Sacre bleu! 7 incredible active adventures in France

Climb a mountain. Cycle through vineyards. Sail the Cote d’Azur. These active adventures reveal another side of France … without sacrificing the incredible food and culture

7 mins

1: Explore Burgundy by boat

Abbey of Saint-Germain d'Auxerre, Burgundy (Dreamstime)

Abbey of Saint-Germain d'Auxerre, Burgundy (Dreamstime)

Explore some of the most stunning countryside in Europe on board a beautifully restored barge on this cruise through Burgundy with KE Adventure Travel.

Starting in Dijon, you’ll spend a relaxing week cruising the region’s picturesque rivers and canals. Each day you'll have the option to go ashore and visit small villages, world class wineries and bike through vineyards and forests. And in the early evening the chance to relax on deck with a glass of wine in hand, taking in the unmistakable atmosphere of this unforgettable part of France.

Trip: Burgundy Riverboat Cruise

Who: KE Adventure Travel

When: Departures Apr-Oct

How long: 8 days

How much: From £1,249 (exc. flights)

2: Ride the rails through romantic France

The Eiffel Tower through the train window (Dreamstime)

The Eiffel Tower through the train window (Dreamstime)

Rediscover the romance of rail in one of the most romantic countries in the world on this train journey through France with Evaneos.

From the City of Light to beautiful Provence and the glamorous Cote d’Azur, this incredible train journey will see you riding the rails through the most beguiling parts of France. After exploring the bustling streets of the capital, you’ll take the train south to Lyon, the capital of French cuisine, where a tempting array of local dishes await. In Provence, you will discover the country’s art de vivre and its natural warmth; in Avignon, its incredible history. Finally, your trip will end in style on the French Riviera, a fitting climax to a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Trip: Grand Tour Of France By Train

Who: Evaneos

When: Flexible departures throughout the year

How long: 11 days

How much: From £2,420 (exc. flights)

3: Walk the wine villages of Alsace

Path through the vineyards near Westhalten in Alsace (Dreamstime)

Path through the vineyards near Westhalten in Alsace (Dreamstime)

Walk through vineyards heavy with Gewrztraminer and Riesling grapes and discover chocolate box towns on this walking holiday through the wine villages of the Alsace with Ramblers Walking Holidays.

Based in Kayserberg, voted France’s favourite town in 2017, you’ll dip in and out of the Sentier Vinicole des Grands Crus, a beautiful path through woodland and vineyards that links Alsatian villages. This is the heartland of an ancient Franco-Alemanic culture, an area whose picture-book beauty has survived the ravages of history. The food is special too, an extraordinary mix of Franco-German gastronomic pleasures including Flammkuchen, Choucroute Garni, Baeckeoffe and Tarte l’Oignon.

Trip: The Wine Villages Of The Alsace

Who: Ramblers Walking Holidays

When: Departures Jun, Sep & Oct

How long: 7 nights

How much: P.O.A.

4: Discover France’s wild side

Wild horses of the Camargue (Dreamstime)

Wild horses of the Camargue (Dreamstime)

Visits some of France's very best areas for birds and wildlife as the autumn leaves turn on this extraordinary journey through the Camargue and High Pyrenees with Wildlife Worldwide.

First, the famous Camargue, with its pink flamingos, white horses and black fighting bulls, as well as raptors always present in the skies. Then on to High Pyrenees, home to some of Europe's most awe-inspiring scenery and wildlife including vultures, lynxes, champs and even brown bears.

Trip: Camargue & Pyrenees In Autumn

Who: Wildlife Worldwide

When: Departures Aug & Sep

How long: 8 days

How much: From £1,895 (exc. flights)

5: Sail the Cote d'Azur

Boats off the Cote d`Azur beachfront near Nice (Dreamstime)

Boats off the Cote d`Azur beachfront near Nice (Dreamstime)

Live the life of a champagne jetsetter on a sparkling wine budget as you tour the islands and coastal towns of the famous Cote d’Azur by yacht with Intrepid.

Setting sail from the colourful port city of Marseille, you’ll head along the sparkling Cote d’Azur, calling into the glittering cities of St Tropez and Cannes and exploring the hidden coves of the Iles d’Hyeres Archipelago. This is a chance to relax and indulge in fresh seafood and delicious Provencal cuisine, revel in extraordinary culture and spend plenty of time swimming in the warm Mediterranean sea.

Trip: Cote d'Azur Sailing Adventure - Marseille to Nice

Who: Intrepid

When: Departures May-Sep

How long: 8 days

How much: From £1,133 (exc. flights)

6: Climb the mighty Mont Blanc

Climbing a pitch on the south face of Mont Blanc massif (Dreamstime)

Climbing a pitch on the south face of Mont Blanc massif (Dreamstime)

It’s not all fine dining and art galleries in France. The country offers immense physical challenges as well. The ascent of Mont Blanc, at 4810 m the highest peak in the Alps, is one of them.

If you’re an experienced trekker, winter walker or beginner mountaineer, this climbing adventure with World Expeditions is designed to get you to the top of this mighty peak. Acclimatisation and basic technical mountaineering training will be the main focus of the first three days, teaching you the basics of travel on snow and ice and helping to prepare you for the tough climb ahead. Then, the climb itself, a demanding and exhausting exercise, but one where the rewards are out of this world.

Trip: Mont Blanc Ascent

Who: World Expeditions

When: Departures Jun-Sep

How long: 8 days

How much: From £2,150 (exc. flights)

7: Cycle the Loire Valley

Montreuil-Bellay castle in the Loire Valley (Dreamstime)

Montreuil-Bellay castle in the Loire Valley (Dreamstime)

Saddle up and fall into the gentle rhythms of the lovely Loire Valley on this cycling and gastronomic holiday in central France with G Adventures.

Cycling is the perfect way to experience this magical corner of rural France. The slopes are gentle, the pace of life slow, and every turn revealing an ornate châteaux, rustic market, vineyard or charming local. This is the perfect combination of slow food, fine wines, and remote country tracks and the ideal introduction to an incredible corner of France.

Trip: Loire Valley Cycling

Who: G Adventures

When: Departures May-Oct

How long: 8 days

How much: From £799 (exc. flights)

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