person. In joint 4th place you voted our friends, France.

Lets take a look at why France is great for adventure.

Six Nations of the outdoors joint 4th Place – France

France probably held an unfortunate disadvantage coming into this poll, it’s no secret as Brits there might be a little fist shaking when France is mentioned (it’s probably weather jealousy), or perhaps it’s that many haven’t given it a try; but France is a fantastic country for outdoor enthusiasts, boasting a wealth or variety for walkers, climbers and winter sports fans alike.

Here are 5 areas we think you should look at if you’re thinking of heading to France for your outdoor adventure holiday.


1) Mont Blanc & The Alps

Lets start with the obvious, you can’t have an article about the outdoors in France without mentioning Mont Blanc and the Alps. Highly popular with mountaineers and climbers alike, the Alps also welcome snow sports enthusiasts in their hoards (but you already know that). Mont Blanc is particularly special due to being the largest mountain in the European union, it’s often the next stop for those who have tackled the 3 peaks and have an appetite for conquering some more peaks.

If you don’t feel like tackling this alone, there are plenty of guide options that will show you safe ways to climb Mont Blanc with plenty of information to help you out. Mountain climbing is hugely popular in this region of France and well worth checking out.


2) Sentiers de Grande Randonnee (GRs)

France boasts 180,000km of signposted, long distance footpaths known as GRs, these footpaths make for ideal walking holidays with ranges of distances (e.g. One such GR stretches from Holland all the way to Nice). These paths are lined with camp-sites and hostels making them ideal multi-day activities. If you want to take on France by foot and the mountains aren’t for you, then the GRs offer ready made adventure. Shorter distance routes known as PRs are also available along with nature walks and much more local footpaths.


3) Pistes Cyclables

If discovery on foot isn’t for you, perhaps we can interest you in some of France’s 80,000km of marked cycle paths known as Pistes cyclables. Many French cities are well served with bicycle lanes, while there are an increasing amount of longer distance cycle routes available around the country. Most tour operators will be well versed in French cycling holidays, so whether you want to cycle as the main core of your holiday, or if it’s simply an addition to an already established stay, there should be plenty of cycle routes available for your to check out.


4) Camping/Caravanning

France love camping as much as we Brits do, for many campers France offers an option to get away from the unpredictable UK summer weather. If you’re looking for that holiday abroad on a camping budget, then France is a great option. With plenty of pre-pitched sites, and sites you can take your own tent. Drive onto the ferry and head over the channel for a summer of warm weather camping as well as all of the above in outdoor activities.


5) Horse Riding in France

Much like with Italy, the pretty scenery of France is ripe for taking in on horse back. Many cities and towns in France have equestrian centres where you can take on a guided horse ride, or even a donkey trek if that suits you more. As well as trips through luscious flatter areas of the country, including vineyards and coast line, there are plenty of guided trips in the Alps also.


As well as all of the above, France is wealthy on water-sports (surfing, wind surfing, kayaking) and adventure sports (hang gliding, climbing, caving) alike, making it worth a visit no matter what the season. There really is plenty on offer across the channel; So if you’re a little tired of the weather in the UK, we’d recommend the trip.

Join us next time when we take a look at fellow joint fourth spot ‘Ireland’.

Looking for more inspiration? Read our 6th place entrant Italy.