Backpacking Across the South of France

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Backpacking Across the South of France
« on: May 01, 2013, 16:57:18 »
Backpacking Across the South of France

Backpacking Across the South of France
Timeshare in the south of france
Travelers looking for a new challenge should consider the benefits of backpacking across the South of France. As well as having the chance to enjoy the Mediterranean climate, the South of France is ideal for exploring cities and ports in a relatively inexpensive way, while being able to take advantage of hiking routes through Provence and Languedoc-Roussillon; other destinations that reward solo and group backpacking include the Provence-Alpes and the Pyrenees mountains, which are on the border with Spain.
Key regions within the South of France include Provence and the Cote d’Azur, home to some of France’s largest and most luxurious cities in Cannes, Marseilles, and Nice, as well as the principality of Monte Carlo. Further West, you can enjoy the fields and paths of Languedoc-Roussillon, as well as cities like Montpellier, Nimes, and Toulon, as well as border crossings into Spain via Perpignan.
In terms of getting around, France is distinguished by its excellent and affordable train service; you can buy tickets that will take you around the coastal and inland areas of the South of France, with high speed connections also available between cities. A France Rail Pass is considerably cheaper than similar trips around the UK; there are also many hostels dotted around the South of France, many of which can be found via the French Youth Hostels Federation; other options include gites, which are typically French cottages that offer self catering.
For serious walkers and hikers, you can explore the Mercantour French National Park and the hills and mountains of the Provence-Alpes and the Pyrenees. Again, public transport around these areas is relatively cheap, and there is plenty of camping opportunities. For longer hikes, routes like the Grand Randonee can take you all the way from Nice on the Cote D’Azur up to Amsterdam; other routes will cross between the flatter areas of Provence and Languedoc-Roussillon – the latter region includes the Saint Jean-Cap Ferrat Hike. If you can, try to hike outside of September, when the French hunting season is in effect.
In terms of city exploring, expect to find Cannes and Nice to be expensive; while you can find cheaper accommodation, your options may be limited for Cannes. Aix-en-Provence is a good alternative if you want to see a different part of the Provence region, while smaller cities like Montpellier and Nimes will save you on accommodation and shopping costs. Areas like the Cap D’Ail, which is on the Cote D’Azur, are also recommended.
As with any backpacking trip, remember to get hold of a European Health Insurance Card before you travel, and be careful on back roads and forests if traveling alone. There are many free and wild camping sites in the South of France, but always seek permission if using someone’s land. Moreover, expect the climate to be very humid during the Summer, even when you come off the main coast and head inland. Get specialist travel insurance if climbing or hiking in mountainous areas, and always have contact numbers ready if you do get caught out.
image credit to najarich
Author Bio
Emily Steves enjoys the challenges of traveling around a country with only a backpack.  She plans on staying in Carcassonne during her next visit to France. Emily will be sure to write about this in her next article!
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