According to a study by the French Ministry of Sports published in 2016, there are about 16 million French people who often go hiking. The French go hiking everywhere since France offers a diversity of regions and landscapes where there is something for everyone!
Whether they walk on coastal, plain or mountain paths, discovering summits, forests, seashores or small villages on their way, there are about 5.5 million of them who practice this activity regularly. A third of them even say they walk at least once a week.
Among the hikers, many of them prefer to go hiking in a group and mostly in family: 42% walk in family and 39% in couple. Indeed, more than half of them discovered hiking with their relatives and 35% were introduced to it by friends. The French prefer to walk independently and in a friendly atmosphere; only 11% of them hike in the framework of an association. Walking is above all about the pleasure of discovering and sharing the paths and landscapes that are on their way.
As far as the level of hiking is concerned, French hikers consider that they have a rather good level: 81% of them consider that they walk often enough to have a good walking pace without being too tired and thus find a balance between physical effort and the pleasure of the senses linked to the sight of the landscapes.
Hiking is a mixed activity, practiced by almost as many men as women, of different ages and profiles, but it should be noted that it is mainly seniors who walk the most: 43% of hikers are over 50 years old and 27% of them are retired. If seniors can walk much more often than younger people, the majority of French people go walking on weekends or during vacations, when they have the time and the desire to go to the countryside to take a breath of fresh air and to discover the French landscape together.
There is a huge amount of hiking trails in France, in all regions and if you feel like going for a walk somewhere, you can find all the necessary information on the websites of the tourist offices. Don’t hesitate to ask French people for advice when you travel in France, they will be happy to give you information and it will also be an opportunity for you to learn how to speak French !