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The Eiffel Tower, the Palace of Versailles, and the Bridge du Gard are just a few of the spectacular man-made structures that make France famous, but the country’s natural beauty is just as appealing.Move beyond the cultural expectations of the city and enjoy the natural paradises that France offers visitors. France is home to a wealth of breathtaking natural treasures, from the soaring Alps to the surreal salt plains of the Camargue.
Aiguille (or “needle”) is the name of this stunning granite mountain in the Mont Blanc range of the French Alps because of its piercing pyramidal shape. The mountain, also known as Les Drus, has two peaks, the 3,733m (12,247ft) Petit Dru and the 3,754m (12,316ft) Grand Dru, despite its apparent monolithic appearance. The mountain is famed among climbers and has a long history of climbing. It has a number of difficult and ice routes. An aluminium statue of Our Lady of Lourdes was famously attempted to be placed at the peak in 1913 by a group of climbers. But, because of terrible weather, the monument was left in a rocky cleft until 1919, when it was ultimately raised to the peak, where it is still located today.
One of Europe’s largest wetlands, the Camargue is located to the east of Montpellier and is most known for its surreal pink salt flats. Together with colonies of colourful pink flamingos, this stunning terrain is also home to wild black bulls, white Camargue horses, and white flamingos. A microscopic algae that also gives flamingos their unique pink colour has tainted the saline water pink. From March to November, the salt lakes are typically open. You can schedule a guided trip by rail, bicycle, or foot, or you can go biking on your own.
These seven red granite peaks, which resemble needles, are located in the Corsica Regional Natural Park on the southernmost extremity of the island, about an hour and a half from the cliffside town of Bonifacio. The mountains offer a range of paths for hikers and rock climbers of various levels of skill, all of which are surrounded by an impressive forest of wind-swept, dramatic black pine trees. The well-known GR 20 (Grande Randonnée) hiking trail passes by the imposing Notre-Dame des Neiges (Our Lady of the Snow) statue as it crosses the Asinao Valley at the base of the mountains.
The tallest sand dune in Europe is 500 metres (1,640 feet) from east to west and almost 3 kilometres (1.9 miles) from north to south. It is known locally as Pyla. It is one of the most extraordinary locations in the world, sandwiched between the Atlantic Ocean, Arcachon Bay, and a pine forest in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine area close to Bordeaux. The area’s exposed seaside location and steep hills make it a haven for paragliding, and bright gliders are frequently spotted dotting the sky above. Visitors can climb to the summit of the stunning monument, which is more than 100 metres (330 feet) above sea level, at any time of the year for expansive views.
The largest glacier in France is this valley glacier, which is 7.5 km (4.7 mi) long, 200 m (655 ft) deep, and has a network of feeder glaciers. It is situated on the northern slopes of the Mont Blanc massif. One of the most well-liked sights in the Chamonix Valley, it was originally characterised by British historian William Coxe as looking like “waves immediately frozen in the midst of a tremendous storm.” Take a cable car to an artificial “ice grotto” that has been carved into a glacier and is filled with ice sculptures. Learn more about glaciers at the Glaciarium. Enjoy gourmet dining at Restaurant Le Panoramique Mer de Glace, which is located 1,200 metres (3,950 feet) above sea level (praline buns).