The Extreme Sports Destination Dossier: France

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Extreme Sports in France

The energy, the zest for liberate, their appreciation of life and all the very best things in it – it’s probably not a huge surprise that the French are mad about their adrenaline-fuelled activities.

As well as a penchant for fashion, culture, and cutting-edge gastronomy, in this country of stunning mountain terrain, incredible beaches and magnificent urban hubs you’ll also find some of the very best destinations to get your heart pumping and your head thumping (or watch as others do). Today, we dish out the dossier on France, with a savvy inspection of some its best and most highly sought after sporting events, activities and all the places in which to experience them.

France’s best activities

Parkour in the French Alps

Parkour, for the ultimate body workout

The French pioneered this high-octane, gymnastic-style sport back in the 90s, and it’s only grown from strength to strength since in both popularity and accessibility.

Far from its roots as a chiefly Parisian street-level undertaking, these days amateur and advanced ‘Parkour-ers’ can get their moves on in the French Alps at an official parkour training camp run by leading practitioners, Parkour Generation.

Surfing and kite surfing in Biarritz and beyond

Hit the saltwater along the Atlantic coast

For all its lush, verdant countryside, France is as much a grommet’s paradise, with ample golden stretches of spectacular coastline hugging its perimeter at every turn.

Head to the south Atlantic and Aquitaine and dive into the whitewash at Biarritz, Cavaliers Beach, and any one of the awesome surf spots along the Anglet Coast.  The World Surfing League even stops in France each year at the Quicksilver Pro France in Hossegor.

Paragliding in Chamonix

Located at the foot of the imposing Mont Blanc (the highest summit in the French Alps), Chamonix is considered by many to be France’s adventure sport capital, one of the best places in the world not only for skiing and snowboarding, but a paragliding specialty.

Cliff Jumping in Les Calanques

Photo credit: akunamatata

The Calanques are a 20km stretch of rocky promontories situated along the Mediterranean coastline from Cassis to Marseille. As well as a visually spectacular sight, they make the perfect location for some good old-fashioned cliff jumping.

An uncomplicated thrill, cliff jumping off the sheer ledges of Les Calanques is not for the faint of heart or soft of gut – an adrenaline rush like no other.

(Some of) France’s best events

Monaco Grand Prix

When: May 24-27, 2018
Where: Monaco

For petrolheads, this is the big kahuna: marvellous Monaco, arguably Formula One’s most revered and most challenging circuits.

Experience the raging engines of these incredible vehicles as they zip through the tight streets of Monte Carlo and La Condamine, and the glorious vistas of Monaco harbour.

Official site: Monaco Grand Prix

Tour De France

Cyclists turn under sunset on the Tour de France

When: July 1-23, 2017
Where: Across the country

Tour de France: a bona fide tour de force, considered so not only by locals, but from punters from all corners of the globe.

While the event’s 21 riveting stages carry over to Germany and Belgium, those within the French border have a particular gravitas and appeal. As riders from all nations compete for the chance to don the yellow jersey, this year’s 104th Tour is guaranteed to be a wild one.

Official site: Le Tour

International Festival of Extreme Sports – FISE Montpellier

When: May TBC 2018
Where: Montpellier

With a roster of incredible events and sports including BMX, skateboarding, freestyle motocross, wakeboarding, roller blading and slope-side mountain biking, Montpelier’s FISE festival is a must-see: the largest freestyle extreme sporting event in Europe.

See over 1,000 amateur extreme sport boffins go hard in stunning southern Montpelier, and join the 550,000 strong crowd in one of the best event atmospheres in Europe.

Marathon De Medoc

Photo credit: Marathon du Medoc

When: September 9, 2017
Where: Medec

Held every September in the vineyards of the Medoc in the Gironde region, the Marathon du Medoc is considered the drunkest running race in the world.

Combining wine, sports, fun and health, this regulation-length marathon includes over 20 wine stops, with oysters, steak and other mid-race delicacies on offer. A fusion of the brilliant, the boozy, and the downright bizarre.

The RAD Roundup & Rating

Extremity 7.5
Desirability 9
Aesthetics 8.5
Affordability 7
Variety 8
RAD-Rating 8

Related articles:

The Ultimate Action Sports Guide To Chamonix France

The Extreme Sport Destination Dossier: Switzerland

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Cam Hassard

Cam Hassard is an international penman, sax-wielder, and global wayfarer, originally from Melbourne, Australia, and currently living in Berlin.

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