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“The important thing is not to carry too much. Around 7kgs each is plenty for a long distance walk where you will need a tent, sleeping bags, inflatable mattresses and a change of clothes. Whatever the duration, you should always carry a plastic poncho in case of rain.”

Apart from travel light and take enough water, top tips for a safe, enjoyable journey include buying boots on the big side and wearing extra socks to stop blisters. Take two credit cards, visit the Tourist Office for up to date information, trust your compass and believe in your route, beat the heat and set off early, be aware of half-day closing as well as opening hours on Sundays and Mondays and, last but not least, go West or you will have the sun in your eyes all morning.

A wide variety of maps are available from the www.ffrandonee.fr website. The shorter tracks are known as Promenades et Randonnées (PRs), with Grandes Randonnées du Pays (GRPs) being the longer tracks which loop around a particular area. Long distance walking tracks, the Grandes Randonnées (GRs), are nearly always on ancient cobbled roads, farm tracks, canal towpaths, abandoned railway lines or forestry tracks.

www.walkinginfrance.info

First published in the March/April 2019 issue of The Local Buzz

Images: Jenny Michell and Keith Pantlin

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