The national parks of France are a system of 9 national parks throughout metropolitan France and its overseas departments, maintained by the government agency Parcs Nationaux de France. The French national parks protect a total area of 3,710 km² in central zones and 9,162 km² in secondary zones in metropolitan France. This puts over 2% of the total area of metropolitan France under some level of protection. French national parks draw over 7 million visitors every year.
To know more about the National Parks in France, please visit this website:
- Vanoise National Park (Parc national de la Vanoise) (6 July 1963)
Located in the Alps (Savoie department), the national park was created after mobilization from the environmentalist movement against a touristic project. It was the first French national park.
The park is bordered by several famous French ski resorts (Les Trois Vallées, Tignes, Val-d’Isère, La Plagne). On the Italian side of the border, the park is continued by the Gran Paradiso National Park. Together, these two parks cover over 1250 km².
La Grande Casse -Vanoise mountain range
To know more about the Vanoise National Park, you can visit this website: http://www.vanoise.com/indexgb.htm
For beautiful pictures on the Vanoise: http://www.montagne-photos.org/galerie_vanoise.html
- Port-Cros National Park (Parc national de Port-Cros) (14 December 1963) – 7 km²
It is established on the Mediterranean island of Port-Cros, east of Toulon.
It was founded in 1963 after the island of Port-Cros was bought by the state. The state is the sole land owner on the island, which is a natural protected area.
- Pyrénées National Park (Parc national des Pyrénées) (23 March 1967) – 457 km²
is located within the departments of Hautes-Pyrénées and Pyrénées-Atlantiques.
Along the border of France and Spain is a scenic and mountainous landscape offering a variety of outdoor activities including hiking, skiing, mountain climbing and observing wildlife.
According to the Pyrenees National Park website, the park is a natural heritage without barriers or fences where animals are totally free. Devoted to preserving biodiversity and landscapes, studying wildlife and plant species, the park is home to 70 different species of animals.
To know more about the Pyrénées National Park, you can visit this website:
- Cévennes National Park (Parc national des Cévennes) (2 September 1970) – 913 km²
is located in southern France, in the mountainous area of Cévennes, more precisely in the departments of Lozère and Gard, and covers some parts of Ardèche and Aveyron. The Aven Armand cave is located in the park.
Famous caves in the Cévennes.
To know more about the Cévennes National Park: http://www.pnc.fr/English/tabid/112/language/en-US/Default.aspx
It is possible to approach marmots and even to touch them if you are patient! If you can carry a few carrots with you, it will help!
Mountain goats are more difficult to approach…once again, if you have something to offer to them, it will help! It’s important that you sit and wait. They are harmless animals but if you try to approach them at all cost, they might injure themselves while running away.
It is very common to see crosses in the French mountains…most of the time, they are there to protect the valley and the hikers. Sometimes, it is to mention the death of a person. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the person was killed in a mountain accident. Some elderly people want their ashes to be spread over the mountain.