France is a big country so there is loads of good walking to experience. In fact in some regions there is enough to keep you occupied for a whole fortnight’s holiday.
From taking a gentle stroll through timeless Gascony or the majestic Loire Valley, to easy coastal walking in Brittany or a challenging hike amid the peaks of the Pyrenees, one constant piece of kit you should have with you is an accurate mapping device.
The best walking maps for France are from the mapping agency IGN. Paper versions can usually be bought in local supermarkets, but you can get the new 2015 digital IGN 1:100,000 or 1:25,000 scale maps from Memory-Map. They use intuitive and easy to use software and cover all of France. They can also be used on up to five devices including Windows PC, iPhone, iPad or Android.
They are great for longer walks, road cycling and general leisure use, and show footpaths, bridleways and other rights of way along with thousands of points of interest. If you are looking to explore beautiful river valleys and unspoiled medieval villages, choose the Dordogne or the Tarn. Further south, the allure of Provence, with its lavender fields and sleepy stone hamlets, is hard to beat.
Don’t forget the climate in France is different from Britain so it will be considerably hotter walking in summer and a good hat and sun cream are always advisable. Even in summer however there can be late snow on the higher passes in the Alps and the Pyrenees so it is always worth checking the situation before you head off. You can ring Meteo France from your mobile (3250) for a local forecast including for mountain areas.
Those of you heading off to tour First World War battlefields in France can also view hundreds of detailed original British trench maps from the Somme and other theatres of war from the Memory-Map historical range.