News

Avalanche Science & Risk at Altitude

November 2017 The following post is an update of my previous article from Dec 2015…. (see original here). As winter approaches and we prepare ski touring and snowshoeing trips away from the groomed and secured slopes questions of risk in the

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Early January Winter Revitilise

A great week despite the patchy snow! Two Australian guests took advantage of our Winter Revitalise week in early January. Staying in Blue Cairn Cottage, we can organise this week from two people only – you have  Beginning each day with

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Winter Newsletter 2016

Winter forecast, avalanche science and neurotransmitters at altitude It seems pertinent to be writing about the 2016 winter forecast during COP21 in Paris. Here’s hoping some sensible, and radical, propositions can be agreed upon so our ski fields survive into the

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Ed 93 yrs: our oldest ever walker!

Pyrenees Discovery at all ages Fantastic weather for this first week of June allowed us to enjoy the Pyrenean “Grand Sites” in all their spledour! Our Pyrenees Discovery holiday takes you to three of the four “Grand Sites” of the Haute

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Donate for Nepal Disaster Relief

Langtang Nepal Earthquake Aftermath We’re horribly sad following the huge and devastating earthquake in Nepal, making our trek to the Langtang Valley region impossible, and any future treks clearly uncertain. An entire industry and many Nepalese people’s livelihoods have been swept away

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The best 200 experiences in France

France Magazine’s favourite experiences list After twelve years living in France I have definitely not done all of the 200 favourite experience listed in France Magazine’s latest (April-May 2015) issue… Or even all of the top twelve. But I have done

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Winter Newsletter 2015

Why March is perfect for snowshoeing and ski touring Inspired by a question from a South Australian client about whether March was too late in the season for snowshoeing I thought I’d give an idea about why March is actually a

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Taking advantage of the snow

Introduction to Ski Touring Feb 2015 Two clients and a guide. The perfect way to start or restart your ski touring / ski mountaineering exploits. Add to that sunny weather and some very good snow. Wonderful.  

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Apocalyptic Snow Feb 2015

Crazy snow conditions early Feb 2015 For those of you who didn’t follow the whole episode intently on social media here is a taste of the madness. From James Connaughton, intrepid Aussie photographer in the valley, came the first lot of

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Barcelona to Lourdes on the train

The scenic route through the mountains A client researching how to travel the most interesting way from Barcelona to Lourdes stumbled across this article which I thought was great. It describes travelling across the Pyrenees on the train, with a change

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European Snow Forecast

Will it snow this winter?? If climatologists and meteorologists could predict the harshness of the winter season with any accuracy airlines, hydropower plants, fuel suppliers, road maintenance teams, and us, the general public, would all save a great deal of time

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Grand Ski by N-Py 2014-15

Which pass to buy? At the ticket office or on-line? ¤ Don’t want to wait in the queue at the start of the day? ¤ Want to have the best value ski pass for your stay? ¤ Not sure if it

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Ordesa in 3 days

Europe’s Grand Canyon What a combination, first the Ordesa Canyon on the Spanish side, then a dramatic re-entry into France through the Breche de Roland and down into the Cirque de Gavarnie. This short trek is packed with truly spectacular scenery

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Springtime Activities

Trekking in Madiera and Ashtanga Yoga in Cauterets   Sacha and Mandy have had fabulous experiences this spring which they hope to continue and transmit to Pyrenean Odysseys! Sacha discovered trekking in Madeira guiding five weeks in May and June this

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Encantats Snowshoe Trek

Thanks Andy for the photos. Some extreme snow conditions proved challenging and the group were rewarded with wonderful blue skies and plenty of lovely powdery snow. The enchanted Encantats lives up to its name as always, providing a fantastic setting for

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Finish the week in powder!

What more could you ask for at the end of the week?!

