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.
We were very pleased with the level of service we received. From the outset contacts were friendly and positive, very prompt and helpful. Booking etc was all handled very well and with a very nice personal touch. (Many thanks, Sally!). We were impressed with attention to detail eg our Road-Book reflected fully the fact that our first two nights were not in the hotel originally advertised and so was personal to our trip which was appreciated. Once on our holiday, transfers were all done efficiently and on time. Jean-Louis was very relaxed when we were a little delayed in arriving at the Refugio de Bujaruelo, which was really nice. Our request to change the pick-up time/venue at Heas/Lac des Gloriettes was all handled most efficiently and helpfully.
In every hotel, we weren’t exactly spoilt for space as regards our rooms, with little space to put our suitcase, for example. We wonder how we’d have coped if we’d had any wet clothes or muddy boots after our walking…..fortunately we never had to worry as the weather was so lovely! Rooms in all the hotels were scrupulously clean. In every case, I would just like to emphasise how delightful the owners and staff of the hotels we stayed in were. We felt most welcome at every stage and this more than made up for any minor shortcomings as regards accommodation mentioned above.
Instructions and maps were all very clear and helpful - thank you. We enjoyed some spectacular walking and unbelievably beautiful views. The only observation which I would make is that it might be helpful to offer a few more easier options, where possible, on some of the days.
We had a wonderful holiday and a marvellous time and we were looked after so very well at every stage by delightful people. Our Once-In-A-Lifetime High Pyrenees Walk was certainly a memorable experience - a big thank you to you personally and to everyone else involved in making it so!