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The Belle France guide to trekking

My father considered a walk among the mountains as the equivalent of churchgoing - Aldous Huxley

It’s true that a good walk can be good for the soul. Especially if that walk takes in some incredible scenery in the French mountains, for example.

Our Belle France walking holidays are all graded into three different levels, easy, moderate and challenging.

For those with lots of experience walking and trekking, then this blog is for you.

So if you think that a challenging Belle France walking holiday ticks all the boxes for you, what can you expect from our most difficult routes?

You’ll be walking between 6-8 hours a day, distances of up to 25 miles. These walks tend to involve some change in altitude, which can be up to 1000 metres, so definitely not one for the faint hearted (or headed!) You will need a good head for heights, and should have good map-reading skills. Because of the remote locality of some of these routes, there will be some occasional nights in more basic accommodation.

But this is coupled with the amazing sense of achievement that comes with walking these routes, some of which have been open for centuries. A truly incredible way to experience France from a different perspective.

Still interested? Read on for details and recommendations for our Belle France treks and see which one takes your fancy.

Following in the footsteps of Robert Louis Stevenson

Le Puy, Massif Central
Le Puy, Massif Central

In 1878, Robert Louis Stevenson published ‘Travels with a Donkey’, an account of a journey accompanied by his donkey Modestine. Now you can follow some of that route, with the route starting in Le Puy at the southern end of the Massif Central, and trekking along the Cevennes. You’ll see extinct volcanoes, a Romanesque chapel perched 80 metres high on a pinnacle of rock, wooded valleys, cinder paths and vast plains. A wonderful experience.

Cathar Castles

The Château Fort of Foix
The Château Fort of Foix

This route takes you along the foothills of the Pyrenees past some of the most amazing medieval castles of the Languedoc region. You’ll walk through medieval villages, and the landscape will change from rugged outcrops to beautiful summer meadows and even through a chestnut forest. Your route will end in Carcassonne, a stunning and well-recognised landscape. A challenging route, but definitely worth the trek!

Pilgrimage route of Santiago de Compestela

Walking the GR65 footpath
Walking the GR65 footpath

Follow in the footsteps of many pilgrims on their way to the Santiago de Compestela in Spain. This route covers many miles each day, up to 25 miles, so it’s advisable to have some sturdy walking boots!

You’ll travel through the pretty riverside town of Aire sur l’Adour where you can see the cathedral of Saint-Jean Baptiste, experience some stunning views of the Pyrenees, as well as visiting ancient châteaux and fortified towns.

Although the routes are challenging, the scenery is magnificent and well worth any blisters you may pick up along the way. These routes are just a selection of what we have on offer, and we are proud to say we’ve trekked all of them. So if you want to get an idea of which route you fancy travelling through, then do get in touch, we can let you know what to experience, as we’ve been there ourselves. It’s a great way to see some lesser visited parts of France, and meet and stay with some wonderful hosts at the various hotels on the way. Either call us on +44 (0)1580 849 113 or email us to get to know more.

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