Birdwatching in France

Pink flamingos in the Camargue Natural Park Flickr user Sven Lindner

Birdwatching has always been a favourite pastime of mine, and wherever I go, I’ll always bring my trusty bird book. There’s nothing better than a country walk, binoculars in hand, looking for birds high and low. Europe has some lovely places for birdwatching, but France has to be one of my favourite spots, as the birds vary so much from region to region. What with its many wetlands, mountainous regions and coastal stretches, France is full of places to look for birds. Whether you’re a keen birdwatcher or you’d like to give it a try, read on for my guide to the best birdwatching spots in France.

Camargue Natural Park

To be found in France’s south west, on the Mediterranean coast, Camargue Natural Park is home to flocks of wild birds, including the pink flamingos for which the area is famous. Thanks to the park’s wetlands, the beautiful flamingos can be seen throughout the year, but the best time to go is spring and autumn. As well as pink flamingos, look out for grey herons too.

Look out for grey herons
Look out for grey herons Flickr user Noel Reynolds

The Tarn Gorge

Running from Le Rozier to Quézac in the Lozère department, the Tarn Gorge is one the deepest (and most beautiful) gorges in the world. Not only is the Gorge beautiful, with its limestone cliffs, luscious greenery and picturesque villages, but it’s also the perfect habitat for lots of great birds. Black vultures and griffon vultures are common in this region, as well as other cliff-dwelling birds. My family and I love hiking through here!

The magnificent Tarn Gorge
The magnificent Tarn Gorge Flickr user Jim Trodelr

The Forest of Rennes

The Forest of Rennes can be found to the north-east of the city, and is easily accessible by car. This lovely forest covers almost 3,000 hectares, including several lakes, making it Brittany’s largest forest. The forest is home many types of flora and fauna, and it is especially good for birdwatching. European honey buzzards can be found alongside pretty kingfishers and several varieties of woodpecker.

The beautiful Forest of Rennes
The beautiful Forest of Rennes Flickr user Sylenius

The Bay of the Somme

Made up of marshes, dunes and saltwater meadows, The Bay of the Somme is known for its unique landscape and the incredible ecological environment this has created. It is, undoubtedly, one the best places to birdwatch in France. Make your way to the Parc du Marquenterre, where you can hire binoculars, and look out for storks, spoonbills, oystercatchers and egrets.

Lac de Grand-Lieu

You’ll find the Lac de Grand-Lieu about an hour’s drive south of Nantes, in Upper Brittany. This magnificent lake is one of France’s largest, and it is home to a wide variety of beautiful plants and animals. Approximately 270 species of bird can be found at the lake, making it a prime location for birdwatchers. You can see purple herons, black-necked grebes, little egrets and many more. This is a great place to explore some of France’s most beautiful birds.

Find black-necked grebes at Lac de Grand-Lieu.
Find black-necked grebes at Lac de Grand-Lieu. Flickr user Frank Vassen

Start your birdwatching adventure…

… with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle. Travel from Folkestone to Calais in just 35 minutes, and from there, you can drive wherever you please.

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