Backpacking in France: popular destination and best places for visiting
Arriving in France, you immediately plunge into the atmosphere of history, beauty, and culture. In this country, castles are collected, with which legends are associated, as well as excellent beaches. Not to mention the great food as well as the mountainous terrain. Read more about backpacking in France in this article.
Reasons to hike in France: is it important to see Mont Saint Michel French Alps and Eiffel Tower and why?
Many tourists have engaged in a backpacking trip in France. Many are interested, is France good for backpacking? If you travel around this country with a backpack, you get the feeling that you are in several countries at the same time. France is a popular tourist destination.
France attracts with its diversity because each region is unique. This country has a rich history and many interesting traditions. Particular attention is always paid to French cuisine. Every day you can taste new varieties of wine and cheese.
Travel in France is limitless.
Even if you are limited in time, you have time to see the most significant sights and admire the amazing nature France.
After all, in this country, transport links work perfectly.
In France, in just one weekend, you can walk the French Alps and Mont Saint Michel, drink a cocktail on a Mediterranean beach or near the Eiffel Tower which is the
most famous symbol of the country, walk through Parisian museums, and ride a bike through Provence.
France is a great place for backpacking because you can be filled with pleasant sensations and different emotions near French Riviera and Place de la Bourse, but both of them are remembered for a lifetime.
France has long been an inspiration for writers and artists. Initially, it may seem that this is not a country for a budget vacation. However, if you cheat a little, you can save money.
The best hiking trails for hikers
You should choose a route based on how long you plan to stay in this country. There are several interesting routes.
Visit France for the week
Many are interested, how many days is sufficient in France? On average, it takes at least 7 days to get to know the most significant places. Particular attention should be paid to viewing Paris. It was here that a major French Revolution takes place, as well as architectural masterpieces, were created.
Almost all writers, philosophers, architects, and artists came to Paris in search of inspiration. If you spend a few hours, you can go from Paris to the Loire Valley. Here you can get acquainted with castles and wineries. There is a huge scenic highway.
Be sure to ride through the valley on a rented bike. You can also use public transport or hitchhiking. In order not to meet a crowd of tourists, it is important to correctly guess the time for the trip.
Itinerary for 2 weeks: South and Provence
Almost all tourists who come to France go to Provence. It is here that you can see lavender plantations, olive groves, and excellent landscapes that are often found in the works of Vincent van Gogh. This region is called the land of the sun.
Backpacking France in the Alps
The Alps require special attention in France. Here you can watch the most excellent landscapes in all of Europe. Mont Blanc is in the city of Chamonix, where millions of tourists come every year.
Here you can go mountain climbing, skiing, and just enjoy the scenery.
If you spend a weekend here, you are impressed for a lifetime.
Itinerary for 10 days: Pyrenees
If you are into mountainous terrain, be sure to head to the Pyrenees. They separate France from Spain. There are a huge number of small settlements and numerous trails for hiking. Public transport is good in this region.
The Pyrenees can be varied. In some places, an excellent view opens up, and you want to take photos as a keepsake. In places, you can see wild alpine peaks that were deprived of luxury. If you are in the Pyrenees, be sure to visit several colorful cities – Lourdes, Arro, and Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port.
What places to visit in France
If you come to France, Paris is a must-see place. You can stay here for a week and not explore all the sights. If you only have a few days left, the route should be chosen based on your hobbies.
Paris is quite multifaceted, so you should not try to get around all the significant places in a few days. More details on what to watch if you have only 2 days, we describe below.
Backpacking France: Louvre
This museum is considered one of the best in the world. To save money, you should visit it on Wednesdays and Fridays after 6 pm. The cost decreases by 6 euros. The museum is open until 21:45, so you have time to get to know it. Persons under the age of 26 can enter for free on Fridays.
Free entry for everyone still on July 14th and every first Sunday of the month. However, it is important to understand that on such days there are so many people in the museum that it is not a fact that you can get into it.
Not far from the Louvre is the Musée d’Orsay. It is in the old train station adjacent to the Seine. If you walk along the river, you can get to the Eiffel Tower. Eiffel Tower is the most iconic place for all Parisians and tourists.
After, you can walk to the bridge of Alexander the Third. This bridge is considered the most beautiful in Paris. If you want to climb to the top of the tower, you have to pay big money. However, sightseeing from the ground is completely free. On the lawn, which is near the tower, you can have a picnic.
