Arrive at your accommodation in the beautiful Aure Valley late afternoon/early evening and take in your surroundings before a home-cooked evening meal (not included in price).
The family-run B&B
Penny first stumbled across the rugged and unspoiled mountains of the Pyrenees many years ago was instantly captivated.
Over the years she has curated exceptional local providers who provide truly meaningful experiences that introduce you to the beating heart of the Pyrenees.
Her aim is for you to return home from your holiday with a head full of amazing memories that will last a lifetime.
Today we’ll start with a wildlife walk in the morning. Your local English speaking guide Eric will meet you in Saint-Lary-Soulan and take you in his minibus up to Piau Engaly at the head of the Aure Valley. There, you can enjoy an easy walk which is suitable for even the youngest children, on which you may see marmots, chamois, Griffon vultures and, if you’re very lucky, the bearded vulture which is the rarest vulture in Europe!
After lunch at our recommended eatery in Saint-Lary-Soulan, take some time to explore the immediate area. We’ll make some recommendations based on your interests.
Huskies are not just for the winter! They also need to be kept fit and active in the summer months and you can be a part of their training.
On this 2.5 hrs experience you’ll learn all about the husky breeds, about their life as a pack animal, their diet and how the team at the base look after their needs. You’ll be in for some surprises! The experience culminates in a 1hr walk on which you’ll be attached to a dog by a special harness and experience just how strong these little dogs are.
If the weather is warm, this afternoon we’ll head up to the head of the Louron valley for a short walk (20 mins or so) to some fabulous waterfalls and pools, simply the perfect spot for a picnic and a cooling dip.
Today we start with a short hike to meet the local shepherd. There’s nothing technical about the walking on this day in a mountain environment on which you’ll meet the shepherd and his flock. Your local guide will take you in his minibus on the 45 minute drive up through sustainably managed forests to a point from which you’ll head to the shepherd’s hut in the mountains along the track on foot.
Count on around 8km of walking in total but with no technical difficulty or ascent.
At the shepherd’s hut you’ll enjoy a picnic lunch of local produce provided by your guide, accompanied by some red wine from the South West for the adults and juice for the kids.
This morning we visit the black Gascon pigs. Make your way up the valley towards Saint-Lary-Soulan this morning and visit the little shop that sells local products and in particular charcuterie produced from the black Noir de Bigorre pigs that are bred locally.
After your visit, you’ll be invited to have a gentle meander to where the pigs are kept and see why these animals, which are kept in a high welfare environment, produce such sought after pork products.
We then visit the cheese maker in the afternoon. Head up to a sheep farm in the little village of Aulon, tucked away up on the hillside above Saint-Lary-Soulan, where you can sample and buy some delicious creamy cheeses that are made from the sheep’s milk.
Sheep’s cheese is like no other, with a very moreish creamy tang. It’s aged from anything from 1 to 6 months with the flavour changing over time.
In the company of our local guide you’ll have the opportunity to meet a whole variety of local producers and artisans on your visit to the extensive market in the historic town of Arreau. It’s truly the best market in the area!
You’ll taste local cheeses, cured hams, chocolates, biscuits and fruit and meet local crafts people who produce items made from angora wool and local leather too.
You’ll also see ‘gateau à la broche’ or tree cake being made the traditional way over an open fire, just as it has been for centuries in old farmhouse kitchens.
In the afternoon, the foodie theme continues as you head down the valley to a traditional chocolate maker in the foothills village of La Barthe-de-Neste, where you may see master chocolatier Bernardino making some of his unique chocolate creations.
You’ll sample some of his creations and perhaps buy some great gifts to take home!