Nature in France is the whole of biological, geological and geographical elements that make up the French territory. This includes natural landscapes, forests, mountains, rivers and lakes, and the animal and plant species that inhabit them. Nature in France is rich and diverse, with many national and regional parks protecting this biodiversity. The French are very attached to their natural heritage and there are many associations and organizations dedicated to preserving it.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of popular French natural sites among Internet users:
Gorges du Verdon:
The Gorges du Verdon is a valley carved out by the Verdon River in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, southeastern France. This natural site is particularly appreciated for its spectacular landscapes, with its white limestone cliffs reaching up to 700 meters high. The Gorges du Verdon are also a place to practice many outdoor activities such as hiking, canyoning, rafting and paragliding. Created in 1997, the Verdon Regional Natural Park’s mission is to protect and enhance this exceptional site.
The creeks of Cassis:
The Calanques of Cassis are a natural site in the Bouches-du-Rhône department, in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region. These are limestone cliffs that stretch for more than 20 km along the Mediterranean coast, between Marseille and La Ciotat. The Calanques of Cassis are renowned for their beauty and diversity, with varied landscapes ranging from wild and steep coves to fine sandy beaches. They are also a place to practice many outdoor activities such as hiking, canyoning, diving and sailing. The Calanques of Cassis are part of the Calanques National Park, created in 2012 to protect and enhance this exceptional natural site.
Mont Saint Michel:
Mont-Saint-Michel is a rocky islet located in the bay of the same name, in the department of Manche, in Normandy. This architectural and cultural building has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979. Mont-Saint-Michel is best known for its 11th-century abbey, which dominates the islet and offers a panoramic view of the bay. Around the abbey, you can discover numerous historic buildings such as the Lawyer’s House or the Logis du Roy. Mont-Saint-Michel is also a remarkable natural site, with many animal and plant species taking up residence there. Protective measures have been taken to preserve this biodiversity, such as the creation of the Mont-Saint-Michel Nature Reserve in 1987.
The Gorges de l’Ardèche:
The Gorges de l’Ardèche is a valley carved out by the river Ardèche in the department of the same name in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. This natural site is particularly appreciated for its spectacular landscapes, with its limestone cliffs reaching up to 300 meters high. The Gorges de l’Ardèche are also a place for many outdoor activities, such as hiking, canoeing, cycling and paragliding. Created in 2002, the Monts d’Ardèche Regional Natural Park’s mission is to protect and enhance this exceptional valley.
The Forest of Fontainebleau:
The forest of Fontainebleau is a national forest in the department of Seine-et-Marne, in the Île-de-France region. It extends over an area of 130,000 hectares and consists mainly of oak, beech and pine trees. The forest of Fontainebleau is known for its natural landscapes and its many hiking trails that allow you to discover its biodiversity. There are also many historical and cultural sites, such as the castle of Fontainebleau or the departmental park of Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines. The Fontainebleau Forest is part of the Fontainebleau Biosphere Reserve, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2011.