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Last Updated: 13 September 2023

Sporting activities are becoming more popular, thanks to people's newfound appreciation of nature after the Covid-19 pandemic. Many realise that being outdoors, staying active, and pushing their limits can do wonders for their mental and physical well-being. If you want to embark on a holiday full of exciting outdoor adventures, head to France. It is one country that offers outdoor enthusiasts opportunities to spend time in nature and indulge in their favourite activities. Here are some of the best destinations for sporting activities in France.

Walking in the Vanoise © French Moments

Walking in the Vanoise © French Moments

5 Destinations for Sporting Activities in France

1. Chamonix-Mont-Blanc

Chamonix-Mont-Blanc is one of the most gorgeous places in Southeast France, offering so much more for those who love outdoor adventures. With majestic mountain ranges in its surroundings, including Mont Blanc, Europe's second-highest mountain, Chamonix is the perfect place for exploring the great outdoors.

Discover Chamonix-Mont-Blanc © French Moments

Discover Chamonix-Mont-Blanc © French Moments

While Chamonix is more popular as a snowy winter ski destination, it's also a stunning place to explore in the summer, with hiking being the most popular activity. Hiking in Chamonix will take you to the French Alps' most spectacular scenery while taking in the soaring views of France's tallest peaks.

The Montenvers Train arriving at the Mer de Glace © French Moments

The Montenvers Train arriving at the Mer de Glace © French Moments

Aside from hiking, another way to soak up the beauty of Chamonix is to take a cable car ride. The Aiguille du Midi Cable Car is France's highest cable car, taking you to the mountains from where you can admire the famous Mont Blanc. It takes around 20 minutes, giving you a glimpse of the spectacular views of the French Alps during your ride.

Aiguille du Midi © French Moments

The cable-car departing Plan de l'Aiguille to the Aiguille du Midi © French Moments

Those looking for more thrilling activities can try paragliding in Chamonix, where you will fly over stunning mountains - A superb way to see Mont Blanc and its neighbouring peaks.

Aiguille du Midi © French Moments

At the Aiguille du Midi © French Moments

2. Courchevel 1850

France is a fantastic destination for winter sports. Boasting stunning mountain ranges such as the Alps and the Pyrenees, your winter holiday in France is about staying outdoors and enjoying winter sports. Courchevel 1850, with its stunning slopes and picturesque landscapes, is a fantastic destination for skiing and a perfect base for enjoying a relaxing winter getaway in France. Whether you're seeking adventure on the slopes or a cosy retreat, you'll find a range of premium ski chalets in Courchevel 1850 to make your stay even more unforgettable.

Courchevel 1850 copyright French Moments

Courchevel 1850 copyright French Moments

As one of the glitziest resorts in the Alps, Courchevel 1850 is the go-to destination for a luxurious winter getaway. It offers skiing areas suitable for all levels of skiers, from beginners to the more experienced ones. In addition, Courchevel has an airstrip, making it a top choice for the rich and famous who travel to France on their private planes.

Courchevel 1850 copyright French Moments

Courchevel 1850 copyright French Moments

Aside from the glitz and glamour, you'll find many other reasons to love Courchevel. Being part of the "Three Valleys," Courchevel is one-third of the most extensive ski areas in the world. It is also renowned for its perfectly prepared pistes, featuring red, blue, and black runs. Courchevel is also home to some of the best ski schools in France, offering innovative approaches to training skiers of all levels.

Domain of Courchevel © French Moments

The domain of Courchevel © French Moments

3. Tarentaise Valley

The Tarentaise Valley in the French Alps are another area in France that's great for hitting the slopes or hiking. It's the perfect place to test your limits and try adventurous, extreme sports. Aside from skiing and hiking, the French Alps offer the perfect setting for thrilling activities like paragliding and heli-skiing, a skiing activity where the skier gets to the mountain on a helicopter instead of a ski lift.

Mont Saint-Jacques, La Plagne in Autumn © French Moments

At the top of Mont Saint-Jacques with a view of Mont Blanc © French Moments

If visiting the French Alps in the summer, consider hiking around Lake Rosalend. Boasting over 30 designated hiking trails, you will find something to suit your fitness level. Choose the Pierra Menta Loop, starting in Beaufort. At 13 kilometres long, it takes around six hours to complete. The weather in the French Alps in the summer is fantastic. Plus, the scenery is incredibly spectacular. 

Mont Saint-Jacques, La Plagne in Autumn © French Moments

The Pierra Menta (2,711m) from Mont Saint-Jacques © French Moments

Home to some of the world's best ski resorts, the French Alps are a fabulous skiing destination in the winter. Aside from skiing, you can try snowshoeing, perfect for those wanting to explore the region and admire its mountainous landscapes of snow-capped peaks. You can also try dog sledging, snowmobiling, and tobogganing.

