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View Full Version : Places to visit in the Pyrenees



carolinemoon
22-04-2013, 13:35
Sorry folks, it's me again. I know I've already asked about Biscarrosse in France.

The thing is, we are heading to Biscarrosse at the end of June and that's all we know! This is only the second time we have taken the van abroad...last time we knew our destination in Portugal and had booked campsites in France and Spain on the way down so everything was pretty much planned out.

Although we love the idea of just knowing we are heading to South West France, now it's getting nearer I'm feeling a bit nervous that we don't have a plan as such...I hear a lot of you saying, that's the joy of it, and my heart says that but my head has this niggling part telling me to make more plans. So.....

Rather than just sticking to the coast, we thought we'd visit the Pyrenees (not any bits with snow!), we have our aires book (although not really confident on how to use it) but I don't want us just to be driving round and round in circles trying to find a nice town/village etc to stay and also find somewhere to park up overnight etc.

I wondering if anyone out there could suggest some lovely places to visit? We have two weeks but would like to stay put for a few days at each stop so we are not constantly driving.

Sorry if this all sounds in a muddle, but I think we are so I'm hoping some of you experienced wild campers travelling in France can help.

Thank you so much in advance :anyone:

POI Admin
22-04-2013, 14:26
Starting with the May release, the POI Downloads are being extended to cover France ...

See this thread:

http://www.wildcamping.co.uk/forums/wildcamping-maps-poi-files/28254-pois-france.html

Hopefully this will be of help.

channa
22-04-2013, 14:51
Starting with the May release, the POI Downloads are being extended to cover France ...

See this thread:

http://www.wildcamping.co.uk/forums/wildcamping-maps-poi-files/28254-pois-france.html

Hopefully this will be of help.Artouste........errm artouste and artouste fantastic wilding and stunning location.

St pierre st martin a ski resort well worth a visit too fantastic walks

Free unofficial aire with the lot including free electricity

Channa

Ps can I come unofficial guide ( I wish)

barryd
22-04-2013, 14:58
We spent three weeks or so running the length of the Pyrenees on the French side from Perpignon to Biarritz (Med to Atlantic). Its all here in our blog https://sites.google.com/site/hanktestsite2/blog/france-and-a-bit-of-spain-2010

I Would say the highlights for us were Cauterets, Gavarnie and Lourdes which are all very close to each other in the National Park. The Cirque de Gavarnie is just breath taking and the view from the Aire (see blog) is one of the best I have ever seen.

I wish we had done the cable car on the Pic de Midi but never got round to it but I gather its amazing.

Tony Lee
22-04-2013, 15:47
Lots of places in the Pyrenees
Loudenvielle
12988


12989

Gavarnie Aire

12990

Aruns

12992

Heaps of places, each one better that the one before.

https://picasaweb.google.com/114611728110254134379/EuropeFRANCE2011

torwood
22-04-2013, 16:36
On the Perpignan side visit Colliure, then up past Prades to Villefranche de Conflent, take a day out on the Train Jaun from there to Mont Louis, explore the fort then go back down on the train, fantastic mountain railway and that section is the best part of it.

While at Villefranche visit the Grande Canallette caves, amount the best I have been in. Once into the Cerdagne, a great area for walking visit the Bain de Llo and try the hot thermal spa, it is excellent and you can overnight in the parking area nearby.

Nip into Spain and go into Andorra - give the main city a miss - but head up to Pas de la Casa, the views are fantastic. Watch what you buy as the customs both on the Spannish and French sides are checking carefully what you buy as Andorra is a tax haven - fill up with fuel though, we were getting diesel at 1.17 euro a litre in March.

After that head towards Ax le Therme and perhaps visit the prehistoric park and the caves at Niaux which have some very famous cave drawings.

Robert

Byronic
22-04-2013, 17:12
Ax les Thermes, that should also be in the thread on where to shower! Just the place to end up after a long drive. So long since I've been there, the water has probably gone cold now.

muttfunk
22-04-2013, 19:07
A note on Biscarosse,stayed there for a few days last June,they seem to have all the local parking places barred from overnighting so unless you stay out of town its a 19euro a night stay in the woodland parking area (very nice though & close to the beach)
Can recommend Caucans where there are a couple of aires & parking restrictions a bit looser,just outside theres a recreation/holiday facility called Bombannes,we stayed in September when the place was deserted and parked by the lake for about 3 days (aire on the road in)
If you are looking for somewhere on the road to Montpelier theres a massive lake called Salagou,aire & overnight parking on the roads surrounding,absolutely stunning place
Don't worry about finding places cause with an aires book & poi's you are never stuck for somewhere to stay,may even meet you on the road if we head over in June

carolinemoon
29-04-2013, 17:27
A note on Biscarosse,stayed there for a few days last June,they seem to have all the local parking places barred from overnighting so unless you stay out of town its a 19euro a night stay in the woodland parking area (very nice though & close to the beach)
Can recommend Caucans where there are a couple of aires & parking restrictions a bit looser,just outside theres a recreation/holiday facility called Bombannes,we stayed in September when the place was deserted and parked by the lake for about 3 days (aire on the road in)
If you are looking for somewhere on the road to Montpelier theres a massive lake called Salagou,aire & overnight parking on the roads surrounding,absolutely stunning place
Don't worry about finding places cause with an aires book & poi's you are never stuck for somewhere to stay,may even meet you on the road if we head over in June


Hi - I'm looking for Caucans in my aires book but can't find it - would you be kind enough to give a little more info - thank you

POI Admin
29-04-2013, 18:16
Hi - I'm looking for Caucans in my aires book but can't find it - would you be kind enough to give a little more info - thank you

It's a typo - the aire is at Carcans ...

