The weather may not be exactly what we had in mind for June – even here in Chambéry, we’re currently looking out on grey skies! However that said, the countryside is lush and resplendent (thanks to the rain) and cooler temperatures are ideal for getting out to explore. We are lucky to have endless hiking, walking and rambling trails throughout France, so we turned to our knowledgeable team for their favourite places to head out into the great outdoors for a hike.
Grab your shoes, assemble a picnic, and engage your inner compass*; we’re going ambling!
*but also take a physical compass…and a map.
Pralognan, Northern Alps
Nearest airport: Chambery (1hr 20mins)
Nearby accommodation: Residence les Jardins de la Vanoise
Pralognan la Vanoise is a small village in the Northern Alps, situated in the Tarentaise valley. A popular family-friendly ski resort in the winter, come summer Pralognan’s hikers come out of hiding to explore the beautiful alpine countryside. The village is the starting point for many hiking routes – we’ve detailed two of our favourites below.
The Discovery Trail du Bois Glière
From Pralognan la Vanoise follow the trail in the direction of the Fontanettes parking lot. This trail is perfect for families, as it runs alongside the river, with plenty of interesting trees, wildlife (well, mainly bugs!) and plants to spot.
Duration: Half day
Elevation: 150 meters
Roc de la Valette
From Pralognan, head up the valley by car and park at the Prioux parking spot. Cross the road to find a little further ahead the path to the Roc de la Valette – it’s well signposted throughout the trail. Once at the top, the views across Pralognan and Vanoise glaciers from the cliff face are well worth the effort – trust us!
Duration: Full day
Elevation: 918 meters
Les Deux Alpes, Northern Alps
Nearest airport: Lyon St-Exupery (2 hours)
Nearby accommodation: Residence la Cime de Lans
Les Deux Alpes is a fun ski resort located in Isère, on the Ecrins massif. In winter the area welcomes skiers from around the world, but come summer, the resort bustles with walkers and outdoor adventurers. There are almost 200km of walking trails to choose from here, so if peace is all you’re after, you’re sure to find a trail all to yourself – even in peak season.
This route is very easy, so more than suitable for families or those simply looking to wander. It’s a relatively flat walk departing from the village of Aigaux, and you’ll pass the traditional Molière farm, where it’s even possible to stop in for a spot of cheese tasting. That’s one way to re-energise yourself on a lengthy walk!
Duration: Under two hours
Saint Sorlin d’Arves, Sybelles, Northern Alps
Nearest airport: Chambery (1hr 10mins)
Nearby accommodation: Résidence Les Fermes de Saint Sorlin
With over 100km of trails to choose from, Saint Sorlin d’Arves offers a different view at every turn. Whether easy or difficult, every walk in this region provides lovely views which more than make it worth the effort.
Le Glacier de l’étendard
Easy access from the Col de la Croix de Fer and offering every level from a gentle hike to an initiation in mountaineering! Many trails culminate at the very accessible glacier.
This walk is perfect for stunning alpine views of pastures, lakes and the magnificent Etendard Glacier. Start at the Col de la Croix de Fer, accessed from Saint Sorlin d’Arves. The first section is a little trial as you hike up a road, but after the path bottlenecks to stop car traffic, the trail becomes peaceful and beautiful. It’s said that in 40 years this glacier will have melted away, so make the hike while you still have the chance!
Length: 3 hours +
Altitude: 700 metres
Saint Jean de Monts, Vendée
Nearest airport: Île d’Yeu Airport (2hr, by ferry)
Nearby accommodation: Le Domaine de Vertmarines
Although the MV team reside in the mountains, that doesn’t stop us getting out and enjoying the coastal hikes throughout France! Strolls on the sand, through pine forests, and around towns offer more than their fair share of beautiful scenery. Saint Jean de Monts is a seaside resort in Vendée and deliver hiking trails that pack as big a punch as the mountains!
Dune trail in Marais
From the car park for the Pont d’Yeu beach, head to the left part of the car park where the wooden fences are. Pass the gates and take the path along the dunes. This trail is signposted with plates on a pink background with a drawing of a reed. There’s both walking and cycling paths here, and it’s a simply lovely area, perfect to end with a delicious picnic.
Duration: 1:15 hours
Isle sur la Sorgue, Provence, South of France
Nearest airport: Avignon-Caumont (20mins)
Nearby accommodation: Residence Provence Country Club
With stunning views of the Alpilles, hiking is plentiful. This beautiful location is a mash-up of limestone formations, river and pine forests. In autumn the rock glows a reddy hue at sunset – a magnificent spectacle.
Chemin des Beaumes Rouges
This hike above the village of Fontaine de Vaucluse and is a good option for families who fancy discovering the gorgeous flora and fauna of the region. From Fontaine de Vaucluse village square opposite the town hall, take the path up to the source of the Sorgue and turn left into the Chemin des Beaumes Rouges trail.
Duration: 2:30 hours
Moliets, Aquitaine, Southwestern France
Nearest airport: Biarritz-Anglet-Bayonne (1hr)
Nearby accommodation: Les Appartements et Maisons de Moliets
The Aquitaine region around Moliets boasts an spellbinding landscape of forest meets huge sand dunes and gorgeous blue sea in the Bay of Biscay. Trails are numerous, and draw visitors to the area due to the tranquility of the fairytale pine forests.
Around the golf course
Park near the town hall or church in Moliets to discover a lovely simple circuit. Make sure to stop off at the Moliets Pond (take a crust to feed a canard or two!), part of the sweeping golf course, and the cooling pine forests.
Duration: 2:30 hours
Distance: 12 km
Have you been on any breath-taking walks in the French countryside? Let us know, and we’ll add them to our list!