Hey! I’m Melinda.
Nothing makes me happier than spending a week or two (or more) walking in France, wandering through the picturesque villages and glorious countryside and always finishing the day with a delicious meal and a verre de rosé.
I’m not particularly fit, older than you might think and I want you to experience the joys of long-distance walking too.
My love affair with France began in 2006 when I spent one month travelling extensively throughout the country on my own. Motivated primarily by a fear of driving through large cities (and around the Arc de Triomphe in particular), I stayed in smaller towns—Bayeux, Chenonceaux, Vézelay, Pérouges, Annecy and Avignon—and while avoiding the major highways, I discovered that rural France is filled with gorgeous villages and stunning countryside.
France does many things exceedingly well but providing a safe space along the side of the road for travellers to pull over and enjoy the spectacular views is not one of them.
One afternoon, after spending a few hours wandering around the ‘most beautiful village’ of Flavigny-sur-Ozerain (where the movie Chocolat was filmed), I returned to the car park on the edge of the village and gazed across the fields. A few miles away, a church steeple poked its head above a cluster of stone houses nestled into the side of the hill.
Where was it, I wondered. How could I get there?
What if…I could walk there, through the fields, over the hills…
I returned home, slightly obsessed with the idea of walking through France.
Several of my friends also thought this sounded like a mighty fine idea and as I started to do a little more research, I had many questions—
- How far would we need to walk each day? Would there be accommodation at frequent intervals or would we have to walk thirty kilometres (twenty miles) every day?
- Would we always be sharing a room with a dozen snoring strangers?
- If one of us was injured, was there a local taxi we could call?
- Would we need a picnic lunch every day or would we pass a café?
- If it rained or we got distracted by too many historical monuments, could we catch a bus to the next town?
- Did we need to start out with 200 band-aids or could we buy more along the way?
- What would the countryside be like—lush green hills, vineyards, mountainous terrain?
- What would we need to take?
Maybe you have these questions too? Or if you didn’t already, you do now!
Since then, I’ve returned to France many times, walking the Chemin de Saint-Jacques du-Puy, the Chemin de Stevenson, L’Échappée Jurassienne, sections of the coast of Brittany, the Midi Canal, Burgundy Canal, Nantes à Brest Canal and through nine of France’s ‘most beautiful villages’ in the Dordogne.
Walking in France is such a fabulous experience that I can’t bear for it to end up in your ‘too hard basket’ so my goal is to make it oh so easy for you to—
Choose a walk — find the walk that captures your imagination, whether that be fairy-tale castles and tiny villages; wide open spaces or rugged coastlines; or an easy, flat walk (or cycle) along a canal towpath.
Looking for some inspiration?
Download your free guide — 3 Steps to Finding the Perfect Long-Distance Walk.
Plan your itinerary — put together a schedule that allows plenty of time to explore those fairy-tale castles; includes a rest day—or a lazy afternoon—in one of France’s most beautiful villages; and coincides with the local market day.
Book your accommodation — whether you set out each morning and walk as far as feels comfortable or you have your luggage transferred and need your accommodation booked in advance, it’s sometimes nice to know where your next bed is and how to contact your host!
Where to find me
I could be anywhere! I know there are many other countries with equally wonderful walking paths and it is my aim to experience them all. I look forward to one day bringing you I Love Walking in Italy, I Love Walking in England, I Love Walking in Wales – it’s an endless list.
Until then, I’ll concentrate on France (maybe I’m there right now!) and hope this website provides a mixture of inspiration and practical advice. I look forward to hearing from you and hope that you will share your thoughts and experiences. All feedback or suggestions for topics are welcome.
Contact me at [email protected]
If you’re ready to start planning now, grab a guidebook
So…if you’ll provide the boots, I’ll provide the inspiration and all the practical tips you need to set out safely and confidently on the walk of your dreams!
Let’s go, or as the French would say – Allons-y!