Snowshoeing vacation in the French Pyrenees

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2017: 7 Jan, 14 Jan, 21 Jan, 28 Jan, 4 Feb, 11 Feb, 18 Feb, 25 Feb, 4 Mar
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Vacation type
Small group vacations
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, traveling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week vacation, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travelers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
Make the most of your vacation time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travelers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your vacation.

Solo travelers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those traveling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travelers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
Mythbuster
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travelers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travelers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
No.
Meet a group leader
As well as taking care of all the day-to-day practicalities, your group leader is the one who will turn your trip into an adventure. Leaders are extraordinary characters – the kind of person who has spent 14 Christmas days on the slopes of Mount Everest, runs marathons wearing tiger suits to raise funds for their conservation and thinks nothing of leading an overland trip in Sudan or Afghanistan. Fearless and inspiring, group leaders are as important as the destination itself.

Meet a local guide
No matter how experienced your group leader, they can never make up for the knowledge gained from a lifetime in the destination. That’s why many of our trips work with local guides around the world – who invite you into their homeland with pleasure. As well as doing crazy things like climbing Kilimanjaro 100 times, they also donate their time to local projects supported by travelers – such as rebuilding Sri Lankan villages following the 2004 tsunami.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Snowshoeing vacation in the French Pyrenees

Environment

Snowshoeing is the perfect antidote to the commercial tourism of downhill skiing. You may need to use a bit more leg power for the uphills, but on a snowshoeing trip there is no need for ugly ski lifts or bull-dozed tracks, noisy queues and crowded cafes. We like to keep our groups small (max. 8 guests) to reduce our impact on the environment, avoid the coach party sensation of package vacations and maximise our chance of seeing the elusive wildlife. Discover the totally unspoilt wilderness of the Winter mountains, leaving literally no trace behind you other than your tracks in the snow, and perhaps a few baguette crumbs for the birds!

Our 3* accommodation is at our traditional 18th century village house, which have been lovingly restored to include plenty of insulation, a modern heating system, water-saving toilet flushes and low-energy light bulbs, plus we recycle over half of our rubbish.

We encourage our guests to reduce their carbon footprint by traveling to the Pyrenees by train. It is straightforward to get to Bareges on public transport, and during your stay we provide group mini-bus transfers, or use the local ski bus, so there is no need for a car.

Community

We are a family-run company, based in a small, mountain village, where we are year-round residents. We support the local economy, using the village shops and services, and encouraging our guests to eat and drink at the local restaurants. Our French-style cuisine includes specialities of the region, all produced in the area (our own valley where possible): Bareges-Gavarnie lamb, dry-cured saucisson and country ham from our neighbour – the butcher, Tourmalet honey, hand-made brebis (sheep) cheeses, duck and wines from the SW of France.

We feel very much part of the community, and are proud to have been welcomed by the local people, whom we support whole-heartedly. Their customs have become our own, and during your stay, you will discover the history, language, culture and traditions of the valley, as well as learning about the mountain geology, geography, flora and fauna of this delicate environment.

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