National Parks, France

French walking holidays in beautiful and protected regions of France

The National Parks of France are a system of nine designated zones throughout metropolitan France and its overseas departments, maintained by the government agency Parcs Nationaux de France. There are six National Parks in metropolitan France, covering slightly over 2% of the land surface of the country. French national parks draw over seven million visitors every year.

High Point Holidays has a number of guided walking holidays and independent walking holidays in France which take place in the National Parks. The central areas of the National Parks are wilderness zones where strict regulation is in place to protect the natural environment and the wildlife and where there is very little if any development in place. For example, certain activities such as mountain biking, paragliding or wild camping are forbidden and no development is permitted. This is to prevent adverse impact on the rich wildlife such as the alpine ibex, eagles, vultures and rare flowers. In this respect, the controls are much stricter than in some other countries who use the term National Park, such as the UK. The peripheral zones are a buffer zone between the central park and non regulated areas. They often include villages which form the gateway to the park and permit the management of the park and its visitors.

The first National Pärk in France was created in 1963 and was the Vanoise National Park in Savoie or Savoy. Despite its amazing alpine scenery, unique in the Alps, it is one of the least frequented French national parks. It has an exceptionally rich and diverse wildlife. We run independent trekking holidays from hut to hut and centre based guided walking holidays in the Vanoise region of the French Alps. We also have self guided walking holidays further south in the Ecrins Massif and the Mercantour Alps, one of the wildest of alpine regions of France. These French Alps walking holidays take place during the summer months.

The other national parks within the French mainland are the Cevennes, Port-Cros, and Pyrenees National Parks. A tenth national park, the first located in mainland France since the creation of the Mercantour National Park in 1979, is being created in the Calanques region near Marseille in southern France.  A number of our other France walking holidays take place in the Regional Parks of France such as the Jura, Queyras and Vercors.

All of our walking holiday destainations in France


guided walking holidays in France in Vanoise National Park

lac blanc in Vanoise French alps walking holidays

vanilla orchid in alpine national park French walmking holidays

mercantour french alps guided walking holidays France