France has lovely cities and towns to tour, but if you’re looking for a change of pace from museums and architecture, what about hitting the road and exploring out in nature? This article will explore some of the most beautiful natural sites you can see in all of France to entertain the little ones.
This post is part of our Discover Europe series – come and take a tour around Europe with Kids
The Gorges du Verdon
The deepest gorge in France, the Gorges du Verdon is a popular attraction for tourists. There are many activities you can do at various places around the gorge. Towards the lower end, boats and kayaks are for hire to take you on the river. Beautiful hiking trails travel down into and around the gorge.
You can also travel along the rim of the Gorges du Verdon, making for a lovely day-long road trip. A cheap car rental in France can keep you on-the-go and offer easy travel between all the other stops along your trip. Try to avoid making this trip in the summer months though, as traffic can sometimes get backed up with everyone else wanting to see the sights!
Looking for somewhere to sunbathe and swim outside of Normandy? Take a trip to the Étretat Cliffs for a fun, family-friendly day on the water. The distinct chalk cliffs have inspired many artists over the years, including Monet!
There are easy walking trails that will take you out to see the cliffs. You can then travel to the adjacent beaches to cool off! Another option is a speed-boat tour, a great option to see the cliffs from a different perspective.
Whichever route you choose, you are sure to be astonished by the view. The Étretat Cliffs are a photographer’s dream, so make sure to bring the camera and snap some pictures!
The Camargue Salt Flats
The salt flats are among one of the most unique natural locations to visit while you’re in France. Near Provence, these lakes are pink from the special algae that thrives in them. It is also this algae that makes the local flamingos turn pink as they get older!
You can’t drive out to the flats on your own, but there are plenty of ways to go see them! One of the most popular is the miniature open-air train that goes out into the flats. The train will stop by a salt hill and let you out to climb it for beautiful, scenic views. At the end of the tour, there is a gift shop and a museum where you can learn about salt production in the region.
Walking and bicycling tours are also an option if you have older, active kids! Remember that the lakes are usually only open March through November. September is the best time to visit. And if you visit in the morning or the late afternoon when the sun isn’t high in the sky, you will be able to see the pink hues of the water much more clearly.
Gouffre de Proumeyssac
Also called the “Crystal Cathedral” because of its translucent stalagmites and stalactites that are beautifully lit, this is a must-see location in France. You can either take a traditional 45-minute tour, or you can experience the caves in a unique way that just became available again this year. Get into a large basket (if you aren’t afraid of heights) which lowers down into the caves and spins around, providing a 360° view of the caverns!
There are special activities for the kids to participate in as well. Professor Geopole has a mobile laboratory that moves across the park while he teaches about natural science and gives fun demonstrations relating to the caves. There is also the interactive Ludo Park where kids and parents can learn together!
Wherever you are travelling in France, make sure your kids get to experience the natural beauty that you can’t see anywhere else in the world. If it’s in a cave or on the beach, they will love getting out into nature and seeing what sights this wonderful country has to offer, beyond the big cities.