When people think of French mountains, their minds inevitably jump to the Alps and, more precisely, Mont Blanc. But there are five other ranges in France offering beautiful, challenging trails, including the Vosges and Jura in the northeast, the Massif Central in the south, the Pyrenees, and the island of Corsica. The 10 peaks below are among the country’s most rewarding climbs.
Unlike the Alps, the Luberon Natural Regional Park is never swarming with tourists. This UNESCO-listed nature reserve is located in the Haut-Vaucluse region of Provence and replete with footpaths that link historic villages and towns.
The Mourre Nègre is the highest peak in the Luberon massif but the 1,125-meter summit makes for a relatively easy ascent. Its unusual name, which translates from Provençal as ‘black muzzle’, refers to both its rounded shape and the pine trees which grow on its slopes.
Montagne Sainte Victoire
Further south towards Aix-en-Provence and Marseille is the Montagne Sainte-Victoire. Fans of Paul Cézanne will no doubt be familiar with this mountain which offers excellent climbing opportunities. The artist could see the mountain from his house and painted it numerous times between 1877 and his death in 1906.
The region is famed for its good weather. The temperature rarely dips below freezing even in the depths of winter and summer temperatures can reach as high as 35°C. However, it is subject to the strong blowing Mistral wind.