Natural wonders abound in France, from the magnificent coastline of the south to the mighty Alps and the bucolic rolling countryside. And that’s without even mentioning the breathtaking scenery of France’s overseas territories.
It would take months to visit everything there is to see in France, with amazing cities like Paris, Lyon, and Bordeaux to discover. France is one of the most visited nations in the world, and with good reason: the country’s rich history, delicious food, and dynamic culture never fail to impress and enchant travelers.
Top 10 France’s national parks
Here’s a list of all 10 of France’s national parks so you can plan your vacation accordingly.
- Mercantour National Park
- Réunion National Park
- Guadeloupe National Park
- Calanques National Park
- Vanoise National Park
- Port-Cros National Park
- Pyrénées National Park
- Cévennes National Park
- Ecrins National Park
- Guiana Amazonian national Park
1. Mercantour National Park
Mercantour National Park has a lot going for it: seven valleys to explore, rustic towns, mountain summits, and more. Marmots, ibex, and chamois are just some of the animals that may be spotted when exploring the park’s various trails and walkways among the abundant flora and fauna. Mercantour National Park is, without a doubt, one of France’s top national Parks to explore.
Visitors looking for an adrenaline rush may choose to hang glide out of one of the sheer cliff sides and gaze at the world below. However, the approximately 36,000 rock carvings in the Vallee des Merveilles are sure to please history buffs.
Moreover, the maritime Alps offer a stunning and ever-changing background to the alternating valleys and lakes. Gordolasque Valley and its encompassing river are among the most picturesque of the area’s many natural attractions.
2. Réunion National Park
Natural beauty abounds on this picture-perfect island, making it difficult for blessed visitors to leave. This French overseas territory in the Indian Ocean has a volcanic topography rich in ecosystems and is home to a national park which is one of the best national parks in France.
Because of the many trails and pathways that wind through the mountains, it is a popular destination for hikers and mountaineers and a haven for wildlife. Nature enthusiasts will have a blast exploring the region’s verdant jungles, breathtaking waterfalls, and diverse wildlife.
Visitors may take in the breathtaking views from vantage points all across the island, including atop the twin volcanoes that make up Piton des Neiges and Piton de la Fournaise. La Reunion National Park is amazing and well worth the travel time and expense.
3. Guadeloupe National Park
Traveling to this biodiversity hotspot from continental France is well worth it due to the abundance of exciting experiences it provides. There are many different kinds of animals, birds, and insects that may be seen in this Caribbean national park’s tropical rainforest and the spectacular massif of mountains that make it one of France’s greatest national parks.
Discover a series of breathtaking waterfalls hidden in the jungle’s hot, deep foliage. The Carbet Falls, for example, is a succession of waterfalls on the slopes of La Soufriere volcano that fall to enormous depths surrounded by pure tropical greenery. The hiking is beautiful, and the sounds of the jungle will stay with you long after you leave this heaven on Earth.
4. Calanques National Park
This seaside park between Marseille and Cassis features a beautiful and challenging clifftop climb. As you walk along the sometimes dangerous path, you have to weave through the rocks as the cliff wall drops away on one side. In addition to the already breathtaking landscape, the turquoise seas below are a sight to see. Despite the challenging trek, Calanques is surely one of the best national parks in all of France.
The bright colors and lush vegetation that grow from the rough rock faces and towering white cliffs make this a lovely region to visit. The protected seas are home to dolphins and turtles, and sailing along the Calanques Massif—from which the park gets its name—is an unforgettable experience.
5. Vanoise National Park
If you’re in France, you can’t miss visiting Vanoise National Park, which was the country’s first national park. Vanoise National Park is one of France’s top national parks that should be on the list of every tourist’s must-see destinations in the country.
About two hours south of Chamonix, in a wide environment teeming with vegetation and animals, sits the park. In fact, the park is just one piece of a larger project that continues in Italy as Gran Paradiso National Park. They combine to form one of the world’s largest alpine national parks.
Furthermore, remember to keep your eyes alert for the wolves, lynx, and local birds that call these woodlands home.
6. Port-Cros National Park
This beautiful national park may be found on the island of Port-Cros in the Mediterranean, and it is, without a doubt, one of France’s top national parks to explore. Within its borders are three smaller islands with calm, turquoise seas that invite you to relax and unwind.
When compared to the lush greenery found inside the islands and the azure waters that surround them, the beige rocks and sandy beaches provide a stunning contrast. To guarantee that the national park’s marine ecology and the islands’ delicate ecosystems are preserved, visitors are limited, and the number of visitors is monitored closely.
The lovely islands become more visible in the distance before you, swelling in size until they are there in front of you in all their splendor when you arrive by boat, making the journey an experience you will never forget.
7. Pyrénées National Park
There are countless breathtaking vistas waiting to be discovered in this great national park making it one of France’s top national parks. Located on the international boundary between France and Spain, this park takes its name from the towering mountain range that dominates the region.
You’ll feel your soul fly, liberated and light as you let go of all your cares and focus on the breathtaking nature surrounding you. The mountains are perfect in every way, as their snowy peaks rise dramatically around you and fill the horizon. Skiing is feasible at the higher elevations of the Alps, and there are a plethora of wonderful trails and climbing routes to discover.
The green of the valleys, the grey of the cliffs, the white of the snow, and the blue of the sky all combine to make Pyrenees National Park a must-see destination.
8. Cévennes National Park
The southern French region of Cévennes is home to the national park of the same name, which is one of the best national parks in France. The park was founded on September 2, 1970, and is quite hilly. The total landmass is around 362 square miles.
There are a lot of both historical and cultural places to be found in Cévennes National Park. There are a number of cities and settlements contained inside the national park. The region’s past is on display in sites like the ancient temple of Le Rouve. A memorial to the Camisards has been installed within this shrine.
The Aven Armand is a popular destination for tourists visiting Cévennes National Park. An impressive 300 feet in length and 180 feet in width, the domed chamber of this limestone cave is also a sight to behold. The construction of an artificial tunnel has made the attraction more accessible.
9. Ecrins National Park
The cleanest glacial rivers and lakes may be found in Écrins National Park, which is only one of the many reasons why this park is so underrated. There are 347 square miles of land in this national park. One of France’s earliest and best national parks. On March 27, 1963, the area around Écrins was designated as a national park.
High mountains, glacial valleys and fields, subalpine woods and lakes, and alpine meadows make up the majority of the park’s landscape. Because of its massive size, this park encompasses several French municipalities.
Over 800,000 people visit Écrins National Park each year, making it one of the most visited parks in the world. This national park is a great place to go skiing or snowboarding, among other activities. The Valgaudemar Valley and its waterfalls are among the nicest vistas available.
10. Guiana Amazonian national Park
This massive national park was established to save the Amazon rainforest in French Guiana, and as such, it is one of the largest in the world and offers an incredible variety of experiences. This faraway region is only reachable by aircraft or pirogue, thus, it has remained unspoiled and untamed. The pristine nature is one of the reasons that has made this place one of France’s top national parks.
There are many different kinds of animals and birds in the rainforest, not to mention the many plants and trees. Mount Galbao, rising abruptly from the jungle, reaches towards the clouds while rivers wind through the seemingly unending forests.
An increasingly popular activity is canoeing along the waterways, and one of the most visited spots is the breathtaking Gobaya Soula waterfalls. Guiana Amazonian National Park is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, with its towering trees that may reach heights of sixty meters.
France is a stunning country filled with natural beauty. Many tourists visit France only to view the sights of Paris, but the country as a whole is a true tourist paradise. Did you know, for instance, that France is home to 10 stunning national parks? Read on to find out what they have to offer.