France on Foot | Small Group Walking Tours France
From A$14,750 AUD
- 1. Walk along the Pilgrim Route which leads to the cathedral of Santiago di Compostela in Spain.
- 2. In the Savoy we cross pathways dating from the beginning of time soaring through Alpine scenery.
- 3. Criss-cross France on its ultra-fast TGV.
- 4. Thread our way through France’s own Peak District in the Auvergne.
|10 June 2022 |
Ends 30 June 2022 • 21 days
|09 June 2023 |
Ends 29 June 2023 • days
France on Foot | Small Group Walking Tours France
Our walking tour, France on Foot is designed for the mature active walker. It extends from the scenic island of Noirmoutier on the Atlantic coast all the way to Limousin and the Auvergne to the peaks of the Savoy Alps. Along the way we traverse France via the Massif Central. This walking tour includes a number of spectacular and beautiful walks, with plenty of culture, history and cuisine along the way.
Odyssey offers easy, convenient, and relaxed escorted small group tours across France and beyond. This exceptional collection of walks explore France’s fairy-tale natural beauty, its ancient Roman, and Imperial heritage, its World Heritage Sites, and world famous cities. Complete with some truly spectacular scenery along the way. This and more small group tours like this are all waiting to be explored on one of Odyssey’s small group tours of France, designed for the senior traveller, and led by experienced, and enthusiastic like minded people.
France on Foot small group tour begins and ends in Paris, the beautiful French capital, the trip will start off with a walking tour of Nantes. Nantes is a thriving student city on the banks of Loire river. Home to many beautiful cathedrals, it was once an industrial epicentre and birthplace of the world's first public transport service, the omnibus, which opened in 1826.
We will spend some time in Noirmoutier, an island in the Bay of Biscay, accessible from the mainland by a beautiful bridge. The island's history dates back to prehistoric times and it has over 50km worth of beaches to explore. We will take a sailing tour around the island and visit the salt marshes and learn about salt harvest as an artisan trade. From Noirmoutier, we will catch a boat to to Port Joinville on Ile d'Yeu for a guided tour of this picturesque, beach island and one of France's hidden gems.
Our next base after Noirmoutier is Correze, a department in south-western France, named after the river Corrèze . With beautiful scenery, perfect walking opportunities, and surrounded by quaint, unspoiled villages, it is a great spot to begin some of our walks. We will have a city tour of Limoges, an underrated French city known for its decorated porcelain. There are cobbled streets and medieval architecture to explore here, as well as a unique cathedral.
Our last base before heading back to Paris is Montchavin, a small alpine village in Savoie in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of France. Here you will get to experience the beautiful Notre Dame des Vernettes walk, a path through an amazing mountainous nature reserve.
This French walking tour also includes travel on the famous TGV rail.
For those who enjoy walking holidays, this is a walking holiday like no other. With a range of different walks on offer, you will see all kinds of landscapes, from beachy island walks to rugged alpine hikes, this has everything.
If you want to learn more about France, visit our country profile where all the other tour departures are listed as well. Odyssey Traveller also offers a range of walking tours each year paced for senior travellers. The collection of walks are for active mature and senior travellers, particularly those who seek a holiday off the main circuit.
Articles published by Odyssey Traveller for Walking and Hiking tours for seniors
To help you prepare for any walking program whether with Odyssey or another company this list of articles is intended to help you prepare for your holiday.
- articles on Selecting walking shoes for women
- article on footwear and walking shoes
- article on what to pack when travelling
- article on maintaining muscle fitness in senior and mature age travellers
- article on selecting socks for walking
- article detailing six great short walks in Britain
- article on preparing for a walking holiday
- article on Pilgrim walks in Europe
- article on Preparing for a walking holiday
Articles about France
The following list of articles are either published by Odyssey Traveller or are carefully selected external source to maximise senior travellers' knowledge and enjoyment of France when visiting;
- Questions about France
- Studying Gargoyles and grotesques
- Understanding South West France
- Around the world in six coffees
- The Historic Loire Valley
- The Loire Valley
- Ten things to do in France when you visit
- Ten of the Best art galleries in Europe to visit
- A guide on France for mature travellers
- War of religion; France
- Published articles on French history
Day 1: Paris
Arrive in Paris and make your way to our hotel. In the evening we get together for a briefing and welcome dinner.
Day 2: Noirmoutier en Ile
Today we transfer to the train station and board the TGV to Nantes where we’ll enjoy a walking city tour followed by some free time for lunch. We then continue on by coach to Noirmoutier en Ile.
