Best time to go walking in France
Walking the Pyrenees in May and June becomes an odyssey of orchids. There are 800 species here alone.
The best time to go on a walking vacation in France depends on your willingness to embrace the elements. Often upstaged by the skiing season, snowshoeing and winter walking is at its peak from Dec– March. In April, you can enjoy bracing mornings in the ancient woodlands and hillsides of the Poitou-Charentes, and May is the perfect time to start walking in Mercantour NP, with melting glacial rivers to cool your plodding pieds. From here on it’s a wildflower frenzy in the Pyrenees and Provence, with a warmth in the air in the Loire, Luberon and luscious Riviera as late as October.
What to avoid & when
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Peter Roche – co-founder of one of our leading walking vacation in France suppliers, Le Moulin du Chemin in the Poitou-Charentes region: “The spring reawakening after winter is the favourite time for country folk – leaf buds are forming on the trees, early blossoms such as the blackthorn are exploding into life as wild flowers are tentatively breaking out of the soil in March and early-April. More spectacular are May and early June, when the deciduous leaves are young and vivid and the wild flowers are bursting into life in an abundance of glorious colour in the meadows, pastures, hedgerows and verges. Butterflies and other insects thrive where wild flowers flourish and there are abundant butterflies starting as early as end of April until October.“
Chloe Knott, one of the alpine aficionados at our leading supplier, Exodus, gives her advice on the best time to go on a walking vacation in France, especially around Mont Blanc: “For the Tour de Mont Blanc generally, the climbing window is between June and September. September is great - the trails are generally a little quieter whilst the weather is usually still warm and clear. November isn’t ideal as you have less daylight hours and unpredictable weather. The main climbing season for the ascent of Mont Blanc is from June to September. Expect warm temperatures (15 to 25ºC) in the valleys, cool (5 to 15ºC) on the passes (though it will feel colder if wet and windy) and very cold (-20ºC) on the summit, with strong winds too. For snowshoeing, there is usually a blanket of snow between December and March”.
More about France walking
Our France walking travel guide is packed with useful, honest advice and inspiration.
Discover the immense variety of landscapes to be found on walking vacations in France.
Mont Blanc is an Alpine icon - climb it, circumnavigate it, or camp on it, just don't miss it.
Walking in Mercantour National Park lets you in on a well-kept Alpine secret.
Expect easy to moderate hikes – and a taste of slow, fragrant Provencal life.
Our top France walking vacations guide you from Alpine peaks to Provencal pastures.
Our friends in France have given us some handy tips for walking vacations.
Our responsible walking vacations in France page is designed to help you walk the walk.