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Out and about Jan-Feb 2014

Taking in the best the Pyrenees has to offer, Richard has been out and about in January and early Feb. Good avalanche safety session yesterday comparing the abilities of a variety of different ARVAs from the 20 yr old Ortovox to

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Out before the lifts open

It’s been snowing heavily over the last fortnight out here in the Pyrenees. The ski stations in the valley are due to open this Saturday, the 30th November. Still only a few days away, but some people just can’t wait that

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Autumn falls, first snows

Wake early. Throw back the shutters. Lying in bed watching the snowflakes softly tumble from the slate grey sky. No secret what it all means. I’ve heard the storks overhead in the night, flying south to sunnier climbs. I’ve felt the

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Summer Autumn 2013

After the flood…. How to sum up the past summer ? Catastrophic flooding from the 18-20 June left the valley scrambling to rebuild roads before the summer season, and a proportion of the population wondering how to rebuild houses and businesses. 

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Spring 2013 update

 Straight from Winter to Summer? I guess it will arrive in a big rush sometime around the start of June. Winter will disappear and summer will be upon us. Spring will have been bypassed. While I am dreaming of 25°C it

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Highlights Winter 2013

Pyrenean Mountain Tours / Pyrenean Odysseys ski touring partnership The end of our first season offering and managing Pyrenean Mountain Tours ski touring program has arrived, even if there is still plenty of snow out there to be skiing on! We

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Ski Touring Winter 2013

Some images from ski touring and off-piste skiing around Gavarnie and Barèges this winter… The first, Cap de Sud, a TV program on France 3, filmed some wonderful images with a drone. Thank goodness military technology eventually has wonderful and peaceful

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Hotel Les Templiers Renovation

Nine months work Since last autumn we have completed a range of work here at Hotel Les Templiers.  Much of it is relatively unseen (a new vent system for the kitchen, double glazing in three rooms) but our guests this summer

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Encantats Snowshoeing Trek in Irelands Sunday Business Post

Spain’s enchanted lake district 03:52, 16 December 2012 by Mandy Latchford Irishwoman Mandy Latchford works as a mountain leader in the Pyrenees for Pyrenean Odysseys. Here, she tells about escaping the ski resorts in favour of a snowshoeing trek in Spain’s

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Tourmalet open 16 May 2012

The Col du Tourmalet is now open.  So everyone wishing to visit the Pic du Midi and the Cirque de Gavarnie can do so without driving all the way around via Lourdes. I accompanied a group of Australians up the Pic

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Springtime walk Luz Viella

Well – it wasn’t very far but it was very nice.  A little walk up to the village of Viella, south facing and surrounded by flower filled fields, then up into the forest for lunch before heading back down to Luz. 

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Encantats Snowshoe Trek

March 2012. After doing a proper reccie in 2011 we finally got a group together for Feb 2012 for an exceptional snow shoe adventure in the Spanish Aigues Tortes National Park. Thanks to John and Helen for being the enthusiastic

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Night Trains Paris Lourdes

11 June 2011 After some investigation into why there are no tickets for sale on night trains between Paris and Lourdes this summer it appears the explanation is trackwork. Maintenance is scheduled over the summer so while there are likely to

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Encantats

Jan 2011 Sacha and I have just come back from a fabulous reconnaissance trek on snow shoes in the Encantats (part of the Aigües Tortes National Park in Spain).  We were blessed with 5 days of pure blue skies, pure powder

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2011: Year of the Pyrenees

The seven regions and one principality that have territory covering the Pyrenees have jointly launched 2011 as the Year of the Pyrenees.  Play the video here for some spectacular Pyrenean images.  Pyrenean Odysseys is joining this effort in proposing two traverses

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Happy Twitchers

bird watching Pyrenees The arrival of colder weather often brings the elusive wallcreeper down from the cliffs of Gavarnie to the relative civilisation of the walls of the fortified church in Luz. Luckily, last week we had two Englishmen in the

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News and Views January 2011

News & Views January 2011 How do tourism and pastoralism interact with protected national parks and nature reserves in the Pyrenees?  How are the natural and cultural landscapes changing? How can we strike a balance between traditional and modern accommodation standards,

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Yoga in Luz

Sandra Marchand, a local who spent 20 years in the US, has recently returned to Luz.  She is offering Yoga classes every Wednesday and Friday night over summer.  15€ per class.  Sandra speaks English, French and Spanish.See her flyer Yoga.