For night walks, it is better to choose the Montmartre area. Boulevard Clichy is optimal for lovers of fun nightlife. There are many erotic shops.
The next day, you can go to Notre Dame Cathedral. It is better to come here early because the queues are huge. The top of the cathedral offers excellent views of the city. Next, have a bite to eat, and move to the Pere Lachaise cemetery. Here you can find the graves of Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison.
Backpacking France: Versailles
This is the residence of King Louis XIV. The palace looks magical. It is decorated with impressive gardens and grounds. It is important to note that Versailles and Paris cannot be separated. If you have visited the capital of France, then this palace should be on your list of must-see places.
Near Versailles, there is a small hostel where you can stay overnight. However, be prepared for the fact that the cost is so high that you have to leave all your savings.
Journey through an almost secret Paris
There are many interesting and hidden places in Paris. On the territory of the city, there are several covered passages, in which there are small cafes, bookstores, and pastry shops. This place is a must to visit.
The first passages were built in the 19th century. It was here that rich people came to shop in bad weather. Today, crossings are one of the main attractions of the city.
Hiking in Amboise
If you drive along the main highway of the Loire Valley, you find yourself in the beautiful city of Amboise. Here is the castle of the same name, which was the residence of King Charles VIII. Here you can visit the grave of Leonardo da Vinci. The castle has gardens, underground passages, and beautiful chambers.
The city has a romantic atmosphere. To feel it, you should come in the spring, when the flowers begin to bloom. It’s just great views for cycling.
Hiking in Montresor
This is a small village that is one of the most beautiful in all of France. There is also Montresor Castle, which is on a hill. There are many confectioneries in this village where you can enjoy delicious pastries and drink a cup of aromatic coffee.
Walking tour of Chambord
Quite a world-famous castle is the Chateau de Chambord. This is an unfinished building that King Francis began to build. Thousands of tourists always come to this castle. Therefore, it is better to visit it early in the morning or at sunset.
The castle has about 400 rooms. You can get to Chambord from Blois, Orleans, or Cheverny.
Hiking in Orleans
If you are traveling through the Loire Valley, be sure to check out Orléans, which is its capital. Here stands the impressive Cathédrale Ste-Croix. It does not leave indifferent even the most demanding tourist.
You can also visit the Maison de Jeanne d’Arc. This is the house where Jeanne stayed in 1429. The house has been reconstructed today, since 1940 it was destroyed as a result of a German bombardment.
Backpacking France around Marseille
The port city of Marseille deserves special attention if you are in France. Today it is a very safe and lively city, which is included in the list of the largest cities and occupies the second line.
There is good public transport, which makes it easy to get around the city. To avoid traffic jams, it is better to use the underground metro.
Interesting places in Marseille
First, you should visit Vieux Port. This place is considered the sunniest in all of France. Even the locals are not averse to strolling along the port. Here you can visit the Arab areas or cafes.
On the outskirts is the beautiful Marseille Cathedral. It is poorly lit, so it can become an oasis in hot weather. The most significant place for Marseille is Notre Dame de la Garde. The church is on top of a hill and looks beautiful over the city.
Be sure to visit several areas – La Painer and Cours Julien. In the first district, there are many art workshops, beautiful streets, and small cafes.
Here you can hide from the noisy and busy Marseille.
Cours Julien is the area for hipsters. There are numerous tattoo parlors, coffee shops, venues for concerts, bars, and much more. Grocery stores, almost all, focus on sustainable products.
Backpacking France along the Calanques
If you drive a little from Marseille, you can get to the Calanques National Park. This is one of the most significant places in the south. It consists of limestone and dolomite formations that cover an area of several miles. They are along the Mediterranean coast.
There are many walking trails throughout the park. There are beaches, as well as areas where you can go kayaking. If you love rock climbing, be sure to visit the Calanques. After all, here are excellent world-class rocks.
If you want to swim and sunbathe, head to Port Pin. The journey from Cassis takes only 45 minutes if you walk. Considering that Calanques park is quite huge, stock up on water and food. This allows, if necessary, to cope with the feeling of hunger.
There are a few villages in the park where you can find atmospheric cafes and restaurants. However, be prepared for high prices, especially if you get there during summer. You can come to the Calanques to take a break from the noisy Marseille and enjoy the excellent nature.
Camping is prohibited in the park. Therefore, you should find a place to spend the night in advance if you decide to stay here.
