Outdoor Sport Activities in France


France is an ideal country for travelling in terms of, perhaps, everything. Outdoor sport activities in France are a good reason to travel to this country as well. Many tourists all year round come to France with the purpose of relishing in the sport activities outside, and there are pretty many logical explanations for this. But the main reason for that is the irresistible nature of this country, which provides so many fantastic opportunities to active people. This article just briefly describes what are the most popular outdoor sport activities in France you may undertake.

#1: Alpinisim

alpinism in france

The Alps can boast to have at least two especially prominent and valuable peaks – Matterhorn (Switzerland) and Mont Blanc, whereas the latter is located on the border of France and Italy (though, the mountain is usually referred to France and the Chamonix commune). Mont Blanc with its altitude of 4,808 meters appears to be the highest mount of the Western Europe, attracting thousands and thousands of alpinists from every part of the world every year.

But outdoor sport activities in France in regards to alpinism are not limited solely to climbing Mont Blanc. Four-thousander Barre des Écrins is also located in the southern east of France. Also, there are 10 mountains located in France that are higher than 3,000 meters. So while the number of four-thousanders is, indeed, in many times higher in the neighboring Switzerland and Italy, the France remains a hot spot in Western Europe for alpinists.

#2: Climbing

climbing in france

A person who is not familiar with climbing sport may think that both climbing and alpinism are the same. Actually, it cannot be more wrong than this. Climbing typically refers to technical climbing, where a sportsman (or a sportswoman) has to overcome technical barriers, sharp rocks and flat walls. While the main goal for an alpinist is reaching the summit, a climber should not necessarily get to the top – the main goal is to overcome (typically) the most difficult technical part.

And while Switzerland and Italy have a larger number of high mountains (over 4,000 meters) than France, both France and Spain are more suitable for technical climbers. There are more mountains with technically difficult climbing routes than elsewhere in Europe (except the Caucasus, though), and this makes France to be an ideal place for the training of a technical climber.

#3: Mountain Biking

mountain biking in france

Mountain biking has been especially popular recently, and such outdoor sport activities in France frequently take place. As you might already know, there are two mountain systems that are present in France: the Pyrenees and the Alps. For the purpose of mountain biking, the Pyrenees are much better thanks to the fact that those mountains are not as steep and abrupt as the Alps.

Yet, you can also attempt mountain biking in the Alps, though in the places where the mountains don’t reach the snow yet. All in all, be sure that undertaking a journey to France with the purpose of mountain biking will not turn out to be a wrong choice.

#4: Cycling

cycling in france

Apart from mountain biking, France is quite a friendly country in regards to cyclists in general. French cities abound with cycling roads, “cyclist’s hotels” appear in more places, and the number of cyclists in the country keeps growing over and over. But on the top of that, cycling is a nice way to discover this country for the recently arrived person.

Given the abundance of interesting places in this country, there would be plenty of villages, towns, and cities to stop in and discover them. As you can read in this France travel guide, there are many villages in the French regions that have to be discovered. It might be quite complicated to travel by bus or “relish” in the trekking activity in such a country. It might be a bit expensive to travel by car in order to discover those villages. But cycling is the “golden middle” that will help you stay fit, healthy, sporty, and get plenty of new emotions and impressions.

#5: Surfing

surfing in france

France is a country that is surrounded by the ocean and the seas from many sides. Therefore, it should be something natural that this country is a beloved place among surfers, though to a lesser extent than, for example, Spain. The coastal lines of France are equal to 3,427 kilometers in total, while over 500 kilometers of beaches are perfect for surfing.

If you are a surfer and looking for the place to surf at in France, the best choice may be to head to the Atlantic coast. The Mediterranean coast, beloved by many glamour travelers and those who need just sun, sea and beach, rarely provides swells good enough for surfing. The Atlantic coast, on the contrary, offers fantastic opportunities for every kind of surfer. While summer is perfect for beginners, a really great surfing with stable, large swells can be found there in spring and autumn. Winter is a season only for pro, hardcore surfers.

If you want to rejoice at surfing in a less crowdy place, you may opt to go to the beaches of Normany and Britanny on the country’s north. Though, expect the waves to be not as large as in the Atlantic coast and the water to be noticeably cold.

#6: Canoeing

canoeing in france

Canoeing is also one of the most popular outdoor sport activities in France, and you will find many people in the country who relish in this activity. Thanks to the country’s climate and nature, you will find plenty of places for both beginners and pro canoers. If you want to relax while canoeing, it would be better for you to seek a river somewhere in the country’s plains. Otherwise, you can get a rush of adrenaline by canoeing in the mountain rivers in the Alps (the country’s southern east) and the Pyrenees (the country’s southern west). For a calm and soothing experience of canoeing, we suggest you to go to the Loire Valley, which is abundant with perfectly suitable lakes for this activity.

#7: Outdoor Wine Drinking

outdoor wine drinking in france

This activity can deservedly be called as authentically French, and we highly recommend you to try it out after relishing in one of the above mentioned sports.


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