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Late October Snow

Some Australian visitors had the great joy of early October snow in autumn 2009. The snow mixed with the autumn leaves was quite beautiful. The ever spectacular Gavarnie Cirque was made even more so under its first winter snow

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Snowshoeing and Afghanistan

Snowshoe day trips out to Marcadau Valley and Hautacam Nov 2010.

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Saturday Luz Ardiden

Video (thanks to Uncle Gerard) showing the view to the west (Cauterets is below), south and east from the top of the six man Aulian Express lift at Luz Ardiden.  Taken on Saturday 4th Dec.

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Great Winter Photos

I’ve just found some fabulous photos of a ski touring trip up into the Marcadau and Oulettes valleys above Cauterets.  They are on the blog of Philippe Quaglia, which is found here. Mandy’s Marcadau hut trip up to Refuge Wallon and

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Vignemale and Ossoue Glacier

We exhausted some old uni friends by suggesting a walk up the Vignemale (3298m – highest mountain in the French Pyrenees).  They stayed overnight at the Baysellance Refuge, made it to the top and had a good look at the rapidly

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Apartment 20-27 Aug

We have had a cancellation and now have a lovely renovated three bedroom apartment available from the 20-27 August.  The price is 725€ for the week.  See the “Sere Apartments” on our map for the location.  There are lovely views over

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Grand Raid des Pyrenees

Each year on the last weekend of August is the “Grand Raid des Pyrenees” – a foot race in high mountain terrain around the Pic du Midi de Bigorre.  Beginning and ending in Vielle Aure there are two routes – the

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Around (and up) Mont Perdu

Just back from the Tour of Mont Perdu from the 14-21st August.  Lovely trip.  Great weather for the first three days, then cloudy for 2 and a perfectly blue last day for the ascent of the Taillon. From the Hourquette d’Alans

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Marty Jemison Cycling Tours Pyrenees Trip

Marty Jemison (ex US Postal team rider and Tour de France finisher in 1997 and 1998), Jill Jemison and their guests often stay in Hotel les Templiers for the Tour de France as it goes through the Pyrenees.  Marty Jemison Cycling

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Luz Altitude Jazz Festival

“Mr Gadou and his secretary” were our special guests for the Luz Altitude Jazz Festival.  Monday night saw the local band “Bridge of the Queen” playing in Esquieze outside the Rond Point bar.  Super ambiance.  The band originated in the drummer’s

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Organic Breakfast Buffet

After many years of having some organic products at breakfast and in our restaurant we have now managed to organise an almost all organic buffet breakfast and along with half organic picnics. The usual issues arise – not wanting to drive

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Tour de France Tourmalet 2010

Book launch: Tourmalet – Tour de France The History of a Myth.  The book is in French but has great photos and information. Price: 27€.  We are also selling souvenir T-shirts for 17€. Tourmalet – Tour de France The History of a

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Vallée d’Ossoue to Lac de Gaube via Bayssellance

Walking between Gavarnie and Cauterets there are flowers everywhere.  Along with water pouring out of every crevice and newborn lambs being taken straight up onto the remnant snow by their mothers.  I wondered if this was to protect them from eagles –

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Walk around Luz in the other direction!

Out for another little walk around Luz today.  The notes are to put into our Welcome to Luz pack, the information pack received by those on the Mountain Activity Holiday and the Family Activity Holiday. Starting from the hotel the walk goes

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Walk around Luz

On Wednesday we had a break in the spring rain which allowed Jacques and I to get out and write notes up for a simple walk around Luz.  We did the short version, which took us 2 hours, but we dawdled

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Col d’Aubisque open

The Col d’Aubisque opened yesterday afternoon (Tuesday 1st June).  A gorgeous drive (or cycle), and well worth the detour if you are coming into the Argeles or Luz valleys.