Day 3: Noirmoutier en Ile Day
Today we spend the full day in Noirmoutier en Ile with two easy level guided walks. One in the morning (Roses Tremieres, 6.5 km / 1.5 hrs) and one in the afternoon (Sur les traces de Jacobson 7.2 km / 2 hrs).
Day 4: Noirmoutier en Ile
Today we start the day with another walk “Chemin de Mer et de marais”, which is a moderate level walk (11.2 km / up to 4 hrs). We will visit the salt pans and take a sailing tour around the coast to view the island from a different perspective.
Day 5: Noirmoutier en Ile
After breakfast we are met by our local guide for a moderate walk – “Les Portes de l’Ile”, 13.4 km / 3 hrs.
The afternoon is at leisure to explore or relax in your own time.
Day 6: Noirmoutier en Ile
Today we travel to Fromentine where we catch a boat to Port Joinville in Ile d’Yeu for a guided tour of the island. The afternoon is free to walk around this beautiful island before we return to our hotel.
Day 7: Noirmoutier en Ile
Today we take another full day excursion, this time to discover “la Corniche Vendeenne” and La Rochelle. In the evening we return to Noirmoutier.
Day 8: Correze
After breakfast we depart Noirmoutier en Isle and travel to Correze, our base for the next week. En route we stop in Limoges for a city tour and visit its historic centre with medieval timber-frame houses.
Day 9: Correze
Today we’ll enjoy a full day excursion to “Les Tours du Merle”. Jewel of medieval Limousin, this citadel from the XII century stands on a rocky outcrop, surrounded by the river Maronne. The site includes a 10 hectare park with remains of the village, restored farmhouse, and the House Madège (Archaeological Exhibition and layout of the site).
Day 10: Correze
We spend today visiting villages around Limonges, like Blond, Mortemart and Montrol Senard.
In Blond we’ll have a moderate walk – “Sentier des villages en pays d’Oc” 13 km / 3.25 hrs.
Day 11: Correze
Today we visit Collonges la Rouche, a surprising natural heritage. You will be amazed by the material used to build its houses: a natural local rare red sandstone coloured by iron oxide. This was a wealthy village thanks to the wine trade, until the 19th century phylloxera crisis when crops were damaged by these aphid-like pests. Now its beautiful mansions, its turrets and narrow streets in red sandstone continue to attract many visitors each year.
Here we take an easy walk – “Au long des lavoirs Collongeois”, 7 km / 2 hrs
On our return to Correze we stop to view Tulle, a lively market town surrounded by water and greenery.
Day 12: Correze
Our journey today takes us to Massif Central where we’ll walk to the top of Puy de Dome via Chemin des Muletiers, an easy level walk. We have a short stop in Orcival, home to one of the most important roman style churches in Auvergne.
Day 13: Correze
After breakfast we travel to Aydat where we’ll walk to the top of Puy de la Vache and Puy de Lassolas, an easy level walk of 10 kms / 3 hrs. Later we also visit Maison du Fromage before returning to the hotel.
Day 14: Correze
Today we walk to the top of Puy Mary, an easy walk, and then follow by coach to Salers and Tournemire where we visit Chateau d’Anjony.
Day 15: Montchavin
We depart Correze and travel to Savoie area, where we’ll be based for the next 5 nights.
Day 16: Montchavin
After breakfast we travel to Peysey-Nancroix where we enjoy the “Notre Dame des Vernettes” walk, easy level, 5.6 km / 3 hrs (230 m altitude).
Day 17: Montchavin
In the morning we have a guided walking tour of “Lac de la Sassiere”, another easy walk of 7.5 km / 3 hrs. After a picnic lunch we make our way to Val d’Isere where we take the Telepherique de l’Olympique and admire the views of the Tarentaise.
Day 18: Montchavin
Today we enjoy an easy walk “Les Montagnettes de Planay”6.4 km / 3 hrs. We then continue from La Rochette to Pragonan la Vanoise to take in the local views.
Day 19: Montchavin
After breakfast we drive to Bessans where we’ll take a guided walk “Geologie autour de Bessans”, an easy level 7.8 km / 3.5 hr. The remainder of the day is at leisure.
Day 20: Paris
This morning we leave Montchavin for Paris on the TGV. We arrive early afternoon and have some free time until our farewell dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 21: Paris
Our small group tour France on Foot concludes today after breakfast.
Includes / Excludes
- 20 nights accommodation.
- 20 breakfasts, 10 picnic lunches and 6 dinners.
- TGV train tickets Paris to Nantes and Chambery to Paris.
- Transportation in modern, air-conditioned coaches.
- Entrances and tipping.
- Detailed information booklet.
- Services of an Odyssey Program Leader and expert local guides.
- International airfares.
- Airport transfers and porterage.
