The national forest of Lyons

Renowned for its high bole trees giving it a “cathedral” appearance, the Lyons Forest is the largest beech forest in France and one of the largest in Europe. It is also the largest forest in Normandy.

The 10,700 hectares of this state-owned forest, criss-crossed by hundreds of kilometres of paths, make it one of the most beautiful playgrounds for outdoor activities in Normandy.

Digitales en forêt de Lyons © Mathilde Mortecrette Lyons Andelle Tourisme
Crabgrass in the forest of Lyons © Mathilde Mortecrette Lyons Andelle Tourisme

In addition to the huge beech trees that make up the majority of this forest, there have been stands of oak, ash, hornbeam, maple and coniferous trees that offer a biodiversity carefully maintained by the Office National des Forêts since the 1970s.

L'autome en forêt de Lyons © Reine Liseicki Lyons Andelle Tourisme
Autumn in the forest of Lyons © Reine Lisiecki Lyons Andelle Tourisme

The height of the trunks of most of these species varies between 25 and 40 m. In this respect, the Lyons Forest is not only majestic, but also pleasantly lightfull.

Once a royal forest, prized by the kings of France and the dukes of Normandy who were keen on hunting, this particularly game-filled forest is still home to remarkable wildlife.

Deer, roe deer and wild boar live alongside martens, badgers, red squirrels and foxes. More than a hundred species of birds, some of which are protected, such as the Northern Goshawk and the Hen Harrier, can be seen here.

Cerf en forêt de Lyons par Patrice Loffroy
Deer in the forest of Lyons by Patrice Loffroy

At night, the tawny owls take over the singing of the birds. At the end of the summer, the dusk welcomes the fascinating bellowing of the deer, which can be heard from some villages.

Each season brings new colours and new pleasures

In spring, wood hyacinths cover the ground in the oak undergrowth. In summer, green predominates and the forest becomes a refreshing place in the heat. People like to picnic in the shade of the tall trees.

© M Mortecrette et ML Vittori Lyons Andelle Tourisme
© Lyons Andelle Tourisme

In autumn, the forest turns gold and red. The mushroom picking season begins. Mushroom picking is allowed in the forest, up to a limit of 5 liters per person.

© Reine Liziecki ©CanvaPro
© Canva pro

Porcini mushrooms, boletes, chanterelles, trumpets of death and morels are a delight for the more experienced gatherer. If it has rained or if the weather is damp and foggy, put on your boots and get equipped: it’s the right time! A few paper bags to separate each species picked and a large basket to avoid damaging your harvest, you are ready !

When you return, check that your mushrooms are edible, wash them and cook them quickly. They are a fragile commodity !

To find out more, visit the ONF page dedicated to the Lyons forest

Things to see and do in the Lyons Forest

Move around, get some fresh air

Whether you are on a sporting, bucolic or educational walk, you can enjoy the largest beech forest in France at the pace that suits you.

Picture © Mathilde Mortecrette Lyons Andelle Tourisme

If you are a mountain biker, the hills of the Lyons Forest will allow you to test your physical condition! Our signposted mountain bike trails are marked with a pictogram on the free leaflets available at our tourist office.

©Max Coquard, Bestjobers - Eure Tourisme

Effortless cycling

If you prefer a more relaxing version of a bike ride in the forest, you can hire e-bikes of all sizes and carrying devices for the children (at Loc E Vélo in Lyons-la-Forêt) to take your whole family along the large forest paths.

Picture © Max Coquard – Bestjobers for Eure Tourisme

Nordic walking outings

If you prefer the conviviality of a guided outing to discover the Lyons Forest and valleys around, discover the Nordic walking outings on offer in our area.

Nordic walking with D-Foulées

Horse riding

For horse and pony lovers, several riding schools are located near the forest access and offer rides for the older children and pony rides for the younger ones.

Picture © Domaine de Lorleau

Learn to recognize the trees of the forest and discover remarkable trees

Atbre singulier en forêt de Lyons © Mathilde Mortecrette
Single tree in Lyons forest © Mathilde Mortecrette

Download the “Keys to the forest” application for an educational walk with your children. Together you will learn to recognize the 29 main species of deciduous and coniferous trees found in the forests of mainland France.

©Elina Orfanoudaki Lyons Andelle Tourisme

Picnic in the forest

Picnic areas are available to extend your outing. They are signposted on our walking routes.

Picture © Elina Orfanoudaki Lyons Andelle Tourisme

© M Mortecrette Lyons Andelle Tourisme

Visit the Arboretum of Lyons

Discover the trees of the five continents in a vast park in the heart of the Lyons Forest.forêt de Lyons.

A place to awaken the senses and discover nature for all generations, the Lyons Arboretum invites young and old to discover the trees of the world with its orientation trails available at the tourist office.

It is also a place for activities: Qi Gong sessions, meditation, educational activities on forestry jobs, guided tours and treasure hunts are occasionally offered. These events are announced in our events calendar.

Picture © Mathilde Mortecrette Lyons Andelle Tourisme

Observing and photographing animals in the forest

If you are a photo enthusiast and animal lover, dawn and dusk are good times to observe and go on a silent hunt for images. The most coveted photo is obviously that of a deer or a herd of deer.

The absolute grail for wildlife photographers is THE picture of a deer taken without having disturbed it, and therefore without having been spotted: a real challenge when you know that our smell and the slightest noise are perceptible hundreds of metres away by deer !

Observe and also listen… At the end of the summer, the deer’s bellow signals the mating season. Each year, the inhabitants locate and often indicate to us some places, sometimes very close to a village, where they hear them. Come and visit us at the tourist office, located in Lyons-la-Forêt, so that we can tell you the areas where their presence has been noticed.

In autumn, deer and roe deer lose their antlers which will grow back during the winter. Perhaps you will be lucky enough to find some ?

Picture © Gibson Mattew via Canva Pro

See or visit architectural treasures in the Lyons Forest

Visit Mortemer Abbey. This treasure of medieval architecture is a romantic place to stroll in Lisors. On your way out, take the opportunity to walk to the nearby Sainte-Catherine fountain, which borders the Fouillebroc.

Park of the abbey of Mortemer © ML Vittori Lyons Andelle Tourisme

Enjoying the Lyons Forest during the hunting season

Each year, the ONF publishes a calendar of hunting days and areas in the Lyons Forest.

Consulting this calendar allows you to continue to enjoy our state forest by identifying the hunted areas.

Each hunting day involves only a small, well-defined area. This leaves you plenty of room to roam around the 10,700 hectares of the Lyons forest.

For your safety, the shooting perimeters are marked on site.

If you find it difficult to find your way around these maps, please do not hesitate to visit us to find your way around : our advisors know our forest and will be able to advise you on a hunter-free walking route.