Walking is perhaps one of the most under-appreciated joys of life. The simplicity of just heading out into the great outdoors for a while, nothing between you and the sky, getting your body moving and seeing what things await. Travellers don't do it nearly enough.
The best thing about walking however is that it doesn't warrant too much of a travellers' two most precious things; time and money. Walking can last as long as you like. Walking costs nothing but the clothes on your back and the shoes on your feet.
Getting prepared for a walking holiday in France however, one of the best places in the world to do it, is something you should spend a little bit of time thinking about. Between planning all the great stop-offs you wish to make and the great French food and wine you're hoping to savour, there are a couple of other things it pays to be mindful of also. Let's run through a few in the hope that you'd enjoy a trip even more.
Solo or Guided?
One important thing to consider when it comes down to planning a walking holiday is whether to undertake it on your own or whether to go down the organised tour way of doing things. If you pip for the latter, outdoor activities like walking tours offered by Belle France are always a safe and secure bet for fun, relaxation and having everything else taken care of. Not only would you have a local guide showing you through particular areas in France, but you'd also have someone responsible for booking your accommodation and showing you the key sights, freeing up your time to walk stress-free with no worries at the end of the day.
Although walking isn't really the most demanding of physical activities your general level of fitness is still something worth considering based on the length and intensity of your itinerary. France, although it has its rather flat regions, is far from being without hills, mountains, streams and other challenging geographical features. Ensure you're in relative good shape, and that a walk isn't completely alien to you, before you begin tackling some of the stronger ascends and descends France's regions have to offer.
The regions of France are quite distinct as to what they offer walkers and all differ in terms of sights and sounds. Provence, for example, is full of medieval-aged villages with lots of stop-offs along walking routes. Regions closer to the Alps on the other hand, will be a lot more mountainous, hilly, perhaps a bit more on the cooler side, and possibly more remote. Decide on what part of France you'd like to walk in beforehand and you'll know exactly what to expect, and what's worth your time, when it comes to the real thing.
Although walking is a very minimal gear pursuit you'll still want to make sure you have a good pair of walking or hiking boots to hit the trails and protection from the elements if you're going in the height of summer or rainy spells in other seasons. It's advisable to pack light, especially if you plan on walking with a pack, but otherwise make sure you have a good change of clothes, some rain gear (just in case) and very importantly, some protection from the sun.
Walking in France is a joy like no other. Making a few preparations beforehand can help make your trip that little bit more stress-free and enjoyable in the long-run.
Image Credits: Belle France