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 will supply you with a comprehensive list of all you need to take – or consider taking well before your departure date, so won’t overload you with lists now.
However, five do’s, and please excuse us if we are teaching grandmothers to suck eggs:
Do pack everything into one suitcase (preferably soft form) and a weatherproof daysack (small rucksack) each. We transport your luggage, and large rucksacks are difficult for flights and cars.
Do invest in “tech” clothing – light, waterproof, breathable, quick drying etc – and good boots.
Do simplify your “tech” equipment if you can: for example, can you get communications, internet access, entertainment, music and books all on your smartphone? There’s plenty of space in your luggage for a Kindle, but do you need to take 3 or 4 books?
Do choose comfortable clothing for evenings too – usually people dress casual, or at most smart casual, but you are staying and dining in quality hotels.
Do remember that while you are enjoying some of the most unspoilt and magnificent scenery and landscapes in the world, and walking for hours without seeing another soul, you will be staying in villages and towns with shops that have most of the things you might need as replacements, or if you’ve forgotten stuff. After all, you are in France and Spain!