As soon as the kids are back to school and you regain your freedom, the leaves start to fall. Not only are you free to relax and enjoy the cooler climate, but you also get to watch the season change right before your eyes. And you don’t have to stay at home to watch the leaves change to their autumnal browns and yellows from your window–why not head to the French Alps to see some of the most beautiful leaf peeping in the world instead?
The fall foliage in France is spectacular to watch transform, and in the Alps you can take a number of hiking and nature trails to really experience the leaf peep. The climate in France at this time of year is perfect for walking, by the afternoon you won’t have overheated but will instead feel warm and comfortable.
You may also be lucky enough to experience a local harvest festival in the French Alps during the fall, usually celebrated with local wine and roasted chestnuts. Mushroom hunting also begins in October in France, and gives you a chance to experience a traditional French activity.
Whether you prefer slow strolls, taking incredible photographs of stunning scenery and colorful fall foliage, or battling through serious hikes into the mountains, then the Alps in France have something for you. With over 22,000 miles of well-kept trails, you can explore the Alps this fall without the summer rush of tourists and the overbearing heat. Reserve a rental car in France to experience true travel freedom as you embark on a journey through the French Alps on a hunt for inspiring natural beauty.
Here are the best ways to enjoy the French Alps in the fall and experience the beautiful French leaf peep:
Ecrins National Park
This diverse national park and reserve is activity-packed during the fall. From walking and biking along the park’s set trails and paths to hiking glaciers and 12,000-feet high mountains, the park is a piece of paradise for nature lovers and extreme sport enthusiasts alike. Experience parts of the valley that have been left completely untouched by humans, and if you are craving some French food or if your hike gets a little too demanding then you can head for the quaint village of La Chapelle en Valgaudemar for some local cheese and wine.
Queyras Regional Park
If you like to discover the undiscovered, then Queyras Regional Park is for you. Relatively untouched by tourists, the park feels especially Alpine with impressive views of snowfields, pine forests and plenty of rugged mountainsides. Some trails in the park are specifically for advanced hikers and, in fact, skiers, as some parts of the park cannot be accessed without snowshoes or skis. Many treks begin in the village of Montbardon, and take in a lot of quiet and unexplored French villages. It’s advised to take many of the treks in the park, unless you are extremely experienced, with a professional guide.
Mercantour National Park
Created in 1979, Mercantour National Park is located in the Alpes Provence, with most of its territory almost uninhabited by man. The park features some of the most impressive natural landscapes France has to offer, such as the Vallee des Merveilles (the Valley of Marvels) where you can find prehistoric engravings carved into the rocks and the Cime du Gelas (the third highest mountain in the Maritime Alps). The park has over 370 miles of footpaths, with plenty of flora and fauna to watch. While the park is just an hour’s drive away from Nice, with its valleys, mountain streams and lakes, the reserve feels like worlds away from the city.
Tour de Mont Blanc
One of the world’s classic treks, the tour de Mont Blanc takes in the regional villages of the Alps, challenging trails and plenty of phenomenal views of the mountain range. On this trek you can not only experience the changing of the season, but also the variety of cultures that make the region so exciting–with both Swiss and Italian cultures having an impact on the French cuisine here. Mont Blanc is Western Europe’s highest peak, and so this can be a difficult trek for more experienced walkers and hikers, however with an experienced guide and the right equipment it is possible for amateurs to take the trail.
Throughout the winter months La Grave is famous for its fantastic skiing, but if you venture to the famous ski resort outside of the peak snow times, and see the landscape just before it snows you won’t regret it. With over 400 miles of maintained trails, La Grave can be accessed by walkers and hikers on foot, so you can forget your skis for this one. Witness the yellow, brown and green landscape deepen in color in this region just before the winter strikes.
Largely undiscovered by tourists to the Southern Alps, Champsaur Valley is also known for being one of the most authentic French Alps destinations. Take in the unspoilt wilderness and wildlife by walking the many trails and pathways in the valley. The valley is also a great place to meet local residents of the Alps and experience rural traditions of the region by stopping off in some of the sparse villages and farms.
Experience Stunning Fall Foliage in France with Auto Europe
Get out and peep some leaves around the French Alps this Fall, and enjoy the tranquil natural scenery in the area. Auto Europe makes it easy and affordable for travelers to vacation in France. Whether you need to book hotel reservations for in-between nights during your foliage follies, or a motorhome rental to take you and your family to the next camp ground, Auto Europe can take care of it for you, at the best prices in the industry.