One of my favourite pastimes in Autumn is going out for walks with the children. France is great for Autumn walks, because all trails are marked on the trunks of the trees. Just follow the red square to get to a famous rock or a breathtaking cascade. All you need to start is a good map.
Following the signs on the trees was one of my favourite things when out hiking. I spent holidays in the Alps and Savoy regions where there’d be trails adapted to each an every person, long walks, short easy ones, climbing, beautiful scenery all around.
The golden leaves of Autumn in the morning fog are more refreshing than any cup of tea. Armed with a picnic, groups of children aim to climb metres up a mountain planning to sleep in a ‘refuge’. There they take shelter for the night under old wooden framed roofs just like in ‘Heidi’ with no other heating than the comfort of a sleeping bag and the cheerful atmosphere of hikers sharing a stayover in the wild.
My favourite place of all for its forest trails was Mount Ste Odile, in Alsace. We used to stay in an old monastery run by nuns at the top of a ‘rock’. There is a peacefulness in this site and despite staying around nuns there is no pressure on payers or other religious rituals. As it says on their website: ‘Children, young people, adults, senior citizens, people with disabilities, whether believers or otherwise, are all welcome here (…)’
In fact you get to enjoy the friendliness of the nuns, of other tourists and pilgrims, the simplicity and hygiene of the accommodation, the basic meals shared in a big canteen (the odd soya soup…amongst homemade delicacies as well as local produce and wines), and the true spirituality of the surroundings. Autumn there was magnificient, with a forest full of trails, so we’d take a different walk every day.
While going camping by a river in late summer is great for picking tiny wild strawberries and sleeping under the sound of downpours, nothing beats the beauty of nature in Autumn. Take a step outside and look at the yellow halo.
Text and photo copyright C.A. 2012