[Sponsored article] Outdoor and adventure sports are becoming more and more popular, thanks to a newfound appreciation of nature and a fresh rush for new hobbies during the COVID pandemic.
People are realizing that experiencing nature, being active, and pushing their limits can do wonders for both their physical and mental wellbeing.
Luckily, France is full of opportunities for the outdoor adventure enthusiast. If you’re thinking of moving to France, Currencies Direct listed some activities and the best locations to consider.
The Best Places to Live in France for Outdoor Adventures:
1. Rock Climbing
Rock climbing has boomed in popularity over the last few years following the films Free Solo and The Dawn Wall, as well as climbing’s inclusion in the 2020 Olympics. If you’re into climbing, there are plenty of places in France where you’ll get your fix.
About 30 miles south of Paris, you’ll find the Forest of Fontainebleau—a large wood peppered with sandstone boulders of all shapes and sizes. Fontainebleau (simply ‘Bleau’ to the locals), is widely considered to be one of the best bouldering locations in the world.
If you’re more interested in sport or traditional climbing – i.e. with ropes – head south to the foothills of the French Alps or the Pyrenees.
Nice (in the Alpes-Maritimes département) is a great and fun city to live in with easy access the Alps, and it’s also close to the Calanques National Park just south of Marseille. The Calanques cover one of the largest climbing areas in France, with around 2,500 sport routes, 1,000 trad routes, and some deep water soloing (DWS) to top it all off.
Perpignan is also a great city to live in, on the France-Spain border, and is close to the Pyrenées, where you’ll be able to climb.
Speaking of the coast, perhaps surfing is more your thing? Luckily for you, there are plenty of world-class surf spots along the coasts of France.
Almost all the best surfing beaches in France are located along the Bay of Biscay—France’s Atlantic coast. Moving north to south, five of the best surfing spots are La Sauzaie in the Pays de la Loire region and then—in Nouvelle-Aquitaine—Lacanau, Plage des Casernes, Les Estagnots, and Les Cavaliers.
The city of Bayonne near the Spanish border is very close to many of the above beaches, while the town of Biarritz (just west of Bayonne) is another great place to live. Further north, Bordeaux is one of the biggest cities close to Lacanau. Of course, you may choose, instead, to move to a smaller village or town on one of the cities’ outskirts.
3. Kayaking and Rafting
France is also home to scenic lakes and exciting rapids for kayaking, canoeing, and whitewater rafting.
Most of the lakes are located in the southeast, along the French Alps. This is where you’ll find the Verdon Gorge (Gorges du Verdon), a long river canyon of turquoise water flowing into the Lake of Sainte-Croix. The Verdon boasts everything from beginner river routes up to class 5 rapids (only for the experts).
There are many beautiful medieval villages along the Verdon Gorge, while the cities of Nice and Cannes are both only a two-hour drive away.
Aside from the southern French Alps, there are plenty of lakes, rivers, and coastal areas for kayakers and canoers to explore all across France. The Gorges de l’Hérault, 30 minutes northwest of Montpellier, is another location well worth exploring.
4. Skiing and Snowboarding
We couldn’t possibly write a list on living an adventurous life in France without mentioning skiing. With the French Alps to the east and the Pyrenees to the south, France boasts some of the best skiing in the world.
Chamonix, at the base of the Mont Blanc, is renowned for its skiing (as well as mountaineering and alpine climbing). The Chamonix region can be expensive, so you may want to consider living in one of the smaller villages nearby, such as Servoz or Le Tour.
The Pyrenees tend to be cheaper and less busy than the Alps, but the ski runs are still excellent. The ancient town of Foix is an excellent choice, while the villages around the ski resort of Grand Tourmalet are equally good options. After a day on the slopes, warm up with a Vert Chaud.
5. Funding Your Move
If you’re moving from the US to France, chances are you’ll need to transfer some money overseas. This may be to fund the initial move, purchase a property, or transfer U.S. dollar wages into euros.
The problem is, currency transfers can be tricky. FX markets are volatile, making it hard to plan your transfers and even harder to budget. Additionally, banks often charge fees and offer poor exchange rates.
Luckily, working with a specialist currency broker, such as Currencies Direct, makes things much simpler. They offer highly competitive exchange rates with no transfer fees, and they provide expert support and specialist services to help you get the most from your money transfer.
*special rates for Frenchly clients
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