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Col du Tourmalet

The Col du Tourmalet is now open.  Good news for all wanting to take in the views and it means that access to Pic du Midi, via La Mongie, is possible from the Luz Valley.

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Cultural Events

The Luz Altitude Jazz Festival has released its line up of artists for four days of eclectic music and improvisation from the 10th to the 13th July inclusive.  The Hotel Les Templiers concert is at 6pm on Tuesday 13th July – Mr Gadou

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Fran’s Pyrenean Flower Photos

  As it is spring I thought I’d reprint some of Fran’s photos showing all her flower finds in the Luz and Cauteret valleys last summer.  Daffodils have been out over the last couple of weeks and now the buttercups and dandelions

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MuchBetterAdventures

We are now members of muchbetteradventures.com! We are delighted to have been accepted as one of the early members of muchbetteradventures.com, a carefully selected community of fantastic adventure providers who have a strong ongoing commitment to sustainability. You can see us

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St Savin and Poueyaspe

With the gorgeous weather over the last couple of days our minds are turning to summer and I’ve walked and written up two new day walks for Pyrenean Odysseys independent walking holidays. The aim of the first was to find an easier

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Lac de Gaube and the Pont d’Espagne

Hier, une très bonne amie anglaise (Leigh) vivant à Luz, m’a invité faire une petite balade au lac du Gaube, dans le secteur de Cauterets. (Yesterday a very good English friend living in Luz invited me for a little walk to

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Pyrenean Animal Park

We will be reprinting some blog articles from Francesca Foot over the next couple of months.  She is an English university exchange student who has been in Luz, on and off, for the last year.  She writes a blog on all her

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Press Articles

Over the years various newspapers have written articles about visiting the Pyrenees.  Here are a couple of links describing attractions in and around the Luz Valley. The first is a nice article on Gavarnie and briefly the Pic du Midi by Rhiannon

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Valleys of the Lavedan

Mandy and I will be walking all the stages of the Valleys of the Lavedan hotel to hotel walk in the next couple of months to make sure that the notes are up to date before this summer. We did the

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Hautacam

We made the most of the fresh powder with a snow-shoe afternoon to the spectacular heights of “Hautacam” (high place in local dialect). With Sian from the Templiers and a group of keen Australians who had never tried such an activity

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Let it snow….

 Last weekend brought us a much-needed and much-appreciated snowfall. Waking up to blue skies against the backdrop of freshly whitened summits, we couldn’t resist an outing…… 4-wheel drive pram ready and baby wrapped up, we left from our doorstep in the

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School snow shoe outing

I was out in the mountains this week with a group of 10 year olds for a « classe de neige ». Oh joy to be in the mountains instead of in the classroom!  They were full of beans as we put on

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Bareges snow-shoeing

Sunday 24th Jan 2010 Yesterday we left from Barèges with admittedly un-bountiful snow cover but enough to put on our  snow shoes and climb up the path as far as « Chez Louisette ». Along the way we could see the numerous shepherds’

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Flight disruption this Summer?

                    Flights all over Europe may be disrupted this summer due to continued eruptions from volcanos in Iceland, or so said the news here in France last night.  One more reason to take the train… This Daily Telegraph article gives an informative summary of

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Featured Holiday

Pyrenees Winter Showshoe Magic 22 – 29 Jan & 12 – 18 Mar 2011. Snowshoe with Mandy in the Pyrenees this winter, mixing walking with good food (campfire cookout and one torchlight walk to dinner) and other winter highlights such as a cable car

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Nature this month

Mandy took our friend Hamish out for a snowshoe on the Hautacam ridge.  From here you have spectacular views of the higher peaks of the Pyrenees, and you can also see the plain around Tarbes.  Its the perfect birds-eye view of

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Nature Feature

An elusive wallcreeper often spends part of winter on the church opposite the hotel.  Its probably down the valley at the moment because it is too cold up here.

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Launch of Pyrenean Odysseys

Mandy, Sacha, Jonathan, Sian and Laurent launch Pyrenean Odysseys.  Jointly we offer you guided and independent walking, trekking and activity holidays in the Pyrenees.

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