National ParkParc National des Écrins
One of the greatest summertime pleasures of the French Alps is hiking in France’s second-largest national park. The glacier-carved, 918-sq-km park has 676km of trails spidering through its forests, alpine meadows and 100-plus peaks – they're best explored between mid-June and mid-September. The park's highest point is at the Barre des Écrins (4102m). Book 36 hours in advance with Rando Écrins (04 92 502 505; http://rando.ecrins-parcnational.fr/en/pages/transport) for seasonal bus services into the park from gateway towns Gap, Briançon and Bourg d'Oisans.