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Pyrenees to the Atlantic

Pyrenees - green mountains, white villages
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If you are flying via Bordeaux, capital of the wine trade, add on a city break for a real contrast to your walking holiday.
 
This Holiday in a nutshell
  • self-guided hotel-to-hotel walking, luggage transported
  • rugged green mountains, pretty villages
  • distinctive culture and cuisine
  • real sense of journey

These green mountains, the last rugged peaks of the Pyrenean chain before it disappears into the waves of the Gulf of Gascony, are a joy to discover. They provide an impressive backdrop to one of Europe’s most traditional, and most beautiful, regions, where peaceful villages nestle in verdant, rich valleys. This splendid walk takes you from the heart of the Atlantic Pyrenees along fine footpaths close to the border to your final destination on the Spanish coast. You will discover the unique landscape and rich culture of the region, passing through picturesque whitewashed villages where the Basque language, the oldest in Europe, is commonly spoken and traditions still hold firm, and where the national game, 'pelote', a blend of squash and tennis, is played. The local cuisine, too, is distinctive – try 'poulet à la basquaise', chicken in a spicy sauce of tomatoes and peppers. Other specialities include creamy Brebis mountain cheese, made from ewe's milk, served in the traditional manner with a black cherry conserve.
You pass under the Pic du Mondarrain and, as you descend, enjoy good views of the whitewashed villages on the plain below, with the Atlantic beyond.
     
This is one of our more challenging French walks, with some fine ascents and descents each day which are rewarded with magnificent views and, if you are lucky, sightings of birds of prey. This part of the Pyrenees is an important migration route for millions of raptors and other birds as they fly north in spring for the northern summer and south in autumn for the winter. The autumn migrations start in mid-August, beginning with black kites and honey buzzards, followed by black storks, ospreys, hobbys and marsh harriers in September, then red kites, buzzards and sparrow hawks in October.

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France
 Average Temperatures & Rainfall
  J F M A M J J A S O N D
°C 12 13 14 16 19 22 24 24 23 20 15 12
mm 135 115 113 126 114 85 62 97 115 128 162 142

The average maximum daytime temperatures and monthly rainfall relate to the nearest weather station and are intended as a guide only.

This holiday takes you to altitudes of over 1,000 metres, where temperatures will be cooler than those stated above, which relate to the coast.