France has a long traditions of hikers, probably due to the variety of landscape we have and to the (minimum) of 5 weeks paid holidays. Most of the trails are maintained by volunteers of the FFR, the national hiking federation. Do not get lost and discover the main trail markers you may encounter while hiking in France.
Three main type of hiking trail markers
Three main types of trails exists :
- The GR® are the great hiking trails (Grande Randonnée). Hiking a GR (for example the GR5) will take you several days to several weeks. The marker is two parallel white and red lines. Today around 350 GR trails are existing.
- The GRP are regional hiking trails (GR de Pays). Most of the time designed as a closed loop to discover a specific area, they can last several days. The marker is yellow and red.
- The PR (Promenade et Randonnée) are the local hiking trails designed to discover local scenary or heritage. They last 8 hours to the max and are marked in yellow.
Other trail markings
Do not be confused with other markings. For example one single line marks a horse-riding trail and a triangle with two circles marks a mountain bike trail.
You may also encounter other types of signs that indicate the directions, and maybe a cairn. A cairn is a pile of stone that marks the trail where signing is difficult (for example in rocky surroundings, passes or summit where snow may be present). In more frequented area, trails and directions are indicated on yellow signs together with distance to the next landmark.