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France Outdoor Pursuits

France is a vast country with coastline, mountains and interior to explore. Spring is a lovely time for a walking holiday when the fields are full of wild flowers and temperatures are cooler. Hikers can tackle the well marked national footpaths known as either Petites Randonées (short) or Grandes Randonées (long). Popular hiking areas include the Pyrenees and Les Gorges du Verdon. Shorter walks around lakes, along river banks and canal tow paths are well sign postedand details are available from local tourist offices including free maps. Holidayloop.co.uk offers France holiday rental and Gite rentals. You can rent a private apartment in Arcachon directly from your local home owner. France has 32 regional natural parks which are excellent for walking and are also rich in wildlife. Bird watchers should head for the Marquenterre Bird Sanctuary on the north coast, the Arcachon basin in the southwest or the Camargue on the Rhône Delta. If you intend to do a spot of fishing on the rivers or lakes remember to get a license available from fishing shops. Horse-riding is popular during the summer especially on the flat marshes of the Camargue, the pine forests of the Landes in Aquitaine or the Marais Salants in the northwest.
 
Cycling is another way to see the beautiful French countryside. It is easy to rent a bike in most towns and at larger railway stations. There are plenty of marked cycle paths (pistes cyclables) to follow. The flat areas such as the Landes forest or the tow path of the Canal du Midi in the southwest are ideal for beginners. Mountain bikers should head for the Alps or the Massif Central. Don’t forget the Tour de France in July, the route changes yearly but the finish line is always in Paris. Holidayloop.co.uk brings together a great collection of France holiday accommodation, France holiday apartments, France holiday villas and Gites. Holidayloop.co.uk is unique in providing France holiday lettings because we are the only site that allows you to find someone local to you who may have advertised their France home.
 
Keen climbers will enjoy the challenging peaks of the Alps, Pyrenees or Massif Central. Canoeing is popular in the Gorges de L’Ardèche or on the Lot or Dordogne rivers. The more adventurous can head for the gorges and ravines of the Alps, Pyrenees and Massif Central for rafting and canyoning. Air sports are widely available including hang-gliding and paragliding especially in the Hautes-Alpes of Provence, the Pyrenees and Corsica. Why not try parapente which issimilar to parachuting except you launch yourself from any high point instead – obviously popular in the mountainous areas. The limestone caverns of southwest France and along the border with Spain offer excellent caving opportunities.
 
Golf courses can be found all over France with over 500 to choose from. Les Bordes near Orléans is a top course along with Kempferhof near Strasbourg, Royal Park Evian at Genevaand Spérone in Corsica. There are plenty of scenic courses along thete d’Azur and in Provence.
 
Val d’Isère in the Alps is a popular destination for skiers and snowboarders as are the chic resorts of Courchevel or Chamonix. You can also ski in the Pyrenees or Massif Central at Le Mont-Dore. Peak season is February and March. Cross-country skiing is being promoted in the smaller ranges of the Jura and Massif Central. If you are feeling less energetic simply enjoy a glass of vin chaud (mulled wine) and admire the view! Don't forget, an outdoor pursuits holiday in Val d'isere or Les bordes, France, staying in self catering accommodation makes an ideal family break.

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