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France has a new national park. And it's only 3 hours from Paris!
Posted on 19/11/2019

NatureFrance

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Nature-seeking tourists and locals alike will be happy to hear that France has a new national park

Break out the bubbly. France has a new national park!

Break out the bubbly. France has a new national park!
© Ondrej Prosicky/123RF

It's now easier than ever for Parisians to escape the busy city life as France has just inaugurated it's 11th national park - and it's only a 3 hour drive away! The park is adding its name to the list that currently includes the famed Parc National des Écrins in the Alps and the mountainous Parc National des Pyrénées sitting on the French and Spanish border.

Straddling the Burgundy-Champagne border just north from the French capital, the new national park is located in a little-visited part of France. Yet as it is now the closest of its kind to Paris, it is hoped that 100,000 visitors annually will make their way to the region to visit the national park in two or three years time. 30 new jobs have also been generated thanks to the park's inauguration and many small businesses are keen to sell their local produce to visitors.

A natural paradise

A natural paradise
© barmalini/123RF

First conceptualised in 2009 by the then prime minister François Fillon, the 250,000 hectares of protected land of space now dubbed Parc National des Forets de Champagne et Bourgogne was chosen because of its biodiversity and cultural significance.

"This national park is very representative of both the French countryside and its forests," Hervé Parmentier, director of the French Public Interest Group (GIP), the association responsible for the park and the protection of its forests, told reporters at the Local France. "Eighty percent of the trees here already were there at the time of the French Revolution." The park also contains fascinating archaeological remains dating back to 750 BCE.

Beside its ancient forests, ruins and bubbling springs, the park is also home to rare flower species such as the fragrant sabot-de-vénus orchid and narcisse des poète. Black storks, deer, wild boar and wild cats can also be found roaming the park.

Kayaking anyone?

Kayaking anyone?
© Dean Debrot/123RF

Visitors can also choose to hike along parts of the park's 1,250 miles of dedicated trails or kayak up the 450 mile-long waterways. Yet it's not all green space with the national park also encompassing 127 communes, home to around 28,000 residents.

For those thinking of planning a visit sometime soon, you can now visit the Parc National des Forêts de Champagne et Bourgogne website to find all the information on its upcoming events.