This guided walking holiday in France is a week of classic Pyrenean walks and scenery, with good food, history and culture.
During your walking days you’ll explore four areas of exceptional natural beauty in the French Pyrenees.
Included in this walking holiday are two day trips, which will introduce you to the food, history and culture of this part of France. At the end of the week’s walking you’ll have discovered all four of the Grand Sites of the Hautes-Pyrenees: Lourdes, Gavarnie, Pont d’Espagne and the Pic du Midi.
Accommodation in Luz St Saveur in the Pyrenees
Your base for this guided walking holiday is Hotel le Templiers, in the historic centre of Luz. This small, family-run hotel has only ten rooms and provides a comfortable mix between tradition and modern amenities. All twin-rooms have great views, and en-suite bathrooms with shower, washbasin and toilet.
The hotel’s restaurant serves many regional French specialities, such as buckwheat savoury galettes and sweet crêpes. Included in the holiday is a three course dinner each evening, apart from day 6, when you’ll have the opportunity to try one of the other restaurants in town. Picnic lunches are included on the walking days.
Walking in the French Pyrenees
The walking during this guided walking holiday is at a relaxed and easy pace. There is plenty of time for your guide to introduce you to the flowers, plants, animals and geology of this fascinating part of the French Pyrenees.
The walking itinerary below gives you an idea of the variety of walks and landscapes during this holiday.
Classical Pyrenean Odyssey walking holiday itinerary
Below you’ll find the Classical Pyrenean Odyssey guided walking holiday itinerary. Please note that weather conditions, early season snow melts, and group members can influence walking programme choices. Your guide will assess the situation day when choosing a walk with the group.
Day 1 – Start of your walking holiday in France. Travel to the French Pyrenees, arrive in Luz and settle into Hotel Les Templiers. Enjoy a welcome drink in the lounge and a briefing on your week of walking.
Day 2 – A warm up walk to the Lac de la Glere gives you a taste of the Neouvielle Nature Reserve with its unique granite, lake and rhododendron scenery. This ‘lakes district’ is a lovely place to start your walking holiday in the Pyrenees. As a bonus you’ll visit a shepherd making French cheese in a cabin nearby.
Day 3 – The Gavarnie Cirque is the jewel in the crown of the Central Pyrenees, part of the Pyrenees National Park, the Mont Perdu World Heritage Area and a Midi-Pyrenees “Grand Site”. Today you’ll be walking into the Cirque via the Espugettes Refuge and the spectacular balcony path. Even in the height of summer you’ll come across very few people here.
The Gavarnie waterfall has the highest vertical drop of any in Europe (426 metres) and some of the most spectacular views in the French Pyrenees await you here.
Day 4 – Today’s walking programme depends on the time year your holiday is in. In June and October you’ll visit the large and varied Argeles market in the morning. You can buy bits and pieces for the lunchtime picnic – dried sausage, cheese, organic bread, tomatoes and whatever else is on offer than looks appetising. Plenty of time to admire the local produce and everything else around the centre of town. Then you’ll head up to the viewpoint at the Pietat Chapel for a picnic. Then a short walk to the beautiful little village of St Savin for a coffee and a visit to its church and picturesque houses and gardens. In the afternoon, you’ll take a trip around the Pyrenean Eden – the lovely Val d’Azun.
If your walking holiday is between July and September, you’ll visit the Luz market in all its summer splendour in the morning, followed by a picnic in the afternoon. An evening walk around the historic buildings and sites of Luz completes the day.
Day 5 – The waterfalls of the Pont d’Espagne are varied and wonderful. Depending on the group and the season you might stay low and walk up alongside them all, or start higher and head for the Lac de Gaube and the Refuge des Oulettes. Spectacular scenery all around and your second Grand Site of this walking holiday.
Day 6 – A day trip to the Pic du Midi observatory at 2,877 metres for wide views over the mountains and your third Grand Site. To get there you’ll be driven over the ‘Col du Tourmalet’ of Tour de France fame. From here you’ll either walk the sunrise walk (in October), or you’ll ride the impressive cable car to the top for panoramic views and a visit to the observatory itself. Afterwards you visit the neighbouring Campan Valley and return to Luz via a scenic foothill drive.
Day 7 – The last guided walking day is more flexible depending on the group’s wishes. Your guide will offer suggestions and the group can then decide.
It could be the Bergons summit, a relatively easily reached peak above Luz with spectacular views of Gavarnie. Or the wilder and less-known Bernatoire valley, or a walk towards a lake for a swim. It could also be an afternoon walk up to the Plateau de Lumiere and then on to dinner at the Auberge du Lienz, or one of the other restaurants, with a torchlight descent after dinner.
Day 8 – You leave Luz on the bus and visit Lourdes (your fourth Grand Site) before you head onwards. End of your guided walking holiday to the French Pyrenees.