The walking guides of "La Fédération Française des Randonneurs Pédestres" (the equivalent of the "Ramblers association") are world-renowned for their accuracy and information covering the thousands of miles of Grand Randonée (long-distance paths) hiking routes throughout the French countryside.
The guides have extracts from the 1:50,000 topographic survey, overprinted with the route. The descriptions of the route are divided into short sections, according to the difficulty of the terrain, and are always placed next to the maps for easy reference. The text is in French, but a large amount of information is conveyed by symbols. A list of all the main points along the route indicates what facilities can be found there: public transport, food shops, and all types of accommodation (gîtes d'étape, campsites, mountain refuges, hotels, etc.) with addresses and telephone numbers.
Although the FFRP guides are in French, they are fairly easy to understand as they are published with a bi-lingual dictionary.
There are a number of different series of guides:
The series: "Grande Randonnée"
These trail guides cover the long – distance footpaths that criss-cross France and are aimed at those who want to hike for several days or to cross whole regions. FFRP trail guides vary in size from 70 - 200 pages, with the average being 125 pages. Each guide covers either a circular route, or part of a longer path (the GR5 between Lake Geneva and the Mediterranean, for example, is covered by four topo-guides) and has an overview of the area including its history and special features, practical tips for hiking the trail, colour photographs (in the newer guides), IGN maps, detailed trail descriptions and all types of accommodation (gîtes d'étape, campsites, mountain refuges, hotels, etc.) with addresses and telephone numbers.
The series: "Promenade et Randonnée"
The FFR has expanded his series with guides to local walks, the PRs (Promenades et Randonnées). Each guide offers a selection of walks of various length and difficulty, overprinted on extracts from the 1:25,000 or 1:50,000 topographic survey. The text is in French. This series is intended for those wishing to make a more in-depth exploration of a specific area or region and are suitable for the experienced hiker as well as the occasional walker. The trail guides recommend 15 to 50 hiking trails of 2 to 6 hours mostly as a "round trip" in a specific region or department or national park etc…. Some guides present short trails for those families with smaller children or for those people who want to undertake a number of short walks during their holiday. The guides are mostly “theme” based on the walks that will have attracted the visitor to a particular area.
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