across France: the main routes
is a country well equipped with long-distance footpaths or hiking
trails. There are over 100,000 kilometres of walking trails, crossing
the country in all directions; but it is in the areas of "wild
France" that the paths are most numerous, and most popular.
The map below shows many of the longest and most popular hiking trails
in France. Further information is given below.
Long-distance footpaths or hiking trails are known in France as "Sentiers
as with main roads, there is a national network, and the 35,000 km of
marked and signposted footpaths that make up the main network are
designated by numbers, preceded by the letters GR. For reasons of
clarity and legibility, the map above shows only the main GRs.
Besides GR paths, there are also PR paths, "Chemins de
randonnée", marked trails that are most suited for local
not necessarily connected to any GR routes. GR routes
marked (on trees, posts, stones, etc) by a short red
band above a white band. PR
routes are marked with a yellow
band. In addition, many French communes or communities have set up
their own marked footpaths independently of the national network. All
in all, the choice for ramblers, walkers and serious hikers is immense.
Most of the major long-distance trails run through villages where
hikers can find accommodation in bed and breakfasts, "gîtes
(rather like small hostels), campsites or small hotels.
Before setting out on a long distance trail, it is essential to study
the route carefully on detailed maps, and check the accommodation
long-distance hiking trails in France.
- GR2 - From Le Havre, via Paris, to Dijon.
- GR3 - The Loire Valley trail - From La Baule,
to the source of the Loire
- GR4 - The Alps-Atlantic trail: from Grasse, in
the Alps, to Royan, on
the Gironde estuary.
- GR5 - From the Luxembourg border to Nice (trail
originating in Holland).
- GR6 - The Aquitaine-Alps trail, from Ste. Foy
la Grande, near Bordeaux,
- GR7 - The Vosges-Pyrenees trail, from southern
Alsace to Andorra.
- GR8 - The south Atlantic coastal trail - from
Hourtin Plage to Sare, in
the western Pyrenees.
- GR9 - The Jura and Alpine foothills trail, from
St. Amour to St. Tropez.
- GR10 - The High Pyrenean trail, following the
line of the Spanish
- GR12 - From (Amsterdam) and the Belgian border
- GR 13 - The Morvan trail, from Fontainebleau to
- GR 14 - The Ardennes trail, from Paris to
- GR 21 - The Alabaster coast trail, from
Tréport to le Havre.
- GR 22 - Mont Saint Michel pilgrimage
trail - Paris to Mont
- GR 34 - The Breton coastal footpath, from
- GR 36 - The 1000 kilometre trail, from the
Channel coast to the Spanish
- GR 37 - The central Brittany footpath, from
- GR 39 - The Trans-Brittany trail, from Mont St.
- GR 41 - From Tours to the Massif du Sancy
- GR 46 - From Tours to the Tarn.
- GR 48 - The Vienne valley trail.
- GR 51 - The Mediterranean Balcony - from
Marseille to Menton
- GR 59 - The Jura and Bugey trail, from the
Vosges to Grenoble.
- GR 65 - The Santiago de Compostella pilgrimage
route, from Geneva, via Le Puy en
Velay and Conques, to the Pyrenees.
- GR 223 - The Cotentin and Normandy beaches
- GR 700 - Regordane Way - historic pilgrimage
route from Le Puy en Velay
to St. Gilles du Gard.
to information posted on a UK motorcycle site, GR paths are
normally open to motorbikes, quads or other motorised vehicles, except
where these follow byways or tracks that are designated as such. On
many sections of GR, motorbikes and quads are both unauthorised and
unwelcome. GR routes are for hikers, not bikers. French Environment
ministry circularDGA /SDAJ/BDEDP n°1 of June 2005 states: "the
considers that for a track to be presumed open to motorised traffic, it
must be manifestly usable by a vehicle not specially adapted for
off-road driving" .
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