- Comprehensive travel insurance.
- Items of personal nature like laundry, phone calls, etc.
Participants must have a high level of physical fitness and appropriate expertise in the program activities, and should except full days of fast-paced, strenuous physical challenges.
Make it a private tour
Easing your journey
Crossing international borders with restrictions
The list of requirements to travel internationally has changed and will continue to change for several years. Odyssey is here to assist you in managing your way through these requirements:
For more information see our Crossing international borders with restrictions page.
Book With Confidence
If less than 30 days before your tour starts you are unable to travel as a result of Government travel restrictions, Odyssey Traveller will assist you with a date change, provide you with a credit or process a refund for your booking less any non-recoverable costs.
See Terms and conditions for details.
Peace of Mind Travel
The safety of our travellers, tour leader, local guide and support staff has always been our top priority and with the new guidelines for public health and safety for keeping safe for destinations around the world, we’ve developed our plan to give you peace of mind when travelling with us.
See Peace of Mind Travel for details.
Reading List Download PDF
The History of Modern France: From the Revolution to the War on Terror
With the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte at the Battle of Waterloo in June 1815, the next two centuries for France would be tumultuous. Bestselling historian and political commentator Jonathan Fenby provides an expert and riveting journey through this period as he recounts and analyses the extraordinary sequence of events of this period from the end of the First Revolution through two others, a return of Empire, three catastrophic wars with Germany, periods of stability and hope interspersed with years of uncertainty and high tensions. As her cross-Channel neighbour Great Britain would equally suffer, France was to undergo the wrenching loss of colonies in the post-Second World War as the new modern world we know today took shape. Her attempts to become the leader of the European union is a constant struggle, as was her lack of support for America in the two Gulf Wars of the past twenty years. Alongside this came huge social changes and cultural landmarks but also fundamental questioning of what this nation, which considers itself exceptional, really stood - and stands - for. That saga and those questions permeate the France of today, now with an implacable enemy to face in the form of Islamic extremism which so bloodily announced itself this year in Paris. Fenby will detail every event, every struggle and every outcome across this expanse of 200 years. It will prove to be the definitive guide to understanding France.
By Jonathan Fenby
How the French Think: An Affectionate Portrait of an Intellectual People
Sudhir Hazareesingh's How the French Think is a warm yet incisive exploration of the French intellectual tradition, and its exceptional place in a nation's identity and lifestyle
Why are the French an exceptional nation? Why do they think they are so exceptional? An important reason is that in France intellectual activity is regarded not just as the preserve of the thinking elite but for almost everyone. French thought can sometimes be austere and often opaque, yet it is undeniably bold and innovative, and driven by a relentless quest for the regeneration of humanity. Sudhir Hazareesingh traces its tumultuous history in an enormously enjoyable and highly original manner, showing how the French ways of thought and life connect. This will be one of the most revealing books written about them - or any other European country - for years.
Sudhir Hazareesingh was born in Mauritius. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and has been a Fellow and Tutor in Politics at Balliol College, Oxford, since 1990. Among his books are The Legend of Napoleon (Granta, 2004) and Le MytheGaullien (Gallimard, 2010). He won the Prix du Memorial d'Ajaccio and the Prix de la Fondation Napoleon for the first of these, and a Prix d'Histoire du Senat for the second.
By Sudhir Hazareesingh
France: A History: from Gaul to de Gaulle
I can still feel, as if it were yesterday, the excitement of my first Channel crossing (as a child of nearly 7) in September 1936; the regiment of porters, smelling asphyxiatingly of garlic in their blue-green blousons; the raucous sound all around me of spoken French; the immense fields of Normandy strangely devoid of hedges; then the Gare du Nord at twilight, the policemen with their képis and their little snow-white batons; and my first sight of the Eiffel Tower...This book is written in the belief that the average English-speaking man or woman has remarkably little knowledge of French history. We may know a bit about Napoleon or Joan of Arc or Louis XIV, but for most of us that's about it. In my own three schools we were taught only about the battles we won: Crécy and Poitiers, Agincourt and Waterloo. The rest was silence. So here is my attempt to fill in the blanks...
John Julius Norwich (at 88) has finally written the book he always wanted to write, the extremely colourful story of the country he loves best.
From frowning Roman generals and belligerent Gallic chieftains, to Charlemagne (hated by generations of French children taught that he invented schools) through Marie Antoinette and the storming of the Bastille to Vichy, the Resistance and beyond, FRANCE is packed with heroes and villains, adventures and battles, romance and revolution. Full of memorable stories and racy anecdotes, this is the perfect introduction to the country that has inspired the rest of the world to live, dress, eat -- and love better.
By John Julius Norwich