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.
Most of our customers are independent minded people who have been travelling around Europe and the world quite a lot – or a lot! – over the last few decades on business and holiday. They enjoy several breaks and holidays a year, and like discovering...
Most of our customers are independent minded people who have been travelling around Europe and the world quite a lot – or a lot! – over the last few decades on business and holiday.
They enjoy several breaks and holidays a year, and like discovering new places and new cultures as well as enjoying favourite activities – like walking – in favourite countries - like France. They like off the beaten track places, and coastlines as well as mountains.
They enjoy being active, and may well be fitter now than a few years ago, but most are not “fitness fanatics”. They can walk 10 miles (or more) in a day, but don’t want to be so challenged that it becomes unpleasant.
They expect a good quality, small, authentic hotel at the end of the day with good views and a well equipped en suite bathroom. They look forward to enjoying a good meal – preferably a memorable meal - and a few glasses of interesting local wine to reward all their daytime efforts.
They want all the hassle taken out of transfers from the airport to the first hotel, and don’t want to trudge the last 4 miles to the hotel along a not very interesting valley road. They want private transfers organised, so they can walk the best bits – and, of course, they want their luggage transferred, and waiting for them in their hotel room.
They want to know that if anything were to go wrong, or there to be a query they really needed answering, then there was a 24/7 English speaker based in the Pyrenees just a phone call away (and not some call centre in who knows where).
They expect good value for money, but are also willing (and able) to pay for good quality and the best possible experience – within reason.
They may speak a lot, or a bit, of French – or none at all – but recognise the French speak French (although many today also speak some English), and regard “struggling through” as part of the adventure, although English speaking help is always just a phone call away, if ever needed.
If this sounds like you, then that’s another reason to believe these holidays have actually been designed for you.