5 best national parks to visit in France
Located in Western Europe, France is popular among tourists for its magnificent palaces, art, architecture, theater, sensational food, and beautiful beaches. France is also known as the world's most romantic country. There is more to France than just romance though. The country has several national parks where you can enjoy trekking, wade into the refreshing streams and witness some amazing flora and fauna.
Vanoise National Park
One of the most well-known national parks in France, the Vanoise National Park is located in the French Alps, between the valleys of Tarentaise and Maurienne. Spread across an area of 130,565 acres, the park was built in 1963 to save the ibex from the verge of extinction. When here, you must try mountain biking, hiking, and paragliding while witnessing the picturesque surroundings.
Port-Cros National Park
Nestled on the Mediterranean island of Port-Cros to the east of Toulton, the Port Cros National park is the only Mediterranean marine park in France. There are two stunning trails in the park--the underwater trail and the botanical trail where you can witness the historical heritage of Roman ruins. Here you can enjoy snorkeling and swim along the La Palud submarine trail.
Pyrénées National Park
Established in 1967, the Pyrénées National Park is located along the border of Spain and France. There are various mountain peaks in the park that rise over 3,000 meters. Witness panoramic views of gushing waterfalls, and sparkling lakes here. You can spot genets, lynxes, and brown bears. You can also enjoy cycling, hiking, fishing, mountain climbing or simple scenic walks when here.
Écrins National Park
Located in south-eastern France, the Écrins National Park was created in 1973 and is considered the second-largest national park in France. The park offers rugged mountainous terrain, gigantic glaciers, alpine pastures, dense woodlands, and picturesque valleys. These features of the park make it perfect for hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, and river running. During the winters, you can enjoy snowshoeing, mountaineering, and ski touring.
Mercantour National Park
Located in the south-east of France in the Alpes Maritimes and the Alpes de Haute Provence, Mercantour National Park was established in 1979 and witnesses around 80,000 visitors every year. The park houses two picturesque high peaks - Mont Pelat and Cima Sud Argentera. The park is home to around 50 Italian wolves. You can also spot chamios, ermine, mouflon and ibex if lucky.