France is not flat and I have proofs!

Hello dear readers! When Leanna (All done Monkey) told me that a post about Geography was authorless for the end of October, I jumped on the occasion to talk about my home country, France. In a fun way, because French people are not known to be boring… (right?)

France is not flat -pinterest-

For two weeks I had the great pleasure to travel across the country to see some family members and friends: Paris, Toulouse, Perpignan, Chateauneuf-sur-Loire (near Orléans). As you will see on the map below, it was quite the journey with our two young children in our car – loaded with luggages, of course – under a mostly blue sky and high temperatures for the season. We had 28°C one day! It made me rather nostalgic of my childhood’s mediterranean weather. The land of Hessen, Germany – where I live now – can have beautiful sunny days, but overall it’s colder and greyer than in Perpignan.

MKB France geography French map
Two weeks in France, more than 3000 km in a car (our daily visits are not on the map), 2 rented appartements, 1 stay in our family and 1 night in a hotel. Lots of good food and sun. Some sickness but mostly great fun!


How many people are surprised to discover that the streets in Paris are not all flat and wide as the Champs-Elysées? Well, to tell the truth, even the Champs-Elysées is a sloping street… If you rent some Vélib’ – the biggest bike-sharring in the world – you will feel the climbs and descents, and most of all the “faux-plats” (false sense of flatness). During my stay, we strolled through Montmartre which is one of Paris’ hills.

7 hills can be found on the right river bank of La Seine: Montmartre (131 m), Belleville (128,5 m), Ménilmontant (108 m), Buttes-Chaumont (103 m), Passy (71 m), Charonne (69 m) and Chaillot (67 m); and 4 on the left bank: Montsouris (78 m), Montparnasse (66 m), Butte-aux-Cailles (63 m) and Montagne Sainte-Geneviève (61 m).

I have walked around all these hills while I lived and worked there. My daughter was born near Montsouris (there’s a park on this hill), my children played in Belleville’s playground or in the park atop the Buttes-Chaumont, we visited the Père-Lachaise (one of Paris famous graveyard) in Ménilmontant, the hill Charonne reminds me of my ophtalmologist (the best I had so far) who worked near the metro station “Charonne”, I took the train several times to meet my grand-parents at Montparnasse’s train station, we ate some crêpes at the Buttes-aux-Cailles, visited the Panthéon situated on the Montagne Sainte-Geneviève, ran to take the “Metropolitain” at Passy after a spouses’ night out, kissed during New Year’s Eve at Chaillot, and of course visited the Sacré-Coeur in Montmartre!

If you want to see the topography of Paris, I will recommend you to go on where you will be able to have the altitude of each street of the French capital city… and whatever place in the world you would like to discover!

Paris B&W 1
Street in Montmartre
Paris B&W 2
Sorry, it’s a dead end cars!
Paris B&W 3
See these stairs? It’s near the Funiculaire of Montmartre. My son thought it will be funny to run down the side of the stairs where it’s all slippery and without a ramp to hold on. It was kinda a miracle he did it all the way down in one piece. My heart was not in such a good shape after his quirk!
Paris B&W 4
Not for baby stroller!

On the road near the South: While we were on the road to Toulouse, we drove near the Gorges de l’Aveyron. We didn’t go there but look at these landscapes! It’s on my to-do list of places to visit in France! Not flat at all, isn’t it?

Trou de Bozouls.

The village of Estain, one of the most beautiful village in France. from the website

Video taken at a highway rest area near Cahors “La Combe du Tréboulou”:



Céret is my hometown. I grew up there from 18 months to 18 years old. The town is built near the valley of “Le Tech”, a river coming from the mountains and finishing in the Meditteranean See.

Panoramic view from the North. By Fabricio Cardenas, used on Wikipedia.
Three bridges are at the entrance of the city. I’m on the one for the cars, and in the back you see the ancient one for the train (not used anymore). Behind you can glimpse the mount “Canigou”, surrounded by clouds.
The 3 bridges: le Pont du Diable = Devil’s bridge (there’s a story about how it has been built), the road and the train bridge. photo from “Autour de”

Going on small treks in the surrounding mountains was a common activity during my schoolyears. Pic-nics at the Falls, walking to the , or climbing the are part of my childhood memories.

Força Real, hermitage at 507 m heigh and a radio telecommunication relay on the nearest peak, was a new spot for me. I never visited it when I was a kid. I’m glad we did it with my son and husband (my daughter was napping in the car on the parking lotand we had to take turns to go on the top). They had a wonderful view of a part of my region.

Força Real
Panoramic view I took that day. It was quite a windy day and I thought I would lost my footing and fall from the cliff!

Massif Central: it’s one of the oldest mountains ranges in France.

We drove through it on our way to see my father. We took some much needed air at the small rest area “Marvejols”. It was windy and the sun was covered by the clouds, however we enjoyed the sight!

I could tell you about all the other hills, mountains and peaks we have in France… althought it would be a bit too long for this post. However, if you’re up for another in a near future, I would be glad to show you more of my definitly not flat country! Meanwhile, I hope you will enjoy our MKB Geography Month which is starting today.

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As a French woman living in Germany with her husband and her three young children, Eolia enjoys to discover the German way of life while keeping her cultural French roots alive for her family. She blogs about her passions, her faith and what she discovers around her at La Cité des Vents.

6 thoughts on “France is not flat and I have proofs!”

  1. Enjoyed your post. I actually grew up in Germany ( small town in Rheinland Pfalz near Mainz/Frankfurt). I currently live in the US, but traveled to France which and loved it.

  2. I concur!
    The thought that France might be flat outside the Alps and Pyrenees is a romantic one. When I started riding a bike I went to the “flat” parts only to be surprised by the numerous hills in the way. Great exercise though.

  3. My part of France is far from flat, it’s hills leading into the Alps and then down to the sea, it’s far too steep around here for me to cycle! I love your look at hilly Paris as apart from Montmartre it’s not the typical view of Paris at all. Thanks for linking up to #AllAboutFrance again!

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