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.
The Pyrenees are significantly warmer and drier than the Alps – especially in these climate changing days when farmers are introducing irrigation schemes that a few decades ago would have been thought jokes.
But the water we are talking about is not water that falls on your head – unless, of course, you are standing under a waterfall – but one of the great and defining joys of the Pyrenees – the streams, rivers, canals, ponds, lakes, and seas that almost every day of every walk includes.
We have the privilege of having not one but two major seas, each offering very different delights, but both offering surprisingly unspoilt villages and fishing harbours as well as excellent – and not too demanding - coastal walking and cycling.
We have our Lakeland in the central Pyrenees with literally hundreds of lakes, and upto 14 in just one day’s walk! Then we have our streams running down valleys into villages, which paths often run beside, plus valley lakes and rivers, and, finally, the superb Canal du Midi – perfect for an easy cycling holiday.
That’s why we believe you’ll find water and walking – and cycling – have never been better together.