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 are Sheila and Heather from Vancouver Island, Canada.
We became good friends when our daughters were in figure skating together, we share a love of hiking and hike on a regular basis at home.
A couple of years ago we decided we would like to try hiking in Europe. Last year we did the Tour du Mont Blanc and this year the High Pyrenees.
We wanted to hike in an area that would present similar challenges and offer similar scenery to the Tour du Mont Blanc.
Both of us had read about the Pyrenees and had seen many wonderful photos that enticed us to follow up on a walking holiday in the Pyrenees.
The whole trip was full of great memories, we enjoyed every hike we did.
Everyday offered splendid scenery and magnificent views.
One of the best memories would be from our second day of hiking where we started at the Lac d’Estaing, it was a beautiful day and the mountains, meadows and sheep were incredibly clearly reflected in lake and it was so very beautiful.
Another great memory was on our third day of hiking where we started the hike at the Post d’Espagne.
We enjoyed seeing the Post d’Espagne which is a famous stone bridge that once joined Spain and France.
It offers lovely views of waterfalls and spans the Gave de Marcadau where it meets the Gave de Gaube.
From there we hiked up to and alongside the beautiful Gaube lake, then alongside a glacial torrent, through a lovely river valley with alpine meadows and several waterfalls, we eventually climbed the last steep ascent over Col d’Ossoue to arrive at the Baysselance refuge.
It was a day of glorious and stunning views plus a great feeling of accomplishment!
Would you have any advice for other travellers walking in the same area?
I would strongly recommend any of the hikes we took in the high Pyrenees, we enjoyed the less crowded experience that we got by hiking in mid September.
This is the first time you have entrusted Purely Pyrenees with your holiday plans, how was the experience?
We really enjoyed working with Purely Pyrenees, they were very professional, friendly and helpful.
We really could not have asked for a better organized vacation, everything went smoothly and all transfers were punctual.
The GPS maps, paper maps and written descriptions of the hikes were good.
The hotels and accommodations were all comfortable and clean with friendly staff. The food was good in all accommodations and really delicious in some.
Further details of A World Class Journey to the Heart of the Pyrenees FP2PUVG
Further details of all our Walking Holidays
Further details of all our Cycling Holidays
Further details of all our Snow Holidays