France is covered in a variety of natural landforms, ranging from the peaks of the Alps to the depths of the Gorges du Verdon. Visitors to this European nation can enjoy these natural formations in all seasons, taking part in low-impact walks or adrenalin-filled adventure sports such as rafting. Most of the major landforms in France offer lodging nearby, making it easy to stay in the area overnight.
The French Alps stretch along the southeast side of the country, following the border with neighboring Italy. The highest point in the Alps, Mont Blanc, is in France and reaches 15,770 feet. The Alps are famously snow-capped in the winter months, and offer excellent skiing. In warmer months, the Alps also make for a good sightseeing destination or camping spot. Attractions in the Alps include Grenoble Bastille, served by France's oldest cable car, and The Chartreuse Cellars, which has the world's longest liqueur cellar.
Gorges du Verdon Canyon
In the southeast corner of France, to the west of Nice, sits the Gorges Du Verdon. Sometimes called Le Verdon, this canyon covers 11 miles and is up to 2,300 feet deep in some places. The cliffs in Gorges du Verdon were caused by erosion from the Verdon River. The region is home to more than 40 towns, many of which are located on the banks of the Verdon River. Activities in the canyon included white water rafting, paragliding and hiking.
The Massif Central mountain range in the southern edge of central France was formed by now-extinct volcanoes. Still, the volcanic soil that remains makes the range an ideal place to grow crops such as maize and tobacco. The largest protected environment in all of France is located in the Massif Central, comprised of two neighboring parks -- the Parc Naturel Regional des Volcans d'Auverge and the Parc Naturel Regional du Livradois-Forez. This rural area is a good place for horseback riding and cycling.
The Loire River is the longest river in France, flowing from northwest to central France. In total, the river stretches for 193 miles and serves as the migratory channel for many animals, especially fish. The banks along the Loire are prime for observing wildlife and flora, such as birds, butterflies and wild orchids. Activities in the river include canoeing, flat-bottom boating and hiking along marked trails.