The Great Outdoors

It’s only natural that any holiday to France is filled with good food and wine experiences, but a summer or spring visit should also be filled with outdoor activities. Given France is the world’s most visited country, there’s nothing here that you can’t do. However, we’ve short-listed three activities you should consider when you visit next.

Cycling

From the country that brings the Tour de France to our lounge rooms and have us glued to our TVs when the race is on, you just know there’s no shortage of scenic cycling routes around the country. Luckily, you don’t have to be a pro cyclist to explore these routes and meander through quaint little villages that are dotted along the verdant countryside or coastline.

A great place for cycling holidays is Normandy in the north of France. You can embark on a coastal bike ride from Caen to the five D-Day beaches, or go from Pays d’Auge to Bayeux via the beaches, should you want to include some farmland experiences too. If you’re considering a week-long cycling tour, then the route from Alençon to Mont St Michel might be of interest.
The train ride from Paris to Caen is only 2hrs 10mins (External link) , while Paris to Alencon is just under 3hrs.

Horse-riding

If pedalling two wheels isn’t for you, but horse-riding is, then consider the picturesque Loire Valley. There are a few trail rides available where you can explore the region’s majestic castles, do picnic lunches, go on wine-tasting tours or just canter into the sunset.
Another great place for horse-riding tours is in the beautiful French Alps between Chamonix and Geneva in Switzerland. While this area is better known as a ski destination, summertime presents a different and fantastic opportunity for visitors to explore the rugged alpine country on horsebacks. Here, you will enjoy stunning trails through the mountains and velvety lush valleys, while witnessing the simple country life of the locals.
The Loire Valley is 1hr 31mins from Paris (External link) , while Chamonix is a leisurely 6hrs 44mins (External link) away.

Walking through Wine Country

You cannot visit France and not see its endless and famous wine country. That would be almost criminal. One of the best ways to take it all in is walking through it, be it in Bordeaux, Burgundy or Champagne. There is a bunch of self-guided trails you can go on, so depending on your preferred destination, time and overall itinerary, you may like to just walk through one of them or all of them! Just be sure you bring good walking shoes and fully charged cameras!
From Paris, Bordeaux (External link) is 2hrs 4mins away on a train, while Burgundy (External link) is 1hr 34mins away and Reims (External link) in the Champagne- Ardennes region is only 46mins away.
For more travel inspiration and information on France Rail Passes and tickets, head to www.raileurope.com.au (External link) , where you can use the destination guide (External link) and interactive map to help with the trip planning.