5 regional nature parks for a small budget
5 regional natural parks for a small budget
When one thinks of French tourist sites, one immediately thinks of the capital or the large metropolises. The Regional Natural Parks do not come spontaneously to mind and yet, they are treasures of heritage. The French government created this label in the 1960’s to highlight the landscape, natural and cultural heritage of rural areas and to help their economic and social development.
No need to pay a lot of money and go far away to get a change of scenery, meet rare animal and plant species and enrich your culture. You can go green at a lower cost by traveling through these selected spaces that meet the values of sustainable development.
5 regional natural parks to visit with a small budget
The French territory counts 58 regional nature parks. So much so that there is something for everyone. We have selected 5 of them which you will be able to discover even if you have small financial means.
Pilat regional natural park
Ideal for lovers of medium mountains, Pilat is covered with large forests of chestnut, beech, oak and fir trees. Shaded walking and hiking routes are recommended on the park website. Other nature sports, such as downhill mountain biking, trail riding or climbing are also featured.
The Chartreuse of Sainte-Croix en Jarez, one of the most beautiful villages in France, a medieval monastery, is a well-known tourist site. The site of Saint-Romain-en-Gal is also a must for those interested in the Gallo-Roman period. You can enjoy a guided tour or a treasure hunt at very affordable prices.
Verdon Regional Nature Park
Certainly, the Verdon park was made famous by the 166 km long river that crosses it, but it is mainly composed of 7 different landscapes that go from gorges to mountains, passing through lakes and plateaus. You can choose to walk or canoe through the area if you prefer the river route. The inhabitants are always happy to let you observe the many protected animal species that share the territory with them.
Visit absolutely the prehistoric cave of Baume Bonne in which traces of the human being dating from 400 000 years ago have been found. Many historical villages are also worth a visit such as Aups or Les Salles-sur-Verdon.
Ballons des Vosges Regional Nature Park
Forests, high altitude meadows, peat bogs, ponds and lakes are some of the exceptional landscapes that make up the Camargue park of the Ballons des Vosges. There are 5 national nature reserves that protect its landscapes and biodiversity. You can take advantage of the hiking trails in this exceptional nature, but also choose gastronomic or cultural tours.
Renowned for its thermal baths, the town of Plombières-les-bains can boast of having thermal baths dating back 2000 years that are still in operation. The resort of Luxeuil-les-bains is not to be missed for its thermal baths, but also for its magnificent parks and gardens. The water is renowned for its richness in trace elements and mineral salts.
Regional natural park of Camargue
On vacation, you want to see the sea above all ? The park of Camargue has 75 km of maritime frontage. The succession of marshes, fields and rice paddies offers the possibility to observe pink flamingos as well as the bulls and horses of the region.
The marshes, especially the one of Vigueirat, are to be visited with a naturalist to realize how precious this environment is and how difficult it is to preserve it. You will be able to observe the cohabitation of numerous animal and plant species. You can also learn more about local agriculture by visiting the Maison du riz in Arles.
Regional Natural Park of the Volcanoes of Auvergne
The park of the Volcanoes of Auvergne is the last one presented, but not the least since it is the biggest in France. The 5 landscapes that make it up cover 395 hectares of the Auvergne Rhône-Alpes region. To discover the reliefs drawn by the volcanoes, the mountains, the plateaus and the peat bogs, hiking, biking but also horse riding are appropriate.
You will be able to admire on the estives, the Auvergne huts, some of which date back to the Middle Ages, which mark the anchoring of pastoralism on the territory.
Stroll through the villages of Tournemire and Salers which have the label of Most Beautiful Villages of France. The restored Roman churches and medieval castles in this park full of history will enrich your culture without lightening your wallet..