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Guide: Beginner Hiking, everything you need to know to get started

Autumn in France, an ideal season for hiking
September 2023 - reading time : 5 minutes
Of the many ways to enjoy autumn, hiking stands out as one of the most immersive experiences. With the climate gradually cooling, the leaves turning a beautiful shade of orange, the days getting shorter and tourists fewer in number, it's the perfect time for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts to set off and discover new places. 
Whether you're a fan of majestic mountains, rugged coastlines or serene valleys, France offers an incredible variety of landscapes to explore in autumn. In this article, we'll guide you through some of the most beautiful walks in France, where you can admire nature's transformations and immerse yourself in an unforgettable palette of colours.
Pack your hiking boots, put on a warm jacket and follow us as we explore the enchanting autumn trails of France. Whether you're a seasoned hiker or a novice looking for adventure, alone or in a group, these destinations promise you a sure-fire way to marvel at the heart of French nature at this time of year.
The Vosges - trails filled with lakes and forests, all in the mid-range mountains
In the heart of the Vosges massif, a little-known hiking destination is revealed: the GR 53 trail. Although the highest point in the Vosges only rises to an altitude of 1,400 metres, this is a unique mountain experience. The massif, located in eastern France, is packed with natural treasures.
The GR 53 is 167 kilometres long. Known as the "sandstone trail", it crosses the northern part of the Vosges, offering a varied perspective on this massif. The journey begins in Wissembourg, a charming town in the Bas-Rhin department, and ends in Niederbronn-les-Bains, marked by easily recognisable red signposts.
Whether you're a seasoned hiker looking to conquer a major change in altitude, or a walker looking for a quiet discovery, the Vosges will satisfy all your desires (forests, mountains, etc.).
Meet the fauna and flora of the Bay of Arcachon
Autumn in the Bassin d'Arcachon offers a wilderness walking experience that will appeal to lovers of outdoor adventure. The 90-kilometre GR® de Pays Tour du Bassin d'Arcachon offers a leisurely exploration of this small inland sea, with its exceptional landscapes and natural sites that characterise the region.
The Bay of Arcachon, dominated by the Dune du Pilat, is a popular destination all year round, but it's in autumn that its natural beauty really comes into its own. Milder temperatures and a reduction in summer tourism create an ideal setting for hikers in search of tranquillity and discovery. 
This trail offers a varied itinerary, taking in the Atlantic coastline, beaches, salt marshes and the region's characteristic pine forests. You'll be amazed by the diversity of flora and fauna that inhabit these lands. Autumn adds a special dimension to your adventure. The warm colours of autumn leaves mingle with the already varied palette of colours in the region, creating an even more captivating landscape.
In a nutshell
Autumn is a great time to explore nature in France, and these three regions offer unique experiences for walkers. From the wild coast of Brittany to the colourful forests of the Vosges and the Arcachon Basin, there's bound to be a destination to suit your taste! All that's left to do is pack your hiking boots, take a few days off and you're off for a trip with family, friends or even... on your own! Just make sure you **plan your itinerary according to your experience** and **take account of local weather conditions**. And if you're a beginner, don't worry! We've also put together a guide to everything you need to know about hiking before you start (equipment, hiking routes, rules and safety...).
What's next for you?