The Argeles Valley is a wonderful region for adventure and exploration, not only the valley that Mas des Hirondelles resides, but the neighbouring area as well.
Whether it is meandering through the foothills or a more energetic day further up the slopes, you are not far away from discovering what is special about the Pyrénées. There are plenty of mapped routes within a few kilometres of Mas des Hirondelles suitable for most abilities.From gentle walks, hiking, skiing and snowboarding, to something a bit more exhilarating; experience unforgettable views with a breathtaking flight paragliding, or have the ride of your life rafting, canoeing or kayaking. We have a plethora of information at the house detailing many beautiful walks. You can also find out more here Pyrénées National Park
Whatever you choose, the Pyrénées offers you an abundance of opportunities to enjoy yourself!
To enjoy the full offering of the Pyrénéan mountain range, why not hire a fully qualified Mountain Guide? Our neighbour, Xavier Leclat, is not only a qualified mountain guide but he can also arrange a whole range of exciting mountain activities.
For more information please contact Xavier Leclat on +33 (0)5 62 97 97 46
Winter: cross-country skiing, off-piste skiing, snowshoe walks off the beaten track.
Stay Safe in the Mountains
We have compiled a few safety pointers that you may find useful when spending time in the Pyrénées.
- Ask about the weather before leaving.
- Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back.
- Wear sensible shoes; bring warm clothes.
- Do not abandon your rubbish.
- Do not start fires.
- Keep your dog on a lead.
- Do not pick flowers.
- Obey the rules of Parc National des Pyrénées
- Do not leave the trail and always keep to the designated routes.
- Useful numbers:
- Meteo France: 3250
- Mountain rescue: 05 62 92 41 41
- Ensure you leave with a detailed map (1/25000 scale).
The market is a French tradition which has to be experienced. Every reasonably sized town has one and that includes our nearest town of Argelès Gazost on a Tuesday. This market dates back nearly 200 years. We provide a full list of all local markets in the house so you can always pick up locally sourced fruit and vegetables.
The Parc Animalier des Pyrénées in Argeles Gazost presents the animals of this area in vast spaces where, bears, wolves, chamois, marmots, lynx, roe-deer, otters, foxes, squirrels live in semi-freedom. More than a hundred species live in about 10 hectares of park situated on a hill, giving a magnificent view on the mountains. Children will love the opportunity to get up close to some of the creatures, being able to play and feed animals like the marmots. Visit www.parc-animalier-pyrenees.com for more information.
The Surrounding Area
While Lourdes is best known for its shrine which brings in coach loads of tourists every day, Lourdes has other attractions too. A trip on the funicular railway at Pic du Jer offers spectacular panoramic views of the Pyrenees. The thousand-year-old fortress is a listed historical monument and a museum of France. This site offers exceptional views of the city, the Sanctuaries and the Pyrenees. For more information visit Lourdes Tourism
Pic du Midi de Bigorre
The Pic du Midi de Bigorre rises to 2877m above sea level offers stunning views over the Pyrenees. The scenic splendor is the Pic du Midi has been a classified national natural site since 2003. From La Mongie, a 15 minute trip in a cable car takes you to the summit. Not the cheapest day out but one you will remember. Visit www.picdumidi.com for more information.
At the edge of the Pyrénées National Park, the Pont d’Espagne (1 496 m) is a protected corner of the countryside where you can discover the most beautiful waterfalls that can be seen in Hautes-Pyrénées. It gives access to two major valleys that are worth exploring on foot; the Marcadau valley, where the high prairies give way to a wonderful landscape of pleasant lakes and peaks, and the Gaube valley, with a lake that can be reached by chair lift. The top end of the valley leading to the lake is closed off by the north face of the Vignemale, the culminating point of the mountain range on the border with Spain. For more information visit www.cauterets.com
Cirque de Gavarnie
The legendary Gavarnie Cirque has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997 for its natural and cultural value. The less well-known but equally resplendent and impressive Estaubé and Troumouse are gems of scenery and culture, in what is incontestably the most famous place in the Pyrénées. Visit gavarnie.com for more information.
Adventure Sports & Activities
There is no shortage of things to do for the adventurous and thrill seekers. As you would guess, this is a great area for winter sports with ski slopes no more than a few kilometres away. There are plenty of other ways to experience that adrenalin rush. Here are a few ideas.
Discover the valley from the air and soar like an eagle. Take this breathtaking opportunity to fly free as a bird on a tandem flight.
Experience the thrilling white water of the river as it rushes through the valley. You can choose from a range of experiences to suit most age groups.
Canyoning is a fun activity that allows you to discover mountain rivers in a magnificent setting. Jumps in the basins, natural slides, swimming in turquoise bays alternate with walking. Some canyons require abseiling skills. This activity can be enjoyed by anyone in good health and age 8 years and above.
Cycling is one of the most popular outdoor activities in this area with many of the roads boasting their own cycle paths. French motorists are used to lone or peloton riders and treat road cyclists with the utmost respect.
Tour de France
This area has a close affinity with the Tour de France and is often at the center of its gruelling mountain stages. Cycling and especially the Tour de France, is so popular that we have included a whole section on the Mas des Hirondelles website dedicated to “Le Tour”!!