France is home to 7 breathtaking mountain ranges which are in turn home to some of the most incredible mountains in the world. These 7 mountain ranges are extremely varied as well, ranging from relatively flat massifs to majestic ranges featuring some of the highest mountains in Europe.
This also means that the mountains in France offer a wide variety of options for tourists, ranging from hiking and fishing to skiing and snowboarding.
Regardless of what activity you favor, the landscapes surrounding the majestic peaks in France are amazing and should definitely be on your bucket list when you visit the country. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most famous ones.
1. Mont Blanc
The Mont Blanc translates to “White Mountain” and is the highest mountain in both the Alps Mountain range and Western Europe. It’s also the second-highest mountain in Europe after Mount Elbrus in the Caucasus mountain range of Russia.
Its peak reaches a height of exactly 4,807.81 meters (15,774 feet) above sea level and is located near the border of France and Italy. Its the reason why the Mont Blanc Massif in which it is located was named as such and is part of the larger subrange of the Alps called the Graian Alps.
Vignemale is another famous mountain in France that holds a remarkable record. It’s namely the highest peak in the French part of the Pyrenees mountain range, the range that is situated on the border of France and Spain.
It stands 3,298 meters (10,820 feet) above sea level which means that it’s only slightly shorter than the highest mountain of the range, Aneto in Spain, which stands 3,404 meters (11,168 feet) above sea level. The huge North Face of Vengemale is a popular rock to climb for experienced climbers.
3. Puy de Sancy
Even though the Puy de Sancy is significantly less high than the mountains situated in the Alps or the Pyrenees, it’s still the highest of the mountain range it’s situated in, the Massif Central. It holds this record with a height of just 1,886 meters (6,188 feet) above sea level.
The mountain is part of a much larger stratovolcano that hasn’t been active for at least 220,000 years. Even though it’s substantially less high than other famous mountains in France, it’s still a popular spot to ski during the winter months. This also means that there are plenty of ski resorts located here.
4. Mont Ventoux
If you’re a cycling fan then the Mont Ventoux will surely ring a bell. This iconic mountain is one of the most difficult features of the Tour de France, the most famous cycling race in the world. It’s also a popular mountain to climb for non-professional cyclists.
Its nickname probably tells you all about the level of difficulty of conquering this col because it’s referred to as the “Beast of the Provence.” It’s the highest mountain in this region in southern France and reaches a height of 1,909 meters (6,263 feet). The upperparts are “bald” which makes it extremely windy, adding to the difficulty of reaching the summit.
5. Aiguille du Midi
The Aiguille du Midi is one of the most famous mountains in France because it’s the highest summit in the country that can be reached by cable car. It’s located in the Chamonix Valley, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Alps.
This fascinating peak is another mountain located in the Mont Blanc Massif and its name literally translates to “Needle of the Mid-day.” The summit of the mountain reaches a height of 3,842 meters (12,605 feet) and features a viewing platform that offers spectacular views of the magnificent Alpine landscape.
6. Grand Veymont
The Grand Veymont is the highest mountain in the Vercors Massif, a mountain range located just west of the Alps. It reaches a height of 2,341 meters (7,680 feet) which is still substantially lower than the Alps to its east.
The eastern cliffs of this range face the city of Grenoble in the southeastern part of France. The cliffs of the Grand Veymont are pretty emblematic as well as they are composed of limestone that was
7. Grand Ballon
The Grand Ballon is another famous mountain in France that holds a record, namely that of being the highest mountain in the Vosges mountain range. This range is even lower than the Massif Central and this particular mountain reaches a height of 1,424 meters (4,672 feet) above sea level.
The mountain is located in the utmost eastern part of France in a region known as the “Grand-Est.” It’s named the way it is because it resembles a large balloon because like most of the mountains of this range, it has eroded quite a bit resulting in extremely rounded summits.
