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
We are Pyreneans. Many of us were born in the Pyrenees, and brought up in these mountains, so we know the Pyrenees, we love the Pyrenees, and we know just how good they are for walking and cycling.
We are Pyreneans.
Many of us were born and brought up in the Pyrenees, so we are passionate about what the Pyrenees offer – and although we have also travelled all over the world, we still believe that there is nowhere like the Pyrenees – and nowhere beats the Pyrenees.
We love walking in the Pyrenees – and some of us love cycling here too. We have walked the itineraries and footpaths ourselves in spring, summer and autumn. We know the best routes for particular people and for particular seasons.
We know the hoteliers, the taxi drivers, the guides, the crafts people, even the bus drivers and butchers, so we know the local prices, and can make sure you get best value for money.
We know the best places to stay – and stay in them ourselves. We know the people who own and run them. We know what they are good at, and what sort of person enjoys staying there the most.
We have tasted the transformation of Pyrenean cuisine. We know the best chefs – traditional and innovative. We know their best menus and signature dishes. We want you to be as enthusiastic as we are about the pleasures of eating in the Pyrenees!
Above all, we want you to understand for yourself why we are so passionate about living, working and walking in the Pyrenees.
Purely Pyrenees is dedicated to not only making sure you have the best possible experience of the Pyrenees, but you also have one of the most memorable and enjoyable holidays of your life.
And we’re pretty confident that’s what we will deliver.
There is no right or wrong answer to this question. It depends on what you like doing most.
Is it the slow, sure, under-the-skin way offered by walking, or the see more, do more pleasures of cycling?
Either way, you can be sure that we provide comfortable itineraries – these are holidays all about pleasure not pain – and comfortable places to stay, but we don’t think that’s enough.
We want you to discover the real Pyrenees, and the lives lived by real Pyreneans. We want you to enjoy the most authentic places to stay – villages as well as hotels. We want you to experience our wonderful cuisine. We want you to explore the best highlights, and plenty of them in each holiday. And we want you to feel well supported with help available 24/7 should you need it.
Whether you choose to pedal slowly or walk slowly, there is one thing above all that will tell us whether we have succeeded, and that’s that you choose a second – and maybe a third and fourth – holiday with Purely Pyrenees.
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.
Our “Pyrenees” has expanded over the last 30 years. The mountains haven’t moved, but we have explored and enjoyed more adjacent regions – so our “Pyrenees” is anywhere you can just about see the Pyrenees on a clear day - with binoculars !
COASTAL & MOUNTAIN-TO-COAST WALKS : often fairly gentle walks featuring both the Atlantic and the Mediterranean coasts. On the Atlantic coast, we offer Across The Pays Basque To The Atlantic as well as a shorter version - Mountains To The Atlantic : Pays Basque Break – and the highlight filled Cultural Camino Break : Guernica, Guggenheim & Much More. On the Mediterranean side, we offer you two breaks Quintessential Collioure To Cadaques Break, and Cycling The Best Of The Pyrenean Mediterranean Break (LINK: FP9PUCO). If you want a full week’s coastal walking, then there’s nothing better than The Classic Mediterranean Pyrenees Coastal Walk : Collioure To Cadaques, but if it’s walking to the sea, then try The Art Of Walking: : A Gentle Cultural Journey To The Mediterranean, Walking From Mount Canigou To The Med, which includes monasteries, museums and vineyards among many other delightful discoveries, or consider From Cathar Castles To Mediterranean Collioure where history and culture are centre stage.
HEART OF THE MOUNTAINS : these exhilarating, memorable and slightly more challenging walks in the heart and heights of the French and Spanish Pyrenees – often both - include A World Class Journey To The Heart Of The Pyrenees, The Natural Magic of Aragon, The Very Best Of The Spanish Pyrenean Lakeland, and The Best Of The High Pyrenees : From Lourdes To (literally)The Stars where you stay at an observatory and have a private telescopic tour of the heavens.
CATHARS, CULTURE & CUISINE : discover the real life of the Pyrenees, explore Carcassonne and Cathar castles, or walk the coast to the Guggenheim. On the Mediterranean side, we offer The Art Of Walking: : A Gentle Cultural Journey To The Mediterranean, while Walking From Mount Canigou To The Med includes monasteries, museums and vineyards among many other delightful discoveries, but if you want to immerse yourself in regional history and culture then consider From Cathar Castles To Mediterranean Collioure. On the other coast, is the remarkably highlight packed Cultural Camino Break: Guernica, Guggenheim & Much More.
FROM THE ATLANTIC TO THE MED : choose an itinerary to go from coast to coast in one week, two, or ten! For walkers, we offer Coast-To-Coast Pyrenees In 2 Weeks that includes daily transfers, so you only walk the very best of the Pyrenees , but if you have more time (and commitment) then The Purely Pyrénées Atlantic To The Med In 5 Fortnights may be right for you. Each section is broken down into 11 days walking over 2 weeks, so it is a comfortable itinerary which follows much of the famous GR10, but we show you better route options in many places thanks to our decades of experience. By bike – electric or not - we offer Cycling Enjoyably From The Atlantic To The Med.
THE LESS TRAVELLED CAMINOS : we will be offering more camino walks and rides for 2018, and almost all of them are wonderful routes not travelled by the tourist hordes. For now, we are simply offering The Cultural Camino Break: Guernica, Guggenheim & Much More, and The Best Of The High Pyrenees : From Lourdes To The Stars which includes camino paths over the Pyrenees as well as Lourdes.
BREAKS : if you’re not yet convinced that the Pyrenees are right for you, or you are simply short of time, then perhaps a short break is the right choice for you ? You can choose to walk the Quintessential Collioure To Cadaques Break, or choose Cycling The Best Of The Pyrenean Mediterranean Break (LINK: FP9PUCO). On the Atlantic coast, there is The Cultural Camino Break : Guernica, Guggenheim & Much More as well as walking the very satisfying Mountains To The Atlantic: Pays Basque Break.
JOURNEYS BY BIKE : the foothills and valleys, not the mountain peaks. These are cycling holidays for people who enjoy cycling – but not racing around ! That’s why we offer electric bikes to make it that much more comfortable and enjoyable. We know what are the best cycling itineraries - and that a bike is the best way to see more in a short break, a week or a fortnight. You can enjoy Cycling The Best Of The Pyrenean Mediterranean, or see the highlights Cycling The Best Of The Pyrenean Mediterranean Break. If you want something less challenging then The Canal du Midi to the Med might be just right for you.
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