The Alps seen from the Grande Rochette © French Moments

The Alps seen from the Grande Rochette © French Moments

4. Provence

Provence is an incredible destination for those seeking enjoyable cycling trips in France. The region has excellent routes perfect for cycling holidays with superb views that offer a challenging workout and a breathtaking journey through its scenic landscapes. If you enjoy fine wines and cycling through charming French villages and picturesque lavender fields, Provence is the perfect destination. 

General view of Gordes © French Moments

General view of Gordes © French Moments

While you can cycle Provence on a DIY adventure, it's also worth considering a guided cycling tour of Aix-en-Provence, taking you to endless fields of lavender, lush olive groves, stunning vineyards, and scenic steep hills. You'll stop at farmhouses, small villages, and farmer's markets. Some tours include visiting local wineries and savouring delectable local wines.

Ochre Pathway in Luberon © French Moments

Going down hill on the ochre Pathway in Roussillon © French Moments

If cycling is not your thing, you can try mountain climbing in Provence. Climb the Montagne Sainte-Victoire, a limestone mountain ridge a few kilometres from Aix-en-Provence. You can follow many signposted trails with incredibly stunning views along the way.

The mountain from Ventabren @torreano.aymeric via Twenty20

The mountain Sainte-Victoire from Ventabren @torreano.aymeric via Twenty20

Hiking the Gorges du Verdon is another fun activity in Provence. It's one of the region's most breathtaking natural spots. The epic canyon features stunning limestone cliffs with a turquoise river underneath. It's also a popular spot for enjoying water sports, where you can try kayaking and other activities.

Verdon River. Photo by Slepitssskaya via Envato Elements

Verdon River. Photo by Slepitssskaya via Envato Elements

5. Biarritz

Famous for its beautiful beaches, Biarritz is a charming seaside town, a popular destination for enjoying water sports in France, such as surfing. Surfers would come here to enjoy its relaxed and easy-going surf culture while honing their surfing skills.

Biarritz Beach. Photo by Unai82 via Envato Elements

Biarritz Beach. Photo by Unai82 via Envato Elements

One of the best ways to enjoy the surfing culture of Biarritz is to enrol in one of its surfing schools. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced surfer, Biarritz has a surfing school perfect for you.

Biarritz Port Vieux. Photo by wirestock via Envato Elements.jpg Biarritz Port Vieux. Photo by wirestock via Envato Elements

Biarritz Port Vieux. Photo by wirestock via Envato Elements

After your surfing lesson, head to Grande Plage, the town's main beach, popular with locals and tourists. It's right in the heart of Biarritz, within walking distance of the city's top shopping areas, restaurants, and bars. Here, you can take scenic walks, relax, people-watch, or indulge in refreshing drinks and snacks.

Biarritz Beach. Photo Unai82 via Envato Elements

Biarritz Beach. Photo Unai82 via Envato Elements

If you want to relax at a beach away from the crowds, visit Plage Port Vieux, a small and cute beach next to the Old Port. Sheltered from the wind and waves, Plage Port Vieux offers the perfect conditions for swimming.

Biarritz Port Vieux. Photo by wirestock via Envato Elements Biarritz Port Vieux. Photo by Unai82 via Envato Elements.jpg

Biarritz Port Vieux. Photo by Unai82 via Envato Elements

Conclusion

In conclusion, the destinations mentioned - Chamonix, Courchevel, the Tarentaise Valley, Provence, and Biarritz - offer fantastic opportunities for outdoor sporting activities in France. 

From the thrill of the mountains to the serene beauty of the southern countryside and the exciting waves of the Atlantic, these locations have something for every adventurer.

Cassis 09 © Olivier Risnes

Calanque of Port-Miou, Provence © Olivier Risnes

However, it's essential to remember that France is a diverse and multifaceted country with countless other regions waiting to be explored for outdoor sports and recreation.

Have you had a memorable sporting adventure in France that's not on this list? We'd love to hear about your experiences! Please share your favourite outdoor sporting destinations in France in the comments below. Your insights might inspire fellow travellers and sports enthusiasts to discover new, exciting places in this beautiful country.

Whether hiking in the Vosges, cycling through the Loire Valley, or any other outdoor activity, France has much more to offer beyond what we've covered here. So, let's keep the conversation going, and together, we can explore the incredible world of outdoor sporting activities in France!

Hiking in the Vosges © French Moments

Hiking in the Vosges © French Moments

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