From its beautiful beaches in the south to the indomitable Alps and rustic roving countryside; France has an incredible array of natural sights that are sure to astound and entice visitors to this marvelous country and that’s without even mentioning its stunning overseas territories!
With fantastic cities such as Paris, Lyon and Bordeaux to explore, there are a plethora of things to see and do in France and one could spend months taking in all the sights on offer. One of the most popular countries in the world for tourists, France will continually delight and enamour visitors who are sure to revel in its historical sites, world-renowned cuisine and vibrant cultural heritage. To help you out on your trip, here are all ten national parks in France for you enjoy.
Map of National Parks in France
10. Cevennes National Park
With a wide variety of different landscapes on offer, Cevennes National Park makes for some delightful hiking as the scenes slowly merge into each other and change before your very eyes. The array of mountains and plateaus located within the park have rolling valleys and hills that fall away from their peaks and these are beautiful to behold from up high.
Forests and meadows provide a lovely contrast to the barren rock of the cliffs and plateaus and a number of peaceful rivers and streams meander their way between the hills. Fauna and flora spring out at you from every nook and cranny and the wild flowers only add to the scenic feel of this charming national park in Southern France.
9. Port-Cros National Park
Located in the Mediterranean, this delightful national park is situated on the island of Port-Cros that gives it its name. Three neighboring small islands are also included within its boundaries and their serene turquoise waters welcome you into their warm embrace.
The beige rocks and sandy beaches that line the islands´ shores stand out beautifully between the green fauna of their interiors and the blues waters that surround them. The maritime waters around the national park are protected as are the fragile ecosystems of the islands themselves and tourism is strictly managed to ensure the environments remain in pristine condition.
Arriving by boat is a memorable affair as the idyllic islands appear in the distance before you, slowly growing in size until finally they are right there in front of you in all of their glory.
8. Pyrenees National Park
Simply spectacular. This incredible national park has a plethora of beautiful views and panoramas just waiting for you to discover. Located on the border between France and Spain, the park is named after the mountain range that dominates its area and there are certainly an amazing array of landscapes for you to enjoy.
Your spirit will soar, free and unencumbered by the worries of the world you can let go and revel in the unforgettable scenery all around you. Picturesque and perfect in their beauty the mountains rear dramatically about you and their snow-capped peaks dominate the skyline. As such, there are a myriad of lovely trails and climbing routes for you to explore and it is also possible to go skiing in the higher echelons of the mountains.
Pyrenees National Park is definitely well worth a visit as the greens of the valleys give way to the grey rocks of the mountainside which in turn changes to dazzling white snow and beautiful blue skies.
7. Guiana Amazonian National Park
Established to protect the Amazon rainforest located in French Guiana, this expansive national park is one of the largest in the world and as such there is an unfathomable number of things to see and do. Undeveloped, untouched and consequently pristine, wild and free, this remote part of the world is only accessible by plane or pirogue.
The dense rainforest is home to a wide array of animals and birds, not to mention the fauna and flora that proliferates absolutely everywhere. From the overgrowth, Mount Galbao rears up dramatically towards the heavens while rivers course between the endless trees.
Canoeing along the waters if an unforgettable experience and one of the most popular places to visit is the spectacular Gobaya Soula falls. With sixty meter trees crowding around you at times, Guiana Amazonian National Park is a once in a lifetime place to visit.
6. Vanoise National Park
The largest national park in mainland France is a marvel to visit due to the incredible scenery on offer. Located in the French Alps, it is the heart achingly beautiful mountains that are the main attraction and hikers, mountaineers and skiers will never want to leave its astounding premises.
La Vanoise offers up the quintessential image of the French Alps with the domineering mountains, sweeping valleys and gorgeous lakes all contributing to the picture-perfect scenes. The panoramas and views are endless and up amidst the clouds, the world below appears to be in miniature. The Grand Casse is the highest peak in the park and with the massif surrounding it, it is awe-inspiring to behold.
5. Calanques National Park
Lying between Marseille and Cassis, this coastal park has a picturesque albeit slightly daunting clifftop walk which hikers will adore. Following the at times treacherous path, you weave your way amidst the rock-strewn terrain as the cliff face plunges away to the side of you. Below, the glistening turquoise waters only add to the stunning scenery on show.
The rugged white cliffs and craggy rock faces have delightful tufts of green growing from them and the vivid colors make this a delightful part of the world to explore. Sailing along the Calanques Massif which gives the national park its name is awe-inspiring and in the protected waters, dolphins and turtles can be found swimming about.
4. Ecrins National Park
This massive national park is so large that it has over a hundred mountain peaks contained within it as well as sixty lakes that so beautifully reflect the mountains above them. The landscapes on offer are to die for such is their splendor and magnificence.
Centered around the Massif des Ecrins, it is these lofty realms which are part of the Dauphine Alps that form the main body of the incredible scenery and mountaineers and hikers will adore all that there is to see and do. The forested valleys and green slopes of the mountains eventually give way to rocky mountainside and snow amidst the higher realms of the peaks.
Breathtakingly beautiful, there are over 700 kilometers of trails for visitors to enjoy and it is also a great place for skiers as there are a number of ski resorts for them to frequent.
3. Mercantour National Park
With seven rolling valleys to explore, rustic villages, mountain peaks and more; Mercantour National Park certainly has a lot going for it. Fauna and flora abounds and amidst all of the nature on show, marmots, ibex and chamois can be found when walking along the park´s many trails and paths.
Adventurous visitors may dare to hang-glide and throw themselves off of one of the steep cliff faces to dazzle at the world below. History lovers on the other hand will want to head to the Vallee des Merveilles where there are over 36,000 rock engravings to delight in.
On top of these attractions, the maritime Alps provide an ever changing and beautiful backdrop to the valleys and lakes interspersed amongst them. Among all the natural wonders on show, the Gordolasque Valley and the river that runs through it are particularly lovely to behold.
2. Guadeloupe National Park
This biodiversity hotspot is fascinating to visit for all of the amazing things there are to see and do although it certainly is quite the trip from mainland France! Situated in the Caribbean, this national park is well worth visiting if you have the chance as the tropical rainforest and impressive massif of the mountains are home to a wide array of mammals, birds and insects.
Beautiful to behold, amidst the dense and steamy undergrowth are a number of mesmerizing waterfalls for you to discover. On the slopes of La Soufriere volcano for instance, there are the Carbet Falls – a series of waterfalls that plunge great depths with pristine tropical foliage surrounding them on either side. Hiking here is spectacular and the sounds of the rainforest will echo in your ears long after you have left this earthly paradise.
1. Reunion National Park
Phwoar. This idyllic island is an absolute dream to visit and lucky tourists will never want to leave such is the natural beauty on offer. Located in the Indian Ocean, this national park in the French overseas territory of La Reunion has a volcanic landscape that is home to a variety of ecosystems.
Consequently, it is a biodiversity hotspot and is popular with hikers and mountaineers due to the extensive paths and routes that weave their way through the mountainous region. With rainforests, dazzling waterfalls and an abundant range of fauna and flora also on offer, nature lovers will adore this special place.
The two volcanoes comprising the towering Piton des Neiges and domineering Piton de la Fournaise are just two places from which visitors may gaze out over the spectacular scenes around them. An unbelievable place, La Reunion National Park is certainly worth the effort of getting there!