8. Pic du Midi de Bigorre
The Pic du Midi de Bigorre is often referred to as simply the “Pic du Midi” and is located in the French part of the Pyrenees mountains. The summit of the mountain is distinctive for the fact that it features a large observatory known as the “Pic du midi Observatory.”
And yes, this observatory is located right on the summit of this mountain at an elevation of 2,877 meters (9,439 feet) above sea level. The construction of this observatory started way back in 1878 and the iconic dome was completed in the year 1908. The views from this facility are nothing short of breathtaking.
9. Barre des Écrins
The Barre des Écrins is a peak in the Alps mountain range that was once the highest mountain in France. It held this record until the Savoy was annexed by France in 1860 which included the Mont Blanc Massif.
Its peak reaches an elevation of 4,102 meters (13,458 ft) which makes it the only mountain in France outside of the Mont Blanc Massif that is higher than 4,000 meters. It’s also the most southernly peak in the Alps Mountain that reaches this height making it quite a special mountain in France.
10. Crêt de la Neige
The Crêt de la Neige holds the record of being the highest mountain in the Jura Mountain range in eastern France. This mountain range is a subalpine range that is located just to the northwestern of the Western Alps.
The peak of this mountain is located in a small village called Thoiry in the Ain department of France. This isn’t too far away from the Swiss border as well. It reaches a height of 1,720 meters (5,640 feet) above sea level and regardless of its relatively low height, looks pretty imposing from the valley floor nearby.
11. Monte Cinto
Monte Cinto is the highest mountain located on the island of Corsica in the Mediterranean Sea which is a region of France. It reaches an elevation of 2,706 meters (8,878 feet) which is quite high considering the fact that the island only covers an area of 8,722 square kilometers (3,368 square miles).
Its prominence is the same as its height which means that it’s also one of the most isolated peaks in Europe. This remarkable peak is popular with climbers as well and the views from the top of the mountain are pretty amazing.
12. Grande Casse
The Grande Casse is the highest mountain in the massif its located called the “Vanoise Massif.” This is a subrange of the much larger Graian Alps which comprises most of the Western Alps in the southeast of France.
This mountain stands 3,855 meters (12,648 feet) tall and is the centerpiece of the Vanoise National Park, a park that is bordered by various famous French ski resorts. It’s also famous for being the home of some remarkable animals including the Alpine ibex and the Eurasian lynx.
13. La Tournette
La Tournette is a fascinating mountain in France because it forms an amazing background to Annecy Lake. It’s the highest of the multiple mountains that surround this magnificent lake, reaching a height of 2,351 meters (7,713 feet) above sea level.
Equally remarkable is the fact that this mountain can be climbed by relatively inexperienced climbers. There’s a parking lot that brings you all the way to a well-marked path. From here you can reach the summit in about 3 hours. Obviously, your physical condition needs to be in pretty good shape.
14. Mont Aiguille
The Mont Aiguille is a fascinating mountain in the Vercors Massif. Its peak stands 2,085 meters (6,841 feet) above sea level and is situated at a distance of about 58 kilometers (36 miles) south of Grenoble and is one of the most famous mountains in France because of its remarkable shape.
The peak of the mountain is composed of limestone and is relatively flat, making it a mesa that is surrounded by steep cliffs. It’s one of the main attractions of the Vercors National Park and is sometimes referred to as one of “the Seven Wonders of Dauphiné.”
15. Grandes Jorasses
The Grandes Jorasses is located on the border of the Hautes-Savoie, one of the departments of France, and the Aosta Valley in Italy. This mountain is extremely fascinating for multiple reasons including the fact that it features multiple peaks.
The highest peak, the Pointe Walker (named after the first man who climbed it, stands 4,208 meters (13,806 feet) above sea level. The North Face is one of the so-called “Great North Faces of the Alps” which means it’s extremely popular with experienced climbers. Let’s just conclude that it’s not for the faint of heart, that’s for sure!