MORE ABOUT FRANCE TO PREPARE YOUR TRAIL
You can ride all year long, but you have to know that all seasons are very different.
In Spring, temperatures are quite good, especially in May-June, days are long and the flowers all around the country offer astonishing landscapes.
In Summer, of course, the temperature can be high, but is always OK for horse riding. This is the best period to explore the mountains, blessed with lower temperatures. At this period, many French people have their annual holidays, so it can be difficult to find availability in hotels, reservations for this period should be made as early as possible.
Temperatures aren't too bad in Autumn, although the short days mean limited sunlight and the cold starts to make itself felt towards the end of the season, even along the Côte d'Azur. But it is also the season for astonishing colours in forests, and for new cooking experiences with wild mushrooms and game (deers...).
Winter is a time for strange experiences such as riding in the snow, or discovering the French coasts without the summer crowd !
The French are a festive bunch with many cities hosting music, dance, theatre, cinema or art events each year. Rural villages hold fairs and fêtes which celebrate everything from local saints to agricultural progress.
Prominent national days off are May Day (1 May), when people trade gifts of muguet (lily of the valley) for good luck; and Bastille Day (14 July), which is celebrated by throwing firecrackers at friends.
Regional events include the primping prêt à porter fashion show in Paris (early February); the glittering and often canned Cannes Film Festival (mid-May); the mainstream and fringe theatre of the Festival d'Avignon (mid-July to mid-August) and many Jazz Festivals.
Slightly larger than California, France is one of the largest countries in Europe. The English Channel lies to the north-west and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Spain broils across the Pyrenees to the south, the Mediterranean (including Corsica) is to the south-east and over the eastern Alps and Jura ranges lie Switzerland and Italy. France's relatively flat north-eastern borders abut Germany, Luxembourg and Belgium.
Since 1790, France has been divided into administrative units of about 6100 sq km (2380 sq mi) called départements. There are 96 départements in France and a further five overseas.
The French Alps include Mont Blanc, which at 4800m (15,750ft) is Europe's highest peak. In Winter, they offer one of the best ski opportunity in the world. The Pyrenees, between France and Spain, are well preserved, a paradise for the rider... The most spectacular of France's ancient ranges is the Massif Central, a huge region in the middle of France that covers one-sixth of the country.
The country's longest river, the Loire, runs 1020km (630mi) from the Massif Central to the Atlantic. The Seine, Rhône, Garonne and Rhine are France's other major waterways, draining the plains and funnelling huge mountain run-offs.
Over 3200km (1985mi) of coastline ranges from the chalk cliffs of Normandy and the promontories of Brittany to the fine-sand beaches along the Atlantic.
The south-eastern Mediterranean coast tends to have pebbly, sometimes rocky beaches, though the Languedoc and some of the Roussillon beaches have sand-castle potential.
France's mix of climates and terrains endowed it with a rich variety of flora and fauna. Unfortunately, many fragile species such as the Pyrenees ibex, Corsican deer, brown bear, wolf and otter now face extinction. Some animals and birds - the chamois (a mountain antelope), the larger bouquetin (a type of ibex), beaver, stork and vulture - still live in the wild thanks to re-introduction programmes based in national parks. Forests - mostly beech, oak and pine - cover roughly one-fifth of the country. These wooded areas, as well as vast wetlands, support the bulk of the country's mammals and birds.
France has a predominantly temperate climate, with mild winters, except in mountain areas and the north-east. The Atlantic has a profound impact on the north-west, where the weather is characterised by high humidity, often violent westerly winds and lots of rain. France's north-east has a classic continental climate, with fairly hot summers and cold winters. Midway between the two, the Paris basin boasts the nation's lowest annual precipitation, but rainfall patterns are erratic. Paris' average annual temperature is 12°C (52°F), but the mercury sometimes drops below zero in January and can climb to the mid-30s°C (95°F) or higher in August.
The southern coastal
plains are subject to a pleasant Mediterranean climate: frost is rare,
spring and autumn downpours are sudden but brief and summer is virtually
without rain. The south is also the region of the 'mistral', a cold,
dry wind that blows down the Rhône Valley for about 100 days
Even if you ride on horseback regulalrly, a trail ride is very different to your usual way of riding. You'll ride from average 4 to 6 hours a day, and this during following days.
A trail ride will ask you to be in great shape, to be comfortable in the saddle and a good stamina.
Therefore, we suggest you to intensify your physical activity one ot two month before departure in order to leave on top form.
Your riding abilities are also important and if you don't ride regularly, we recommand you to increase the number of horse riding sessions before departure, with one or twice sessons a week with a minimum of 2 following hours on horseback.
If you never made a full week ride, it should be useful to test yourself on a week-end trail ride, in order to be sure, you can endure long hours in the saddle.
We recommend to all our riders who have been residents in the European Community for more than 6 months to subscribe the Multirisk insurance we suggest: repatriation, medical cancellation and luggage.
This insurance includes research fees, rescue, medical fees, travel interruption fees, and your fees in case of cancellation for a medical reason. But we also propose a the cancellation insurance.
If you are not en European resident, you should provide insurance by yourself.
Anyway, we ask all our riders to be covered by repatriation insurance, suitable for horse riding activities.
Consult our insurances.
Warning : Cancellation insurance only cover cancellation due to illness, dead of a member of your family, professionnal unforeseen difficulty, ... It doesn't cover a cancellation if you only decide not to come because you finally don't want to leave.
We tried to make the list the most complete as possible, for a trail ride with bivouac accommodation. A full equipment list will be furnished in your travel documents, you should receive it 30 days before your departure.
Paris with 13 million of inhabitants
French (but also Alsacian, Breton, Basque, Catalan,
Provençal & Corsican)
Euros. A part of you purchase can be paid with your international credit card. You also can collect money into numerous cash dispenser.
Nationals of the EU, the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Israel do not require visas to visit France as tourists for up to three months. Except for people from a handful of other European countries, everyone else must have a visa.
anyway, check with your local Embassy according to your nationality.
Your main risks are likely to be sunburn,
foot blisters, and upset stomachs from overeating and drinking
GMT/UTC plus one hour
Ride in France (Absolu Voyages SARL), 2 place Charles de Gaulle 38200 Vienne FRANCE - Phone : +33 437 02 2000 - Fax : +33 437 02 2500
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