April 28, 2016

Summer-Sun-with-your-Dog-Outdoors-hero Explore the scenic beauty of the Parc Naturel Regional des Monts d'Ardèche – Image by Flickr user Sébastien FAILLON

France in summer is captivating. The countryside comes alive with the sound of wildlife and the smell of fresh grass, while you can enjoy panoramic views of the rolling hillside. It can be difficult to travel without your dog, but with a bit of planning you needn’t leave them behind this summer. Spend sunny days walking through the French countryside with your pooch and use our guide to some of our favourite summer walking routes below.

Before you leave…

While France is generally very accepting of dogs and dog walkers, there are a few rules to remember. During summer, dogs are banned from all guarded public beaches. However, “wild” or unguarded beaches are the exception to this rule, so keep a look out for these when walking your pooch in France.

If you’re walking through farmland or near to livestock, remember to keep your dog on a leash. Wooded areas should also be explored with care. Look out for signs saying “piège” (meaning “traps”) and if you see one, keep your dog on the lead and stick to the path.

Parc Naturel Regional des Monts d'Ardèche

While dogs aren’t allowed in most national parks across France, many regional parks and areas of natural beauty operate under local laws. Generally speaking, dogs are okay as long as they’re kept on the leash. The Parc Naturel Regional des Monts d'Ardèche covers approximately 180,000 hectares, so there are plenty of trails for you and your dog to discover together. There are lots of accessible paths to follow, ranging from easy to strenuous. If you’ve got the kids with you as well, or you simply want a pleasant ramble with your pooch, try taking one of the Interpretive Trails. The Brion circuit takes you through a secret valley, past an ancient volcano and to the site of a medieval village.


The mountains around Morzine are a great place to visit in the summer months, and the most popular activities in this area are walking and hiking. In summer, the trails around the Portes du Soleil are transformed from powdery ski slopes to great hiking routes. There are approximately 200 kilometres of well-signposted walking trails for you to explore, with one of the best and most accessible taking walkers through the alpine meadows at Col de l'Encrenaz. From there, the trail will take you towards the summit of Char des Quais, with views of the surrounding mountains, such as Mont Blanc, welcoming you at the top. In this area, dogs must be kept on leashes until the end of July in order to protect local wildlife.

The Morzine mountains
Explore the pretty Morzine mountains in summer. © eGuide Travel

West Normandy

A stone’s throw from Calais, the walking routes in west Normandy and around La Manche are ideal for walks with your furry friend. Follow one of the signposted routes along the rugged coastline (the GR 223 is the most popular), or check out any of the other routes which snake through the green Normandy hills. One of the prettiest walks can be found around Cherbourg, where you’ll discover the largest artificial harbour in the world, the bay of Mont Saint-Michel and the pretty sands around Côte des Havres.

Lac du Drennec

The routes surrounding the Lac du Drennec in Brittany provide a number of splendid summer walks. Covering a lot of flat ground, these trails are ideal if you’re looking for a more relaxed ramble with your pooch. Go for a scenic stroll along the edge of the lake and take yourself towards the local commune of Sizun, passing the river Élorn on your way. This part of France boasts beautiful old trees, a range of rare flora and picturesque farmland. When you arrive back at the lake, pop into the local restaurant, Au Lac, and dine on a well-earned lunch at one of the outdoor tables. Camping spots can be found nearby if you’re looking to stay the night. 

Lac du Drennec
Take a long stroll around the Lac du Drennec with your dog. © Tourisme Roscoff

Ready to travel to France this summer?

With Eurotunnel Le Shuttle you can travel from Folkestone to Calais in just 35 minutes, and from there, France is waiting to be explored.

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