Although France is well-known for its food, culture, and other stunning man-made structures (such as the Eiffel Tower, the Pont du Gard, and the Palace of Versailles), but the country’s natural setting still has a lot to offer visitors.
It also enchants its natural treasures, ranging from the highest peaks in Europe to huge canyons, crash-bang waterfalls, lyrical rivers, fields of purple lavender, and pink-granite shores perfect for an impressionist painting.
Travel beyond the typical tourist route of cities and villages. You will find places that defy belief, such as towering sand dunes with the Atlantic Ocean as a backdrop and pink salt lakes teeming with flamingos. France has collections of wonders and things to see, so we picked the top 7 natural wonders for your easy selection.
01 Verdon Gorge (Gorges du Verdon)
The Verdon Gorge is a most beautiful gorge in the river located in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region of southeastern France. It stretches for over 25 kilometers and can be as deep as 700 meters. The Verdon River carved out this unique feature, and the river itself is distinctive because of the emerald hue of its water.
The river has cut a gorge through the limestone that is 700 meters deep and is located between the towns of Castellane and Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. At the bottom of the canyon is where you’ll find the artificial Sainte-Croix Lake, where the Verdon River eventually empties into it. Visitors rush to the region to walk along the trail that runs along the rim of the gorge, hire kayaks and paddle down the river, and drive along the road along the edge of the gorge.
The height of the limestone walls is one of the primary reasons why so many rock climbers visit them. It is widely acknowledged as one of the best locations in the world for multi-pitch climbers due to its 1,500 different routes, which range in height from 20 meters to more than 400 meters.
02 Pont d’Arc
Our next selected top-rated natural wonder is Pont d’Arc. Because of this shape, this is an absolute wonder in the strictest sense of the word. As a traveler, you can find many relaxing activities in this place.
Pont d’Arc, located in the south of France, gets its name from the French word for bridge, which sounds like “pont,” which perfectly describes this natural stone archway. For many years, the Ardèche River has slowly worn the stone, forming a hollow archway that is now widely used as a canoe and kayak launch.
On the other side of the Pont d’Arc is the Ardèche Canyon, which has earned the nickname “gateway.” According to archaeologists, the Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc Cave is located in this area; its Paleolithic wall paintings are among the world’s oldest, dating back to roughly 30,000 years ago.
03 Mont Blanc in French Alps
Mont Blanc is one of the worldwide natural wonders to must see in France. In Western Europe, the beautiful Mont Blanc stands at 4,810 meters(15,780ft) as the tallest of the Alps and the dividing line between Italy and France. Climbers frequent this area, and the first successful ascent was documented in 1786.
More grimly, Mont Blanc is one of the world’s deadliest mountains due to its history as the site of numerous mishaps, such as plane crashes, skiing tragedies, and tunnel fires.
Hikers, peak-baggers, climbers, and ski tourers can all find something to love there. Extreme weather and terrain mean you should hire a guide if you want to try using a carabiner or crampon.
The main event is the 169-kilometer (105-mile) Tour du Mont Blanc, which passes through France, Switzerland, and Italy. This adventure is natural since it passes through breathtaking glacial scenery and nine different towns.
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04 Dune du Pilat
Pyla is the name given by the locals to the awe-inspiring form that is the tallest sand dune in Europe. It is 500 meters (1,640 feet) in length from east to west and approximately 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) in length from north to south.
It is one of the most distinctive landscapes on the planet and can be found in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of France, close to Bordeaux, sandwiched between Arcachon Bay, the Atlantic Ocean, and a pine forest. Putting its size aside, the thing that strikes you as most remarkable about it is that it is located right there in the middle of that lovely pine tree forest.
Colorful paragliders frequently fill the sky due to the area’s ideal sports conditions, thanks to its exposed seaside location and steep slopes. The towering landmark is accessible year-round, and its peak, which is more than 100 meters (330 feet) above ground, offers breathtaking vistas.
If you go to the dune’s base, you’ll find yourself at Arcachon, a town renowned for its oysters. Restaurant “La Coorniche,” recently refurbished by French designer Philippe Starck, is located a short distance from the dunes. The five-star Hotel La Coorniche offers the greatest rates and accommodations.
05 Mer de Glace
The greatest glacier in France is a valley glacier stretching for 7.5 kilometers (4.7 miles) and measuring 200 meters (655 feet) in depth on the northern side slopes of the Mont Blanc massif.
British historian William Coxe originally defined it as appearing like “waves froze in the middle of a fierce storm,” It is currently one of the most well-known sites in the Chamonix Valley.
Take a cable car to the top of the glacier, where you’ll find an artificial “ice grotto” adorned with ice sculptures; get the lowdown on glaciers at the Glaciarium, and dine in style at the panoramic Restaurant Le Panoramique Mer de Glace, perched a high 1,200 meters (3,950 feet) above the ocean.
Learn everything there is to know about glaciology. Hop on Chamonix’s charming tiny red train, and you’ll be whisked a thousand meters higher to the location of “Montenvers-Mer de Glace.” You’ll need to buy tickets in advance or arrange for a guided excursion if you plan on diving into the Arctic Sea. You can do this in person at the Chamonix Tourist Office, or you can do it online by making reservations for tours and activities.
06 Etretat Cliffs
Another most attractive natural wonder is Etretat Cliffs. As the sun sets and pastels fill the sky, it’s easy to see why the arches of Étretat inspired so many impressionist painters. These chalk cliffs and rock arches, which have been dramatically worn by wind and water over millennia, are one of France’s most memorable coastal panoramas.
Give yourself over to the awe-inspiring sights of nature. Take it easy and enjoy your time in Normandy. Located in a farming hamlet in Normandy, the Étretat Cliffs are a prominent landmark overlooking a popular beach resort that has attracted the likes of Boudin, Monet, Lupin, Maupassant, , and Courbet over the years. The similarities to an elephant sticking its trunk into the water, as described by Maupassant, are readily apparent upon closer inspection.
The three natural arches in the cliffs and the sharp “needle” that rises from the Atlantic Ocean on its own are among the most recognizable features of the area. White chalk forms the cliffs, which are draped in a verdant carpet of mosses and grasses. In the summers, the white pebble beaches below the cliffs are perfect for swimming and sunbathing.
07 Camargue Salt Flats
Our final selected France’s natural wonder is Camargue Salt Flats. One of Europe’s largest wetlands can be found in the Camargue region to the east of Montpellier; these pink salt flats have gained international renown. In addition to the white Camargue horses and fierce black bulls, this enchanted terrain is also frequented by colorful flocks of pink flamingos. As a result of microscopic algae, the saline water takes on a pinkish hue, and the flamingos also take on the same color.
From March through November, visitors can take a guided tour of the salt lakes via rail, bicycle, or foot or explore the area independently via bicycle. The airport in Montpellier is only 20 minutes away from the salt marshes in Aigues-Mortes. Come for a stroll around the Camargue Regional Park and admire the lovely flamingos and semi-free-ranging horses.
Calanques de Piana
The Calanques de Piana is a collection of Corsican Calanques that may be found in Piana, on the Gulf of Porto, between Ajaccio and Calvi. Les Calanques de Piana is widely regarded as one of the most spectacular natural attractions in France. It can be reached from the airport in Ajaccio in just 90 minutes by driving.
French author Guy de Maupassant praised the Calanques de Piana as a natural wonder of France. In this breathtaking setting, you can go for a stroll along one of the many hiking routes that have been developed for this purpose. Its natural beauty, abundant marine life, and singular maquis shrubland have earned it a place among the other monuments in the Gulf of Porto that make up a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There is red ochre in the crevices of the rocks.
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