Sunday, January 23, 2011

Petite Randonnées

When we moved to St. Antonin, we visited the Office du Tourisme to pick up some maps and such. We kept seeing these little wooden signs posted with PR and a number. We found out that there are 23 different PR - Petite Randonnées around St. Antonin. What is a Raondonée you ask? Well, they are hiking/walking paths all around France. The French Federation of Hiking (FFRandonnée) is an association grouping together various clubs allowing hikers access to trails.
The mission of this federation is to maintain these routes and their markup as well as open new ones. The trails are marked with paint marks. Two types of itineraries are created by the Federation:
  • hiking paths ( GR )
  • walking paths and hiking ( PR )

These routes are described in guidebooks published by FFRandonnée. The marks are placed on trees, rocks and posts along the hike. The difference between 2 marks markup varies depending on the difficulty of the course, the number of bifurcation ... The markup is entirely staffed by volunteers and walkers for club members.
The FFRandonée has created several categories of roads:
  • The GR (Grande Randonée) trails are marked with red and white, they cross over long distances of regional parks, regional or even the whole of France;
  • The GRP (Grande Randonnée de Pays) are marked trails of red and yellow, they form loops of several days' journey;
  • The PR (Walks & Hikes) are marked trails with different colors marked by the PR RWPF are marked in yellow are generally trails lasting from hours to a day's walk;
  • The E (European Route), marked in green are GR linking European countries.

The book we got from the Office de Tourisme here in St. Antonin has 23 circuits around the village. It's a guide to all the Petite Randonées and it comes with directions on how to find the path and a map with all the PR's. We have decided to try and do them all. We always take the dogs, although sometimes the PR isn't on a trail it's on a road and that makes it a bit difficult with the dogs. Most of them are on trails though and you end up coming across amazing ruins, beautiful views, animals (llama, cows horses, donkeys), other hikers (although not very often) and peace a quiet.

 Our favorite hike is PR 1.  The first time we did it it took us 1.5 hours.  Then we decided to make it our "timed" trail and we'd run it.  Normally we do it when we need (or want) to burn some extra calories.  We are trying to get it under 45 minutes, but so far 52 minutes is our best time.  It takes us up from the village to the plateau and then around the village and back down.  Today is actually a PR 1 run day!

Here's the start of our "timed" run trail - PR 1

This guy is about 7 feet tall...I kid you not!

Even the cows across the lane were afraid of him

Happy dogs.

Bruce found this at a ruin, it's now hanging in our house

So, if you live in France or are just visiting.  Check out the local PR's in your area and take a hike.  You'll never know what you might find!


Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

Thanks now I can see all. Great photos. Diane

ditdit said...

I love hiking and "Offices de Tourismes" are great places in France to get trail plans, often free. I should know, that's where I used to work and if all goes well, will be back to working in one starting February!

Leesa said...

Hey Alisa...

Just stopping by quickly to catch up and WOW!! Great pics! Love 'em ... Hope to see you guys in May...