Your child 5-11 years

This weekend, we take the air!

It's great to breathe a little, if only for a weekend. Hiking, recreation base, bike-rails, here are ideas to breathe in family, in the countryside, at the water's edge, or on the rails!


The principle

  • France has national nature parks and regional nature parks. These areas, whose exceptional natural heritage warrants special protection, must preserve their landscapes and their biological diversity. The ideal hiking spots, they offer discovery trails that awaken children's sensitivity to flora and fauna.
  • The national parks are distributed in the South (the Cevennes and the Pyrenees) and the South-East of France (the Vanoise, the Ecrins, Port-Cros and the Mercantour). Regional nature parks are located throughout the country.


  • From the age of 5, a child is able to walk 3 to 5 km. Around 6-7 years, they can embark on 8 or 10 km. These distances suppose to give them time. To find the ideal rhythm, go to the pace of the smallest of them. With children under 7, do not exceed two hours of walking, including breaks.
  • Motivate them by choosing routes with a purpose : a sheepfold, a summit (not too high), a waterfall ... In the meantime, they will love running around, playing at the edge of a stream ... And when they need to catch their breath, they will sit by from you to share a panorama or break a little crust.
  • Study your itinerary in advance. There are many topo-guides on sale in the points of sale of the IGN spaces or on their website. Contact tourist offices near park areas, or park houses.
  • What will the weather be ? We do not go hiking without consulting the weather.

What equipment?

  • Wear shoes to "walk". Young and old must have high shoes for a good hold of the ankles and protect the feet against possible shocks of stone. Choose rubber soles for good grip.
  • Adopt the "multilayer" system to ward off all weather : T-shirt, thin or medium fleece depending on the season, and waterproof windbreaker.
  • Do not forget sunglasses, hat and sunscreen, essential and to apply regularly in case of good weather.
  • Feed and anticipate small course accidents. Swallow a solid breakfast with "fuel" effect: fruit juice, cereals or wholemeal bread and dairy products. If you go hiking for the day, prepare a balanced picnic on the same principle. Energetic and easy to take away, cereal and dried fruit bars are welcome during breaks.
  • Do not forget the trash bags nor the indispensable individual insulated gourd to drink regularly. The pharmacy kit must contain enough to cope with small difficulties. Antalgics (aspirin or paracetamol), bandages, sterile compresses and an antiseptic in pod for the sores. Finally, a venom pump, just in case.


  • Walking with family in a national or regional park is a free activity. However, you can choose to be guided by a partner partner parks. It will cost about 12 € per person for half a day and about 25 € for adults and 15 € for children for one day.

Where to find information to discover the natural parks?

On the Internet:

www.parcsnationaux-en topo-guide maps for hikes. site of the French Hiking Federation (FFRP)

In bookshop:

On foot with the family, the practical guide, ed. FFRP.


The principle

  • Natural water bodies developed and opened in the spring, the bases of watery leisure have a space of open-air bathing and make it possible to be initiated with various nautical activities.
  • We come for the day, relax outdoors or practice one of the many activities offered according to the basics: paddling and water games for the little ones, pedalo to practice with family, waterslides, sailing, windsurfing, water skiing, canoeing ...
  • If one of you does not like water, most water sports centers offer the opportunity to play tennis, golf, sometimes to follow botanical trails, to try archery or to ride a bike.

Or ?

  • Since the 1970s, leisure bases have developed around big cities around a natural lake designed for swimming.

To know ?

  • Water quality: In water parks, it is checked regularly through analysis. The results are displayed on panels that you can consult.
  • monitoring: Lifeguards are present around the swimming plan to ensure safety.


  • Rates vary between 4 and 7 € per person, not counting some paid sports activities. Free admission for some bases or for children under 6 years old.

Where to find information to go to a water recreation center?

On the Internet

At the tourist office in your area which will give you the coordinates of the nearest water recreation center.

In bookshop: Holidays with children, ed. Little wily one, Balado Guides, ed. MONDEOS.

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