Friday, April 18, 2014

P - Pyrenees



My husband spent nine years of his youth climbing in the Pyrénées, a Mountain range that creates the border between France and Spain. I love these mountains, and not just because my husband does. There is just SO much to do and see! We’ve enjoyed “Canyoning” a mix of climbing and swimming, discovering restaurants, and the “devil’s bridge”, and an old fort called the “Donjon des Aigles,” (Fort of the Eagles) renovated to house and show birds of prey. Small sheep/goat/cattle farms like those at Sost, make and sell their own cheeses. Andorra is another country set right between France and Spain, where gas (and almost everything) is cheaper than in the bigger neighbors because it has ski resorts and no sales tax! The Pyrénées on the Spanish side are much drier and surprise you into thinking them a different mountain range all together. On the French side the countryside changes continuously from one region to the next, speckled with ancient forts and castles like Foix. Here you’ll find Lourdes, where the waters and grotto draw pilgrims all year long, not to mention the spa town of Luchon and the distinctive horses of Merens-Les-Vals. The Atlantic end has the BasqueCountry with its distinctive architecture, history, and colors. The Mediterranean end sports towns like Collioure, a perfect example of life in the sun with a touch of history. Not to mention beaches stretching out like half-clothed women in the sun. Trekking, climbing, enjoying the views is always in demand and one such place is where the Pyrénées’ rugged spine is broken and called the “Brèche de Roland.” Legend has it that Roland broke through with his sword and marched on to a glorious win against the Saracens in Spain.

The Pyrénées have just about anything you could wish to see… Okay, stopping now!

Canyoning in the Pyrennes

The water is cold but the rock formations magnificent.


Le Pont du Diable, The Devil's Bridge near Foix





Le Donjon des Aigles near Tarbe.

A mad dash for the hills in Sost!

Yep, that's a cow going by right outside the car window. We had to stop to let the herd pass.


The farm at Sost, owned by the famille Sost for nine hundred years! New buildings here of course...
Andorra...
A village on the Spanish side...
The gorge for canyoning on the Spanish side
Luchon

Merens-les-Vals

The distinctive Merens horses.
Lourdes
St. Jean de Luz, the Basque Country
Collioure at night

Collioure's colors...
Hiking in the Pyrenees, Elizabeth Barwick during her first trip to France.

Mountain islands among the clouds at sunset...

Do you see the sheep dotting the mountainside?
Le Breche de Roland, Roland's Break, very clear to see here...

14 comments:

  1. Wow, such diversity! All in one range. Thanks, I'd never even heard of the Pyrenees before.

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  2. I had to stop searching for things to post on this one. There were just too many things to write about or that I wanted to show!

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  3. Hi Lisa,

    Bonjour n' stuff! :) I love the Pyrenees. Your photos and words entice. I don't blame you for showing off such an adventure. Heck and the occasional herd of cows is something I um, steer clear of. I was in Carcassonne and I missed the chance to go to Andorra for a day trip. Such a pity.

    Thanks for this, Lisa.

    Gary :)

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  4. wo Lisa! thats a lot of photos and truly fascinating experience. thanks for sharing. cheers!

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  5. We have half a plan to visit the Pyrénées this summer. It's only seven or eight hours in the camper, and we haven't been to Spain for a while. Very nicely illustrated piece.

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  6. What beautiful Pictures. I want to go! I didn't know anything about this area. Thanks for sharing.

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  7. What a gorgeous and fascinating place. Stunning photos!!
    Play off the Page

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  8. There are a couple of pictures I have seen from the Pyrenees that I've based my world upon in my fantasy book I'm writing. I would so love to go there. It's on my Bucket List!

    Beautiful pictures. Thanks for sharing!

    Jamie Dement (LadyJai)
    My A to Z
    Caring for My Veteran

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  9. I am in awe. I am thinking it would take a long time to be able to visit all of these beautiful areas and oh how I would love too. Luchon looks amazing, like a dream. Beautiful old buildings and water, wow.
    Beautiful pictures and such a good post!

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  10. I want to go! I have not made it to southern France. I will go someday!

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  11. amazing. How wonderfully fortunate you are to be able to explore such a beautiful place and to love it, which shines through in your post.



    http://ceciliaaclark.blogspot.com.au

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  12. Loved the pictures. I have never visited France and your pics renewed my interest to visit sometime. I am here thanks to the A to Z Challenge.

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  13. Hi Lisa .. I went when I was 15 - into a fairly hairy scary English family - large with friends etc .. somewhat out of my depth .. but I remember it being very beautiful ... the village where their farmhouse is is called Helette ... and we went to Biarritz and over the Pyrenees to Pamplona and then San Sebastian on another occasion .. I played palota .. but wasn't much good at hiking ... though we all did ...

    Beautiful photos and stories you've shown us .. and you are further south here .. cheers Hilary

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  14. Absolutely stunning photos, thanks for sharing Lisa, didn't really know anything about them previously.

    Mars, visiting from the A to Z challenge
    Curling Stones for Lego People

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