Who Are We ?
In 1984 a small walking holiday company was created, based in the beautiful Val d’Azun in the heart of the French Pyrenees. This company, named « La Balaguère » after the warm breeze that blows upwards from the Sahara to the Pyrenees, offered guided walking trips led by a small group of friends with a huge passion for the mountains.
Little by little La Balaguère expanded and more than 35 years later we help over 13,000 people every year enjoy walking and cycling holidays in the Pyrenees and further afield, to the most unspoilt areas of the world.
In 2018 we launched a new and exciting project. Purely Pyrenees is the English language branch of our business, offering self-guided and guided trips, walking and cycling from Spring to Autumn and snowshoeing in the Winter. Using our decades of experience we created a new range of holidays designed for English speakers who come, maybe for the first time, to experience the best the Pyrenees has to offer. Our focus is always to provide highlights, iconic places to visit, wonderful itineraries, authentic hotels and, of course, tremendous cuisine.
Purely Pyrenees and La Balaguère are now owned by the UCPA (Union des Centres Sportifs de Plein Air) which is a non-profit organisation in France that specialises in making outdoor sports holidays available for all. We are still based where we have always been, in the Pyrenean village of Arrens-Marsous.
We are very proud of our Pyrenean chain and of the knowledge that we have of it, amassed over years of providing guided and self-guided holidays. You can be sure that if you travel with us we will do everything we can to make sure you have a wonderful trip.
Wehave been on a lot of walks where the baggage is transported for you, mainly in Italy. This was something different, a much more more challenging climbing/walk with spectacular views and good accommodation. What we would advise anybody who is contemplating this walk early in the season is to pre- check the snow conditions right at the top of the pass where you move from France into Spain. We encountered what is best described as an ice field sloping steeply away which could hve been disastrous if one had slipped. Had we checked beforehand we would probably have brought simple crampons. There was no way to go round the snow/ice field. The other thing we learned is that you rarely can get a signal for your mobile phone anywhere on the walks which makes the emergency phone numbers and taxi driver numbers rather redundant. It might be advisable to also have an emergency email address because that message would be picked up if there is a small window of signal somewhere along the walk. It's a fantastic journey.
Purely Pyrenees :
Thank you very much for taking the time to review your latest trip.
It’s true that this is a magnificent circuit, which passes through two sites reputed to be among the most exceptional in Europe !
Normally at this time of year the crossing of the Port de Boucharo does not cause any problems as the snow has already melted, however this year there was a lot of snow late in the season.
It was because of this that we proposed the option of transferring you to Spain by vehicle.
This route is passable when there is still snow present, but as you mentioned, it is more suitable for walkers who are accustomed to these conditions.
We always remain very vigilant to ensure that we give our walkers the information they need, and please do not hesitate during any future trip you take with us to ask for fuller details of the latest conditions on the ground, and the level of aptitude required to complete the route without any concerns.