A joy for action-seekers and wildlife aficionados alike
The area around Le Bégué is pure paradise for walkers and cyclists of all abilities. Other activities available locally include horse riding, white-water rafting, canyoning, paragliding and fishing. For nature lovers, the unspoilt natural environment is bursting with mountain flora and fauna, including marmots, eagles, vultures and chamois.
The Val d’Azun and the surrounding area are excellent for bird watching. Griffon Vultures, Black and Red Kites and Buzzards are often seen . Egyptian Vultures, Golden Eagles, Booted Eagles, Short-Toed Eagles are also regularly sighted . In the autumn, large flocks of Cranes fly over during their migration, along with smaller numbers of White and Black Storks.
Throughout the surrounding countryside, there are numerous marked paths for walkers – including the Tour de Val d’Azun, which is accessible from the grounds of Le Begue. There are fairly gentle circuits suitable for families or more challenging routes such as the GR10, which passes through Estaing (the GR10 runs along the Pyrénées from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean). Locally based guides also offer escorted walks into the mountains.
For two or three days in July each year, the Pyrénées are centre stage for the Tour de France. Climbs such as the Tourmalet (2115m), the Aubisque (1709m) and the mountain-top finishes at Lourdes-Hautacam (1520m) and Luz-Ardiden (1715m) are some of the most challenging climbs in the entire race. If you’re a cycling enthusiast, here’s your chance to take on some of these famous routes and grab the obligatory photos at the summits.
There are also many off road cycling opportunities with plenty of VTT routes . The Val d’Azun has over 450km of marked trails for mountain bike enthusiasts. The lower trails wind through the woods and fields and as you climb through the tree line there are spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. The trails are graded according to technical difficulty and the level of fitness required, so there is something for everybody.
Photo copyright Active Azur
There are two paragliding schools in the nearby village of Aucun. Whitewater rafting and canyoning is available in several locations near Argeles Gazost.
Less challenging activities suitable for families include the Chlorofil rope course at Argeles Gazost with climbing nets, walkways and zip wires, the luge at Hautacam and a zipwire at Col du Soulor.
If surfing is your thing, the nearest beaches are on the Atlantic coast – Biarritz is around 2 hours away.
Photo credits: Rope course at Parc Chlorofil| Luge at Hautacam. Photo: Anthospace (Own work) CC BY-SA 4.0 / Wikimedia Commons