Welcome to our website

Walking in France: Leaving Montcuq

Leaving Montcuq

We are a pair of ageing but energetic Australians, addicted to exploring France on foot. We have done this every year since 2002 in many different parts of France. To the despair of our family we keep thinking of new areas to explore, and no doubt will continue doing so until our legs crumble, or civilisation does, whichever comes first.

There are many companies offering so-called independent walking tours who provide route information, hotel bookings and transfer of bags between hotels. They are absurdly expensive and we consider them rigid and limiting. However we don’t completely knock them, as their brochures are a good source of ideas for our own itineraries.

It is not actually very difficult to organise your own expedition, although there are pitfalls.

Starting off

Walking in France: On the Régordane (GR700), near Costaros

On the Régordane, near Costaros

We have written this website for our own pleasure, in a spirit of comradeship with our fellow walkers, and to spare others some of our more disastrous mistakes. We have no commercial motivation and so it is free of ads.

We hope it will be a useful guide for anyone contemplating a pedestrian tour in France, whether you call it hiking, rambling, trekking, tramping or just plain walking.

The beginners’ guide is a general introduction to walking in France, containing information and advice. To learn from our mistakes see our golden rules and to read our answers to common questions, see our FAQ page.

Our walks so far

The map below is of the 9,550 kms of walking we have so far done in France. To find out more about a particular walk, click on the line.

You can also see this map using Google Earth.

For a brief description and map of each of our walks, see diaries and maps. From our diaries, we have extracted what we think are the best short walks (from three to ten days), as well as other short, flat walks on canals and disused railways.

The Pilgrimages of Saint Jacques de Compostelle

Walking in France: On the Way of Le Puy, near Estaing

On the Way of Le Puy, near Estaing

Since mediaeval times, pilgrims have converged on the tomb of Jesus’ disciple Saint James at Compostela in northern Spain. In English, these pilgrimages are collectively known as the Ways of Saint James, in Spanish the Caminos de Santiago, and in French the Chemins de Saint Jacques.

They came from all directions, including through France, and all four of the main French routes have now been marked for present-day walkers. The most popular is the one starting from le Puy, which is the one that most people think of when planning a walking holiday in France.

For a brief outline of these four traditional routes and links to the diaries of our adventures on them, see pilgrim ways.

Following the GR71D across the Causse du Larzac

Other walks

France has much more to offer the walker than just the pilgrim routes. Indeed the pilgrim routes, especially the Way of le Puy, have become almost too popular in recent years, and it is hard to get a feeling of freedom and autonomy while shuffling along in a queue.

There are over a hundred thousand kilometres of beautifully maintained tracks known as GRs (Grandes Randonnées) in other parts of the country, many of them traditional thoroughfares between villages from the days before motorised transport.

They pass through farmland, vineyards, hills, woods, forests and mountains – and there are always villages to provide accommodation and food along the way.

Walking in France: Beside the Canal du Midi

Beside the Canal du Midi

Walks along some of the famous rivers, like the Loire or the Dordogne, are full of beauty and interest, as are canal walks such as those on the Canal du Midi and the Canal of Burgundy.

In the south there are many lovely walks amongst the vestiges of Roman occupation.

Refer to the map above to select a particular year’s walk, then look at the description in diaries and maps. Otherwise you can look at short walks (from three to ten days in length).

Walking in France: On the GR7, approaching the cross of Garin in the mountains of the Beaujolais

On the GR7, approaching the cross of Garin in the mountains of the Beaujolais

Contact us

You will find the answers to many questions related to walking in France on our FAQ page.

If you would like to get in touch with us to ask another question, or to make a comment or point out a mistake, we would be very pleased to hear from you.

You can contact us, Jenny and Keith, at:

Please note, we are presently walking in France and therefore out of contact. We won’t be able to answer any emails until early August, after we return home.

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We will be sending emails from France during June and July, while we are walking there.