Way back in 1984, I was inspired by my love of walking in the Pyrenees to start a company sharing my knowledge and enjoyment with others.
I named the company after the warm breeze that blows up from the south – from the Sahara in fact – that gives us such a unique climate making the Pyrenees both warm and green.
And now we 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 are now launching a proper English language holiday programme with itineraries, accommodation, transfers and packages designed exclusively for the worldwide English speaking market.
One of the major differences is this: many English speakers may visit the Pyrenees only once, so we have packed as many highlights into each itinerary as we can. You visit iconic places every day, and stay in truly authentic hotels enjoying some of the best cuisine in France.
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 !
Founder, La Balaguere & Purely Pyrenees
My husband Hugo is crazy for castles.
We both love walking. I’ve wanted to go back to the Pyrenees since walking in the foothills with my aunt, many years ago. She talked to me in Latin for most of it and we had a wonderful time.
Hugo has been interested in the Cathars for years.
The mere mention of the siege of Montsegur brings tears to his eyes. I googled walking and Cathars and found Purely Pyrenees who offered exactly what we wanted.
The absolute highlight for me was the castle of Peyrepetuse.
It’s magnificent, impossibly positioned like a ship wrecked on a sheer cliff. The view, all the way to the Mediterranean, was absolutely awe inspiring.
For Hugo it was the approach to Montsegur through the woods.
The forbidding drop from the castle heights makes it impossible to imagine how the crusaders actually took it.
Our walk through the gorge was magical - the narrow winding passage through vertical cliffs and a jump into a rock pool. There was no-one there.
In fact in our first six days of walking we saw barely anyone at all. The terrain was varied and never more than we could manage.
We were supplied with an excellent walk book giving detailed descriptions of where to go and markers along the way.
We managed to leave the entire kit that Purely Pyrenees had sent us on the plane when we landed in Toulouse... disaster ! But Purely Pyrenees were incredibly elegant and efficient about it and sent us replacements to our second hotel. That meant we did our first walk without the walk book and managed to get lost, but it was quite a hoot and we still managed to make our meet time !
The hotels were very varied but all very comfortable and clean. The one in Cucunan was our favourite. The most beautiful medieval village and a wonderfully understated hotel front that belied the comfort and prettiness within. An amazing restaurant in the beer cellar too !
We absolutely loved our holiday. It was beautifully organised and lacking in any sort of pretentiousness or fuss. We wanted low-key but comfortable with delicious food, and that’s what we got.
We are talking about going back to the Pyrenees.
I feel there’s so much more to explore. We both love Italy too, and so will probably walk there at some point.
But the main thing is that we’ve discovered a holiday format that we both really enjoy and want to do as much of as we can before we get too creaky !
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