Who are we ?

Way back in 1984, I was inspired by my love of walking in the Pyrenees to start a company sharing my knowledge and pleasures with others.

I named the company after the warm breeze that blows up from the south – from the Sahara in fact – and gives us such a unique climate for the outdoor life making the Pyrenees both warm and green.

And we obviously struck a chord with many people as we now help over 13,000 people every year to enjoy walking and cycling holidays in the Pyrenees, and in other equally beautiful and unspoilt parts of the world.

While I am French and a Pyrenean through and through, I have always had, as you say, a soft spot for Britain, and worked there while learning English.

So I am delighted that we have finally got round to launching a proper English language holiday programme - not just French holidays translated, but itineraries, accommodation, transfers and packages taken apart and reconstructed for the worldwide English speaking market.

One of the major differences is this: French people are more likely to visit the Pyrenees several – or many - times in a lifetime. English speakers not so. That’s why we have packed as many highlights into each itinerary as we can. That’s why you visit iconic places, and stay in truly authentic hotels enjoying some of the best cuisine on the planet.

So if you ask who we are, we are Pyreneans – and you can be sure we will do everything in our powers to give you the best possible experience of our homeland.

As people say these days, ENJOY ! 

Vincent Fonvieille

Founder, La Balaguere & Purely Pyrenees

We Are The Pyrenees

We are Pyreneans. Many of us were born in the Pyrenees, and brought up in these mountains.

So we know the Pyrenees, and we love the Pyrenees.

We are passionate about what the Pyrenees offer – and why it is such a wonderful and unique region.

We love walking in the Pyrenees – and some of us love cycling here too. We have walked the itineraries and footpaths ourselves in spring, summer and autumn. We know the best routes for particular people and for particular seasons.

We know the hoteliers, the taxi drivers, the guides, the crafts people, even the bus drivers and butchers, so we know the local prices, and can make sure you get best value for money.

We know the best places to stay – and stay in them ourselves. We know the people who own and run them. We know what they are good at, and what sort of person enjoys staying there the most.

We have tasted the transformation of Pyrenean cuisine. We know the best chefs – traditional and innovative. We know their best menus and signature dishes. We want you to be as enthusiastic as we are about the pleasures of eating in the Pyrenees!

Above all, we want you to understand for yourself why we are so passionate about living, working and walking in the Pyrenees.

Purely Pyrenees is dedicated to not only making sure you have the best possible experience of the Pyrenees, but you also have one of the most memorable and enjoyable holidays of your life.

And we’re pretty confident that’s what we will deliver.

Ten Facts About Purely Pyrenees

1. Purely Pyrenees was created by La Balaguere exclusively to provide exceptional walking (and cycling) holidays in the Pyrenees to English speakers from all over the world.

2. La Balaguere (pronounced bal-a-gair) is by far the best known and most respected tour operator in the Pyrenees as well as being the largest and oldest. Over 30 people work in our offices in Arrens-Marsous, yet we are still very much the independent company that Vincent Fonvieille founded in 1984, and still runs for pride and pleasure rather more than for profit. What’s more La Balaguere contributes significantly to environmental and other initiatives to improve the lives and holidays of those in the Pyrenees.

3. We have more satisfied customers than any other regional travel company. We were the first company dedicated to walking and cycling holidays in the Pyrenees, and over 14,000 people (mainly French, of course) choose us each year.

4. We are the only company to have our own network of guides, drivers and people carriers across the Pyrenees, so no one can offer more convenient, faster or better value transfers and support.

5. We are the only company experienced in the whole of the Pyrenees without frontiers. Our “Pyrenees” is anywhere you can see the Pyrenees on a clear day (with binoculars!) - from the foothills to the highest peaks, from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean, from Perpignan to Santiago de Compostela, and from Toulouse to Barcelona, we know the Pyrenees. We speak French, Catalan and Spanish – many of us all three languages – as well as English.

6. We have a dedicated Purely Pyrenees team, most of whom speak English as their first language, and all of whom understand the distinctive needs and wants, doubts and issues of those who don’t live in France, and perhaps speak only limited – or no – French. Call our dedicated Purely Pyrenees number and you will have a conversation in English.

7. Every holiday offered by Purely Pyrenees has been tailor made for English speakers. Many of the holidays are similar to those offered to our French customers – but none are the same. They have been designed and developed to suit you, often offering different itineraries and accommodation, always committed to delivering you the best possible experience of any particular area or itinerary.

8. No other tour operator gets even close to offering as many, or as wide a choice of, Pyrenean walking (and cycling) holiday experiences as we do in both the French and Spanish Pyrenees.

9. Purely Pyrenees is the only tour operator offering walking holidays in the Pyrenees covered by both French (APST) and British (ABTA) consumer protection regulations as well as international consumer rights, not least when using credit cards. You could not be in safer hands – and when on holiday can call us 24/7 to speak to a member of staff, not a call centre.

10. We are always keen to hear what our customers think, respond to them, and put into practice their practical suggestions. That’s why we quickly upload customer comments and testimonials, and respond to any queries you may have, or comments you make, before, during or after your holiday.