Sports & Outdoors

The top 10 activity holidays in France

Whatever activity holiday type you’re looking for, this Eurotunnel Le Shuttle guide to the 10 best activity holidays in France will give you inspiration.

Calling all adventure seekers. We have put together a list of fun activity-based breaks for you to take in France.  Whether you are travelling solo or want a family getaway, the choice is yours. Just be ready for an adrenalin rush or two!

Family activity holidays

Family activities can be tricky if you have a lot of different ages involved, but we have something for everyone here.

Cycling in Normandy

Cycling is a wonderful way to explore the French countryside.  This is a slower paced activity, perfect if you have little ones in tow. You’re active but still have plenty of energy to see the sights. Normandy is a beautiful place to be at any time of the year, although spring is a favourite time to visit for many thanks to the festivals and events.

Normandy’s miles of coastline make for some lovely cycle routes, and you can stop off at some of its medieval towns such as Foulognes or Crèvecoeur-en-Auge (complete with castle) to sample local culture and culinary delights.

Horse riding in the Seine Valley

Meander through the Seine Valley on horseback for a unique view of the forests, ancient architecture and historical monuments. If you have a passion for horses, what better way to spend your time in this idyllic setting? You don’t have to be an expert rider either, as many of the companies that provide ponies and horses also have a variety of routes and guides to help you. Many offer onsite parking and disabled access too.

blue green waters with people swimming with a huge stone archway above it

Family fun in the Ardèche

The Ardèche region is in southern-central France and forms the south-west corner of the Rhone-Alpes. It is extremely remote, but this makes for stunning scenery and perfect hiking trails through its forests and dramatic gorges.

Take the whole family and spend a day sunbathing, swimming and kayaking at Pont d’Arc, Ardèche, a stunning natural 60-meter-wide bridge and archway bending over the Ardèche River. The water here is gentle, great for inexperienced or younger swimmers and the sandy beach is popular in warmer weather. You can rent a kayak or canoe for a paddle and to admire the Pont d’Arc from different angles.

Madeleine Cave is another amazing feature of the canyons and gorges of Ardèche. The cave is found in the heart of the Ardèche Canyon beside the Ardèche River on the road from the Pont d’Arc. Although you cannot enter the cave itself – the museum is great fun for all generations.

Canyoning and white-water rafting in the Pyrenees

Although this mountain range is better known for its brilliant hiking routes, water lovers can try their hand at white-water rafting down the Aude River for a thrill. Join a group as a solo adventurer or hurl yourself into a raft with your friends or family. You can choose levels of difficulty to make sure you get your thrills safely!

Canyoning explores the steep valleys and mountain streams that lead to the formation of canyons in mountain ranges. The idea is to follow the river downstream in any way possible – sliding, swimming, jumping, climbing and abseiling. You take a guide or instructor with you and they will help you navigate each exciting route.

The best time for both of these activities in France is July to September as the water is warmer and there is some beautiful flora and fauna to be spotted as well as the stunning views.

Activity holidays in the Gorges du Verdon

This area in the south of France is ripe for a hiking holiday. Pack your boots and plot a route through the peaks and valleys to see limestone rugged paths and waters running through dense wooded areas. Hiking is something most people can do as long as you choose the right route and prepare with snacks and planned stops. We have a whole guide to hiking the Gorges Du Verdon here to help you.

Group of friends snowshoeing over a mountain range covered in fluffy white snow

For the more adventurous

If you like your activities a little more on the adventurous side, here are some excellent breaks you can take to try them out or re-experience the thrill! Set against the stunning scenery of France, fun is guaranteed. You can also try our guide to extreme sports in France.

Snowshoeing in the Alps

Snowshoeing is a brilliant way to explore the beautiful snow-covered mountains. Suitable for all ages and fitness levels, you can hire the equipment needed for reasonable prices and learn the basic techniques easily. Navigate trails with a guide or venture out on marked routes as a group, wrap up warm and get ready to see some wonderful views. Not a cold weather fan? We have ideas for summer in the Alps too!

Mountain biking on the Grande Traversée du Jura

The Jura Traverse is a famous French long-distance mountain bike route through a region known for its mountain scenery, quaint villages, and delicious cheese. Inbetween stretches of woodland, hilly landscapes, and rocky tracks you will find quaint villages with rustic pubs and friendly locals.

Although the route isn’t physically too difficult, you will need to be careful with navigation. There are numerous bike shops around for renting a bike or repairs to your own along the way should you need it.

Paragliding over the Annecy Lake

Annecy sits above the Regional Natural Park of the Bauges Massif in the region of Haute-Savoie. Its lake attracts tourists year-round and is known as Europe’s cleanest. As the third largest body of water in France, it’s also popular for activity breaks, with swimming, diving, and boating for starters.

Paragliding offers unique views of the lake and its surrounded landscape. For first timers, an instructor will help you to stay safe and help you to have fun while also getting the thrill of swooping over the water.

Planning a trip but not a thrill seeker? Read our guide on what to do in Annecy.

Racetrack on coast with sandyachts lined up in a row

Sand yachting in Brittany

Sand yachting or land-sailing is fun for everyone. You can speed about on the beach on your own little buggy, attached to a sail to help you achieve speed. Expect to get a little wet even with the tide out, as you swish through the sand and kick up salt water.

Brittany has some of the loveliest coastline in the country, ideal for this activity. And when you’re done, you can head to one of these hidden gems for a day trip or overnight stay.

Surfing on the Atlantic Coast

Surf schools are dotted along the Atlantic Coast for all abilities to take advantage. The Atlantic Silver Coast that meets with Spain in the south is where many surf fans head in the summer, with hot spots including Lacanau, Hossegor, and Biarritz in the Basque Country. The quality of the waves here is so good thanks to the funnel shape of the Bay of Biscay which channels the waves in to eager surfers waiting to ride them.

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