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Spring 2022

Discover Paris in the spring, Caen in Normandy and its marvellous markets plus Yvoire, a picturesque village on the edge of Lake Geneva in Haute-Savoie. Explore Saint-Omer, a historic city in the far north that's full of secrets and treasures, and Evian, where Frankenstein's monster stayed! Head with us to Metz in Lorraine to find out about its incredible past, La Couvertoirade, one of the prettiest villages in France, and the UNESCO heritage of Avignon. Guides, gorgeous photos, what's new in France, the best tours and delicious recipes from the legendary Le Nôtre bakery in Paris - and more.

Discover Paris in the spring, Caen in Normandy and its marvellous markets plus Yvoire, a picturesque village on the edge of Lake Geneva in Haute-Savoie. Explore Saint-Omer, a historic city in the far north that's full of secrets and treasures, and Evian, where Frankenstein's monster stayed! Head with us to Metz in Lorraine to find out about its incredible past, La Couvertoirade, one of the prettiest villages in France, and the UNESCO heritage of Avignon. Guides, gorgeous photos, what's new in France, the best tours and delicious recipes from the legendary Le Nôtre bakery in Paris - and more.

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AMY McPHERSON

finds beauty and adventure in unspoiled territory

Before I went, I had no idea where Vercors

was, but I did know it was famous for its

outdoor activities. A two hour car journey

from Lyon Airport brought me to a small

range of pre-Alps mountains that straddles

the departments of Isère and Drome in southeastern

France. As we turned off the dusty

highway into the valley, I was greeted by a

heavenly view. The hills were a crisp lime

green and the sky a brilliant blue. Vercors

makes a great first impression.

I came here seeking an adventure. Vercors, a

utopia for outdoors enthusiast, was ready to

indulge me.

Hiking in Hauts Plateaux

Nature Reserve

One of the great things about hiking is that all

you need is a good solid pair of shoes. It is so

easy to simply walk into nature and feel miles

away from civilisation. Being a mountainous

region, Vercors has plenty of hiking options

on offer.

In the Hauts Plateaux Nature Reserve, the

largest land-based metropolitan reserve in

France, there are no roads or houses, apart

from refuge huts providing shelter for hikers.

The 17,000 hectares of wild land with its

forests of oaks, beeches, firs, spruce, pines

is home to much wildlife including marmots,

black grouse, Alpine ibex, vultures and

golden eagles.

Paths that crisscross the reserve are rocky with

limestone which has been sculpted by water

and weather, covered with pine needles and

tree roots, lined with mountain flora. The moist

undergrowth of the forest is full of ferns, fungi

and fabulous fauna. I spotted Lady’s Slipper

orchids, Edelweiss, Gentians, as well as the

rare scabiosa columbaria ‘Vercors’ in various

shades of purple. Other than the crunch of

my footsteps, the only other sounds were the

whistle of the wind and the rustle of leaves. So

quiet, not even the birds stirred. The air was

fresh, the surrounding nature energising, and

the sound of silence meditating.

Gentle cycling along

ViaVercors

No respectable ‘outdoor destination’ would

be without the offer of some great cycling.

The Good Life France | 67

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