Parc Naturel Régional du Vercors

Park in Dauphiné

Mountains, limestone cliffs and dense forests create a high-drama landscape within this 2062-sq-km preserve, a few kilometres southwest of Grenoble. The Gorges du Furon are a prime attraction for walkers, canyoners and abseilers, and the park is well known for caves like the vast Grotte de la Luire. Capping the park is the 170-sq-km Réserve Naturelle des Hauts-Plateaux, France's largest terrestrial nature reserve.

Hikers can ply 3000km of trails, looking out for chamois, birds of prey and 75 different varieties of orchid.

In winter, guides lead snowshoers through the frozen landscape.

Transisère ( buses 5100 and 5110 (€5.60) link Grenoble with Lans-en-Vercors (45 minutes, nine daily) and Villard de Lans (1¼ hours, four to seven daily) in the park.