Regional Nature Parks: activities and local heritage in the great outdoors

Created in 1967 to preserve biodiversity, notably through the promotion of sustainable agriculture, France's 48 regional nature parks also shine the spotlight on local heritage and increase employment. The government thus wishes to support the creation of more than 15 other parks by 2020.

The Auvergne volcanoes, the massifs of Queyras and Armorique, the Landes de Gascogne, Caps and Marais d'Opale, Ballons des Vosges,Luberon, French Guyana, Martinique... These regional nature parks, spread out throughout metropolitan France, Corsica and the overseas territories, are pristine and preserved, offering uniquely diverse landscapes where grandiose mountains, waterfronts and forests intermingle.

For trekking and hiking lovers, the regional nature parks boast kilometres of marked trails dotted with fauna and flora observation points and lookouts. Water activities such as canoeing and canyoning are also possible, as are more extreme sports like climbing and mountaineering. There is, without a doubt, something for everyone, from accomplished athletes to those simply seeking active leisure.

Visitors also have opportunities to discover ancestral local traditions and taste regional products -- fruits and their by-products, pastries and sweets, beverages, honey, milk products... -- via guided hikes, visits to farms, bistros and typical restaurants.

And youngsters have not been forgotten, quite the contrary! Through sporting circuits, workshops, discovery classes, educational farms and more, regional nature parks offer children a range of athletic and cultural activities,inciting them to have fun while exploring the wealth of our regions.