Corsica - by Henk

France, country of contrasts, home to the inventors of the Topoguide, is a great walking destination all year round. An intricate network of long distance footpaths, the so-called Grands Randonnées, reaches out to the farthest corners of the country. At least 80 long distance trails and their countless variants are meticulously documented and waymarked. Mastering a bit of French will help you find your way, and a bottle of wine at that.

It may be difficult to find information or topo guides for many trails. The exact route - not only the name "GR" - of any hiking trail in France is copyrighted by the FFRP and cannot be published by others without their consent. FFRP is, as far as we know, not willing to allow a free use of information on the hiking trails because they need the revenues of their publications to maintain their trails. Traildino hopes and believes this situation will change. If you want to positively influence FFRP to open up, you can vote to allow OpenStreetMap to freely show the hiking trails here on the FFRP website and to provide free GPX and KML files here on the FFRP website and you can also make suggestions on how hiking organisations in other countries solve this problem.

The French themselves are mad about walking, often in groups of about 20, recognisable by their non-stop rather loud conversations lasting from dawn till dusk and snacking on hard boiled eggs en route. So join the crowd and turn bon vivant. Walk the Provence in spring, pass through the wine regions coloured all red in late autumn. Enjoy the Atlantic coast and its birds in May, and the shimmering sun on the glaciers in summer. Explore the Loire in autumn, and the dark forests of the Morvan in winter. Or take a walk all the way from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean right across the Pyrenees along the GR10. Another popular trail is the GR5, from Luxembourg to Nice through the Vosges, the Elzas and the Alps. For those fearless and bursting with energy, the GR20 is a fine challenge. This trail following the highest ridges of the island of Corsica is for the surefooted only.

Another popular walk of course is the TMB, the Tour du Mont Blanc: eight days with views on the highest mountain of Europe, weather permitting. Drawback: crazy busy. Less known, but just as fine, is the Tour du Queyras (GR58), also in the Alps. Other best hikes in the Alps are the Tour de la Vanoise (GR55) or the Tour de l'Oisans (GR54). You can walk the Vallée des Merveilles (GR52). And a bit on the outside of the Alps is the Vercors (GR91 - GR95) and Mt Lubéron (GR97). There you are, now you know what the French themselves like most.

Along most GR's you will find huts or Gites d'Etappe at regular intervals. These are mostly just simple shelters, so bring food to prepare your own meals. Outside the main summer season, with most French back in Paris, the Gites are often closed. In such cases, bring your own tent. Most GR's can be tough but not dangerous, except the GR20.


Rate 9.3 | 3 votes | No 1. in Europe
  • pc22
  • Rate 9
  • Positive I have walked across the full length of france twice now and am always amazed at the diversity of the countryside......The pyrenees (i walked the full GR10) Is on of my most favorite places in the world
  • patacon
  • Rate 10
  • Positive I just love it. France is where I want to walk, to live and to eat everything you can find in a patisserie. My favorite part of it is the Bretagne.
  • Negative Could not find anything I dislike yet.
  • Asmus July 2011
  • Rate 9
  • Positive I hiked around 200 km of the GR5 and GR 52. It was abseloutely amazing! great views, great trail, and the food is good too:)
More opinions…


Hiking Map of France NWHiking Map of France NE

Hiking Map of France_SWHiking Map of France SE



More books…

More maps…


  1. Cancel
  • Pinteaux 2013-04-03 11:30:29
  • Hébergements Via Gebennensis GR65
  • Bonjour, quel sont les meilleurs hébergements sur la Via Gebennensis GR65 ? merci de nous faire partager votre expérience récente.
  • Frank Leonowitz 2013-02-19 06:01:38
  • GR6 in Dordogne and Lot
  • We plan to walk the GR6 in June. We are looking for maps and books that would help us with the distances/lodging situations. We plan to carry no tent or sleeping bags. We usually average 20-25 km per day
    • Henk Nouws 2013-02-19 08:46:45
    • Hi Frank. I'll give you my best secret: go to the online map of IGN. The GR's are all there. Refer to the discussion below. Best strategy: find a town the GR6 passes, zoom in to 1:50.000 or something, and you will find your trail. Then you must find out distances and villages yourself. Bit of work. The FFRP only offers two guides, describing only small parts of the GR6.
  • Anita 2012-03-14 03:22:06
  • GR 51 Diversion around the Domaine Barossi
  • Has anyone a clear map of the diversion please? In the area of Napoule-la-Mandlieu. I am walking the GR51 this May 2012 and would appreciate any update info on this.
    Can to join me? Thanks!
    • Henk Nouws 2012-03-15 12:18:41
    • Hi Anita. I haven't been there. But I can give you a tip. Go to This is the online map of france. Click on France. Select Cartes In the left menu. Zoom in. Once you zoom in to 1:50.000, you will view the GR trails! This might help you if you haven't got the maps yet!
More questions…