- At a glance
- Locality & Walks
- Accommodation & Meals
- Travel options
Your Holiday at a Glance
|Independent Walking Holiday||
|Dates for 2020||
|Accommodation and Meals||
|What's not included||
Locality & Walks
This self-guided walking holiday is the fifth part of a wonderful & dramatic 415km crossing of the Pyrenees Mountain chain between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean along the GR10 long distance trail. You'll amble through stunning scenery that varies enormously, with flower-filled meadows, sparkling lakes, cirques and high summits. You’ll get a taste of many different cultures, from the Basque country by the Atlantic to Catalonia by the Mediterranean. Each valley you pass through has its own distinct flavour.
This section of the GR10 long distance trail goes from Luchon to Aulus les Bains, following ancient passages that were used as a means of communication between the deep valleys. Here, the itinerary follows rural and forestry trails around the Piedmont villages of Artigue and Melles-en-Comminges and the hamlets of Eylie, Bouche, Aunac and Bidous before rejoining another thermal station, Aulus-les-bains. The walk between Comminges and Couserans will take you through some remarkable flora: Gispet (widespread grass that gets slippery when wet and thrives on high altitude terrain), rhododendron flowers, blueberries and majestic beach trees that share the forest with fir trees. In Couserans you discover more traces of the past when the trail takes you to various ‘jasses’, (an area where the shepherds would gather their sheep near to the river), old shepherd’s cabins and cairns.
6 days independent walking moving everyday between accommodation. It is graded challenging, although there is the odd more strenuous day. Average days include 6 hours hours walking and 950m of ascent & descent. The hardest day, however, includes 1285m of ascent. Details are provided with the descriptions below. Paths are generally good and well defined, although they are often rocky and mountainous in character. You should have a good head for heights and be able to navigate.
Walking Holiday Day-by-day
Day 1: Arrival in Luchon
Arrive at your accommodation in Luchon. Options to visit Luchon or go hiking:
The village of Cazarilh and Luchon valley
Ascent of the pic de Cecire
Day 2: Artigue - Fos
Short transfer to Artigue (possible to include walk from Luchon to Artigue in the holiday by adding a night in Artigue). From Artigue village, you cross a high col called the col de la Peyrahitta at an altitude of 1947m. Just after the pass, if you are feeling up to it, you have the chance to climb the Pic de Bacanere, 2193m, this is a good variant and links up with the lake of Dessus. After having crossed Cigaleres ridge (2093m) you pass one cabin after another before arriving at the village of Fos at an altitude of 544m. 20km, 7hrs 30m, +1050m, -1720m.
Day 3: Labach de Melles - Araing lake
Short transfer to Labach de Melles (possible to avoid this, contact us for details). At Labach de Melles, at an altitude of 980m, the GR10 approaches the first foothills of the Ariege mountains. From the Col d’Aueran the GR10 heads to the Etang d’Araing, where you can enjoy the large, open, wild spaces and airy views that are famed in this county. In good weather, it is possible to climb the Crabere (2629m). Superb panoramic view at the top, especially of the Maladeta massif. 9km, 4hrs 30m, +1285m, -315m or 12.5km, 6hrs 45m, +1660m, -690m (Crabere variant).
Day 4: Araing lake - Eylie
This section links Etang d'Araing to Eylie d'en Haut. It crosses the first part of Ariege by passing through a series of small mountain villages, the architecture and ambience are not to be missed. As this stage is very short, it is possible to climb the Pic de l'Har (2424m), a remarkable viewpoint on the high peaks of the Couserans and the Pyrenean foothills. 8km, 4hrs 15m, +430m, -1375m or 10km, 5hrs 30m, +580m, -1525m (Pic de l’Har variant).
Day 5: Eylie - Bonac Irazein
Wonderful walk in the heart of Couserans, in Ariege, through old villages with splendid views. Couserans is a traditional and unspoilt pyrenean area. 15km, 5hrs 40m, +890m, -1190m.
Day 6: Bouche - Aunac
Short transfer to Bouche (can be avoided, contact us for details). During the day’s walking you will alternate between the high mountains and the foothills of the Couserans region. You will enjoy a real kaleidoscope of colour and the superb landscapes of the Pyrenees Ariegeoises. You'll discover the Etang de Bethmale which is situated in an oasis of lush greenery, from the Port de la Core at an altitude of 1395m you have great panoramic views in the direction of the Mont Valier Nature Reserve, without forgetting the mountain hamlets where time appears to have stood still. 20.5km, 6hrs 30m, +900m, -840m.
Day 7 : St Lizier d’Ustou - Aulus les bains
Short transfer to St Lizier d’Ustou. (It is possible to include the walk Aunac to St Lizier d'Ustou in the tour by adding a night in St Lizier d'Ustou, contact us.) Last walking day on part 5, beginning from Saint Lizier d'Ustou, leading you to the thermal town of Aulus les Bains. 14 km, 6hrs, +995m, -990m.
Day 8: Departure
Transfer to St Girons bus station after breakfast.
Accommodation & Meals
Half board accommodation (except day 7 bed and breakfast only): 2 nights in room in hotel** on days 1 and 2; 1 night in room in family hotel day 7; 1 night in room in gite on day 5; 2 nights in shared dormitory in gites on days 4 and 6 (bring a sack sheet (blankets provided)) and 1 night in shared dormitory in mountain refuge on day 3 (bring a sack sheet (blankets provided)). Breakfasts are continental breakfasts (tea, coffee, milk, butter, jam) and evening meals in gites are often based on local specialities, including 3 courses (restaurants available in Aulus les Bains for day 7.) Picnics and drinks are not included.
How to get to Luchon :
By air :
Airports : Lourdes-Tarbes (110km); Toulouse-Blagnac (140km); train connections to Toulouse-Matabiau by shuttle every 20 mins.
By train :
TER trains from Toulouse Matabiau station to Montrejeau; Toulouse-Montrejeau line, or Toulouse-Irun line, stops in Montrejeau; then Montrejeau-Luchon by bus, departures in front of Montrejeau station. (40 mins journey time between Toulouse and Montrejeau and around 1hr between Montrejeau and Luchon, 4 to 5 departures on Sunday)
Contact SNCF (www.ter-sncf.com) to confirm the timetable.
By car :
From Paris 825km, via Limoges, Toulouse, Saint-Gaudens.
From Lyon 663km, via Narbonne, Toulouse, Saint-Gaudens.
From Marseille 520km.
From Bordeaux 314km, via Agen, Auch.
From Toulouse 140km, via Montrejeau.
Parking in Luchon: Free: Behind the post office, from the phone box, in front of the train station, Luchon exit.
Depart from Aulus les Bains:
30 mins transfer by local taxi, from Aulus-les-bains to Saint-Girons bus station included in holiday.
Departures from Saint-Girons bus station by bus, at 5.40pm to Boussens.
From Boussens, trains to Toulouse, Pau, Bordeaux, Paris (connections).
Depart from St Girons to Luchon (if arrived by car):
Departures from Saint-Girons bus station by bus, to Boussens.
From Boussens take a train to Montrejeau and a bus to Luchon.
We recommend arriving by train to avoid returns to Luchon to recover your car, because the return journey is long by public transport and very expensive if you take a taxi. If you have to come by car, we recommend that you leave your car in Aulus les Bains on the first day and return by public transport because you will not be tired by a week's walking.
Informations SNCF: https://uk.voyages-sncf.com/en
Please visit our travel shop for links to useful sites for reserving airport parking or booking train tickets
Note: Please check concerning the availability of a holiday before booking any flights. If you need further information or would like to discuss any aspect of your travel arrangements, please contact us, we’re here to help you.