Hiking in Hyères
Hikers rarely visit the city of Hyères. Its main attraction is the islands that are off the coast. If you wish, you can buy a ferry ticket to go from the port of Saint-Pierre to the island of Port-Cros. The ticket price is only 28 euros round trip.
On the island, you can enjoy excellent beaches. This is one of the best places to go scuba diving. There are no amenities, so you have to take everything you need with you. Despite the lively atmosphere of the French Riviera, the island of Port-Cros is suitable for lovers of a relaxing holiday.
If you don’t want to spend money on a ferry, you can stop at Presqu’il de Gien beach. You can also go diving here.
Hiking in Aix-en-Provence
This is a small city, which is near Marseille. It has delicious food, beautiful scenery, and charming streets. In the evenings, the city comes alive, and tourists stay on cruise ships.
It is better to start the evening with a walk along Le Cours Mirabeau. Along the street are numerous cafes, pubs, restaurants, and fountains. They are all open for dinner only. Every week there is a market where you can buy fresh products.
The town is clean and hospitable. It is a great option for those who are tired of city noise and want to enjoy the silence. Here is the Cathedral of Saint-Sauveur. The artist Paul Cezanne lived in this town.
Trekking in the Verdon Gorge
Many tourists visit the Gorges du Verdon. This is a small replica of the Grand Canyon. Here rise limestone cliffs, which are around the valley of the rivers. The water in the reservoirs is turquoise and creates an excellent contrast against the background of white rocks.
Sports climbing competitions are constantly held here. If you want, you can walk on foot, or go kayaking. Almost all rivers are protected. After all, endangered species of fish live in them. There are kayak rentals on Lake Sainte-Croix.
You can go along the river to better explore the gorge. It is better to stay here for a few days to feel a great atmosphere and relax a bit.
Hiking in Le Cévennes
If you are tired of admiring Provence, you can go to the Cévennes National Park. This is a great place for wild camping, hiking, kayaking, and swimming. The main advantage of this place is the absence of a large number of people.
Tarn Gorge deserves special attention. It consists of limestone cliffs, between which there are small villages. You can climb to the highest point of the park – Mont Lozère. Its height is 1699 meters above sea level. In winter, you can ski here.
Hiking in Annecy
Near the northern Alps is the town of Annecy. Its main attraction is the lake. In summer, you can swim and sunbathe here. The Tiu River flows through the city.
The streets are canals and consist of small passages and beautiful houses.
On Tuesdays, a market opens in the city center. The city becomes more colorful and lively. The Savoie region is popular for its cheese and potato dishes.
Visit France and walk in Chamonix
If you are into skiing, rock climbing, backpacking, or trekking, Chamonix is a must-visit. It is here that the main base of European climbers is.
All the sights of Chamonix, regardless of the season, come down to the mountains. Here you can make the most important hikes. There are numerous hostels in Chamonix that are notable for their low cost.
Don’t forget to take the cable car up to the Aiguille du Midi. You have a great view of Mount Blanc. You can also get a better view of its peaks and glaciers. The cost of a funicular ride is 60 euros.
You can arrange yourself a tour de Mont Blanc. The route takes 170 km. You pass through the French, Italian, and Swiss Alps. The tour starts just south of Chamonix – at the point of Les Houches. This tour is in demand for several reasons. This applies to exploring wildlife, glaciers, and mountains.
During winter, Chamonix focuses on activities that involve snow. Therefore, there are many hotels and hostels here. Regardless of what time of the year you arrive, it is important to book rooms in advance.
Backpacking France: journey to the Alpes d’Huez
This place should also be visited by anyone fond of skiing. Considering that most tourists still go to Chamonix, Alpes d’Huez is an excellent option for lovers of a relaxing holiday.
You can come here not only in winter. Even in summer, you can use the lift to climb to the tops of the mountains. You can also ride the territory on a mountain bike. The trails that are available for descent have a specific designation. It is important to have a helmet with you if you plan to ride your bike up the mountain.
There is plenty to do here in the summer as well. This applies to rafting and rock climbing.
Where to live tourists in France
Considering that France is one of the most popular countries among tourists, the French are known for their excellent hospitality. Almost all big cities and villages have special hostels for tourists. Room rates vary by season and location.
Hostels in Paris are more expensive compared to accommodations in the villages. On average, you have to pay about 20 euros per night in a hostel. It is possible to rent housing that has home comforts. However, it needs to be monitored on special services.
