France has a striking diversity of landscapes, from the snowcapped peak of Mont Blanc to the deep blue seas of the Mediterranean. Every region offers inspiring hikes, with trails ranging from easy to advanced, that are sure to impress. Be awed by the alpine scenery in the Chamonix Valley while hiking past glaciers and wildflowers. Amble the country lanes of Alsace to discover storybook hamlets nestled in the rolling hills, or walk from one ancient hilltop village to another in the rugged Luberon Mountains of Provence. Modern-day pilgrims can follow in the footsteps of medieval Christians on the Camino de Santiago trail in the Pyrenees, and history buffs can trace the WWI battlefield sites along the Normandy coast. For the most dazzling seaside panoramas, hike from the beautiful perched village of Eze on the French Riviera to the peaceful beaches of Eze-sur-Mer. One of the most legendary trails on the list is the GR20 in Corsica, but it is only advised for well-trained hikers, whereas anyone could enjoy the gentle nature walk at the Cirque de Gavarnie to admire soaring granite rock walls and marvelous waterfalls.
Hikes to the Most Beautiful Villages in the Luberon Mountains
ff-the-beaten path and ruggedly beautiful, the Luberon Natural Regional Park (Parc Naturel Régional du Lubéron) is a UNESCO-listed nature reserve in the Haut-Vaucluse region of Provence. The Luberon has many hiking trails and walking paths in between its ancient hilltop villages and historic towns. An excellent short hike is from Gordes to Roussillon. Begin by exploring the medieval hilltop village of Gordes, listed as one of the prettiest villages in France. Then go on a 10-kilometer hike along scenic roads to arrive in Roussillon. Another village perché (medieval perched village) also on the “most beautiful village in France” list, Roussillon stands on an ochre cliff overlooking a stunning landscape. Just outside of town, Roussillon has a short hiking trail along vibrant paths of ochre rock.
From Roussillon, a wonderful all-day hike is from Roussillon to Lourmarin, another of France’s “most beautiful villages.” This 28-kilometer hike travels through country roads and footpaths until reaching Lourmarin, nestled in a protected valley at the base of the Luberon Mountains. Lourmarin has a traditional Provençal village ambience and is a the perfect place to end up after a long hike because of its inviting restaurants, outdoor cafés, boutiques, and hotels.