My best friend and I were in south France for ten days, and had the opportunity to do some hiking while we were there. We hiked approximately 15km from Pont d’Espagne near the town of Cauterets to a French mountain hut called Refuge Wallon. I was amazed by how different the landscape was compared to the Canadian Rockies – many of the mountains are green nearly all the way up, and the valleys are essentially all lush fields with small patches of wildflowers all over. Generally it just naturally “felt” European.
The trails are well-maintained and as are the mountain huts – although sadly we arrived one day too early to enjoy a beer in the middle of the mountains, 5km from the Spanish border!
A section of the trail we took is part of the GR10 (Grande Randonnée 10) route that goes from the Atlantic Pyrénées all the way to the Mediterranean. Based on the absolutely stunning landscape, that route is now 100% on my bucket list. That or maybe the GR11 which is the GR10’s parallel route on the Spanish side of the Pyrénées. Below is the symbol that marks the GR paths – it was all over!
If you plan on spending any time in France, I cannot recommend hiking in the Pyrénées enough! I’ve never been to the alps, but I’ve heard they’re much like the Rockies, whereas this mountain range is an entirely different beast!
Also I must highly recommend my uncle’s B&B that we stayed at while we were there. Check them out: http://www.chezpasset.com