Hostels are a great option if you love meeting new people. Here you can relax and take a shower. It is possible that the hostel is not required every day. However, you can always find a free seat.
In popular and inexpensive hostels, the rooms are almost always occupied. Therefore, it is better to take care of the booking. Especially if you plan to come to France during the peak of summer. The same recommendation applies to those planning to come to the Alps to ski.
Many tourists prefer camper vans in France. Thanks to such vans, you can do a dynamic study of the sights of the country. This makes it possible to relax at any time of the day or night. However, it is important to follow the signs on the road. Indeed, in some places parking is prohibited.
How much does a trip to France cost?
Many are interested, is backpacking in Europe expensive? It is important to understand that trips to Europe are an order of magnitude higher when compared with Thailand. If you stay in hotels every night, you have to spend a lot of money. There is also high spending on food and nightly entertainment.
A common question is, what is the cheapest way to travel around France? The easiest way to save money is to give preference to Couchsurfing. If you combine it with hitchhiking, you can save a lot and spend the rest of the money on cheese and wine tasting. But don’t forget to take care of reliable travel insurance.
You can bring a sleeping bag or tent with you. There are many camping sites in France where you can spend the night and start your journey again.
It is important to understand that the daily budget depends on how much you spend. For example, you can spend 25 or €60 on budget accommodation. Budget tourists spend about €15 on food, but some spend about €30. On average, about 20-30 € are spent on nightlife.
The cost of transport in France, on average, is about 5-15 €. Visiting various events cost 10-40 €. As you can see, you can spend both 50-70 and 150-200 € per day.
Some tourists say that they spend €30 a day in France. However, it is important to understand that then you have to constantly sleep in your tent. Not many people can boast of such endurance. So the budget depends on the desired amenities.
When is the best time to backpacking France?
The largest number of tourists in France is in the summer. Everyone comes to enjoy the beautiful scenery and various attractions. Almost all yarns are filled with people. If you prefer a relaxing holiday, you should look for certain places, or come in the off-season.
Northern France has a cold climate, especially in winter. Periodically, the mountainous area is filled with tourists who come to show themselves on skis. There is a special demand in France for the Alps.
No matter when you decide to travel to France, you always find something to do. Many people like to come to the country in the spring. During this period, there is a moderate air temperature, and nature is also changing. An important advantage is the absence of a huge number of tourists.
Backpacking France on the popular festivals
France is rich in various festivals. They can be musical or culinary. Everything depends on the season. The largest number of music festivals is in the summer.
Some festivals are quite quiet. However, some are very violent and last for several days. There are rumors around the country that secret raves are periodically held in the Parisian catacombs.
At the end of April, the snail festival Le-Festival De L’escargot is held in France. The Mirabell plum festival is held in August. It lasts about two weeks and is held in Metz.
If you are fond of desserts, come to France exactly in October and November, when the chocolate fair is held. You can visit it in Paris. Believe me, you have never seen such an amount of chocolate.
In June, the music festival Fête de la Musique is held in Paris. Here you can enjoy the excellent game of world musicians. If you love electronic music, come to Corsica for the Calvi On The Rocks festival. It is held in June.
The world festival, which is held in a town near Montpellier, deserves special attention. In the harbor, during the week, parties are held daily. If you’re into jazz, come to the Tourretto Festival in July. A music festival is held at the top of the hill every year.
A two-week electronic culture festival is also held in July. It has been held in Paris for 9 years. The venues for the festivals were designed by the architect Viktor Baltar. If you come to Barcares in August, you can get to the Electrobeach festival.
This is a great option for electronic music lovers. Many world DJs come to the festival. Moreover, everything is carried out on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Believe me, this is a very cool party.
In August, the Rock En Seine festival is held. It is famous not only in Europe but all over the world. Its peculiarity is that it combines many musical genres.
As you can see, France is a great place for hiking. Here you can enjoy excellent landscapes, historical and cultural attractions, as well as mountain sports.
Hello reader. My name is Charlotte Noris and I am sure that you will definitely enjoy my blog. Do you know why? All because on the pages you will see bright and colorful photos, as well as useful information. My husband and I are freelancers, so we can travel at any time of the year.
For myself, I most often plan tours in advance, but it also happens that the trip turns out to be spontaneous when I see an interesting place and a nice price. At the age of 35, I have visited more than 30 countries and do not plan to stop there. I want to visit all continents and the most secret corners of our planet.