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
The first thing that usually springs to mind when you think about a passage on foot across the whole of the Pyrenean chain is the famous GR10. This is a trail that runs close to the border between France and Spain, from Hendaye on the Basque Atlantic coast to Banyuls-sur-Mer on the Catalan Mediterranean coast.
If you are super fit and have a few weeks to spare then this has proved to be a highly rewarding challenge for lots of intrepid walkers, the route is 538 miles long and has a positive elevation change of 48,000 metres !
The attractions of walking along this chain of mountains are clear, from the beautiful coastlines, each so different but equally as full of beauty and character, the fact that you meander between two countries, when you are walking you may not even know if you are in France or Spain but when you reach a village and encounter the locals, the food, the drink, the architecture it will soon become clear ! From high mountain passes to crystal clear lakes and misty forests, this region will leave you with so many enchanting memories.
At Purely Pyrenees we are striving to make the Pyrenean chain accessible for those who may not have the time, the fitness or the desire to yomp the whole route with their spare pants drying on the back of their huge rucksack ! By walking only the most exciting and enjoyable stretches, with transfers in between, it is actually possible to see all the best sights in a two-week holiday.
We begin our adventure from the pretty port of Saint-Jean-de-Luz, with its numerous fish restaurants, it’s traditional red and white timbered houses, and it’s undoubtable Basque character.
From here we climb to the high Pyrenees, taking in La Rhune and walking La Chemin de la Mâture, a 1200 metre path which was literally carved into the rock face. Completed in 1772 it was created to enable wood to be carried from the forest to the boat builders who were constructing vessels for the French navy.
Passing the col d’Aubisque and the amazing Pont d’Espagne we find ourselves at what could well be the highlight of this crossing, the Cirque de Gavarnie. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the waterfall at the centre of this amazing amphitheatre descends over 420 metres.
After experiencing the famous Tour de France col, the Tourmalet, we cross over into the Ordesa National Park, and Spain. Soak in the impressive views of the immense Canyon of Ordesa and Mont Perdu. We continue through the Spanish Lakeland, La Cerdagne, visit the Abbey of St Martin du Canigou, and before we know it we are descending to the blue blue Mediterranean, ready to dip our toes in the sparkling water and treat ourselves to a little glass of Cava…
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