ID here 98178

An Immersive Rural Mountain Holiday with A Foodie Twist

France, French Pyrenees

8 days

Private Tour min. 2 people

An Immersive Rural Mountain Holiday with A Foodie Twist

£905 pp

What You'll Do

A unique opportunity to experience the heart of rural livestock farming life and the gastronomic delights of the French Pyrenees.

The Pyrenees are a relatively undiscovered mountain chain with a rich pastoral heritage that remains blissfully untainted by mass tourism. Local family livestock farms are closely linked to gastronomy in the Pyrenees, making the area an unmissable destination for the outdoors loving foodie.

This unique stay is a deep dive into the local scene and will include family friendly hikes with local guides to meet the shepherd and his flock in the mountain pastures and to discover some of the rich wildlife in the area.

You’ll discover that huskies are not just for winter as you spend time with a local pack, learn about the various husky breeds and their pack life and then take them out on a training walk. You’ll also have the opportunity to learn more about the reintroduction programme of  brown bears in the Pyrenees and spend a half day in the company of a local bear expert deep in bear territory.

Food is at the centre of pastoral life in the Pyrenees and your stay will include a visit to the biggest and best outdoor market in the Medieval town of Arreau, where you’ll meet local producers and sample their offerings.

No visit to the Pyrenees would be complete without a healthy dose of cheese! Kids will love the visit to a local ‘fromagerie’ where they can learn about breeding sheep, milking them and the cheese-making process with of course an opportunity to sample and buy the end product.

The Pyrenees cake speciality ‘gâteau à la broche’ has been made in Pyrenean farmhouses over an open fire for generations and is a tradition that is being maintained in certain areas. You’ll have the chance to see it being made.

A visit to a local ‘chocolatier’ is sure to be a highlight of your stay.

This trip is suitable for families with children aged 6+

Available from mid June to the end of August


An in-depth stay to get under the skin of pastoral life 

Spend time with local characters

Explore the best and most unusual local foodie experiences

The kids will love it!

Your Local Host:

Penny Walker

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.

Experience Itinerary

Arrival Day

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

b&b exterior in the french pyrenees

Wildlife Walk & Local Explorations

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.


The B&B

log fire in living space in a bed and breakfast

Huskies & Waterfalls

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.


The B&B

breakfast table in france

Full Day Shepherd Experience

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.


The B&B

double bed in b&b in france

Visit the Black Gascon Pigs and Local Cheese Maker

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.

Arreau Market & Chocolatier Visit

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!

Self-guided Walk

On your final day in the beautiful Pyrenees we’ll provide you with all the information you need to enjoy a chilled out family walk in the picturesque Rioumajou valley above Saint-Lary-Soulan.

In the village you can pick up everything you need for a picnic of local products.

Departure Day

A sad day today as your stay in the Pyrenees has come to an end and you make your way home.

We hope you’ll be back again soon!

Location Information

This is a self-drive holiday as there isn’t much public transport in the mountains. With your own car you will have the freedom to explore following our personal recommendations of where to visit.

Nearest airport: Toulouse Airport, from where you can hire a car (approx. 1hr 45mins drive to base).

Nearest train station: Lannemezan, from where you can hire a car. But most people leave the train at Toulouse Matabiau and drive down from there.

This cosy, welcoming guest house is perfectly located in the Aure Valley area of the central French Pyrenees, just 10 minutes from both Saint-Lary-Soulan and the Medieval town of Arreau.

Your hosts are passionate about welcoming guests into their home and delight in providing the most delicious home cooked food both at breakfast and at dinner. Alain’s home made patisseries and chocolates are far too moreish!

The B&B has five totally sound-proofed and insulated en suite guest rooms which share a hu

  • 7 nights in a cosy B&B
  • All breakfasts & 6 dinners inc. aperitif, wine and coffee
  • All walking experiences outlined
  • Organisation of visits mentioned in the itinerary
  • Services of a personal holiday manager throughout your stay


Yes, absolutely! The recommended age for this trip is 6+ yrs.

This is a self-drive holiday as there isn't much public transport in the mountains. With your own car you will have the freedom to explore following our personal recommendations of where to visit. Car hire can be arranged from the nearest airport, Toulouse (approx. 1hr 45mins drive to base).

If making your way by train, the nearest train station is Lannemezan, from where you can hire a car. But most people tend leave the train at Toulouse Matabiau and drive down from there.