Find it here:

45.08476,-1.1479 - Google Maps (http://tinyurl.com/buykv6c)

This and many others will be in the May release of the POIs :)

carolinemoon
29-04-2013, 18:34
It's a typo - the aire is at Carcans ...

Find it here:

45.08476,-1.1479 - Google Maps (http://tinyurl.com/buykv6c)

This and many others will be in the May release of the POIs :)

Found it now...thank you :banana:

carolinemoon
29-04-2013, 18:45
Found it now...thank you :banana:

ok...now I'm gonna make you all groan as to how stupid I am..... I apologise!

I'm looking in my aires book, how do I find the locations on google earth, like the one sent above?

The book doesn't give those co-ordinates, I've tried putting in what it says...N44 19.714' W001 09.057' - but nothing????

POI Admin
29-04-2013, 19:16
ok...now I'm gonna make you all groan as to how stupid I am..... I apologise!

I'm looking in my aires book, how do I find the locations on google earth, like the one sent above?

The book doesn't give those co-ordinates, I've tried putting in what it says...N44 19.714' W001 09.057' - but nothing????

Those coordinates are wrong - your book is wrong!

carolinemoon
29-04-2013, 19:39
13359 This is the info the Aires book show

POI Admin
29-04-2013, 19:50
Sorry - misunderstood. I thought you were providing the coordinates for the aire at Carcans ...

The ones you give are for Gastes, and work for me just by typing them into Google Maps ...

Incidentally, you can just type N44 19.714 W1 9.057 into Google Maps and it will work.

carolinemoon
29-04-2013, 20:00
Sorry - misunderstood. I thought you were providing the coordinates for the aire at Carcans ...

The ones you give are for Gastes, and work for me just by typing them into Google Maps ...

Incidentally, you can just type N44 19.714 W1 9.057 into Google Maps and it will work.

Thank you...and sorry for being a pain but I'm determined to get this sussed! :p

barryd
29-04-2013, 20:10
Looks like the Aire at Gastes

N44 19.714 W1 9.057 - Google Maps (http://goo.gl/maps/tSf80)

We were there last November. Cracking Aire. I bet its popular in summer though. There were a fair few vans on in November. Loads of space though.

carolinemoon
14-05-2013, 19:13
I've ordered a road map today of the pyrenees so hopefully this will help us get about a little more...

any other suggestions of places to visit would be most appreciated - thanks

Elliejane
14-05-2013, 19:46
Over the col de Tourmalet via Luz St Saveur (it's perfectly doable, honest, and in June should be clear of snow, as will the road to Gavernie be), down to Mongie and take the cable car to Pic de Midi - on a clear day the views are outstanding, to the Cirque de Gavernie, Cirque de Tromouse and Mont Perdu, highest peak in the Pyrennees.

Bruce H
15-05-2013, 06:13
Massat and Aulus les bains are both stunning, stop off at etang du lers on the way from Tarasconne.

carolinemoon
15-05-2013, 08:15
Elliejane & Bruce H...

thanks for these suggestions, will have to find them on my new map when it arrives :dance:

Not long now..just over 6 weeks!

carolinemoon
17-05-2013, 08:45
:cheers::fun:Six weeks today we will be in France:dance: Don't know where in France, but we'll be somewhere and hopefully the weather will be warmer than it is now in the UK and best of all, we'll be on our holidays!!:camper:

carolinemoon
17-05-2013, 13:16
On the Perpignan side visit Colliure, then up past Prades to Villefranche de Conflent, take a day out on the Train Jaun from there to Mont Louis, explore the fort then go back down on the train, fantastic mountain railway and that section is the best part of it.

While at Villefranche visit the Grande Canallette caves, amount the best I have been in. Once into the Cerdagne, a great area for walking visit the Bain de Llo and try the hot thermal spa, it is excellent and you can overnight in the parking area nearby.

Nip into Spain and go into Andorra - give the main city a miss - but head up to Pas de la Casa, the views are fantastic. Watch what you buy as the customs both on the Spannish and French sides are checking carefully what you buy as Andorra is a tax haven - fill up with fuel though, we were getting diesel at 1.17 euro a litre in March.

After that head towards Ax le Therme and perhaps visit the prehistoric park and the caves at Niaux which have some very famous cave drawings.

Robert

Hi Robert

Would you have any other info on Andorra - we've never heard of it (don't get out much!) but somebody my husband works with has also recommended it.

ian81
18-05-2013, 09:11
The following are some overnight spots that we used last October -the last one is in Andorra near an excellent pub / restaurant with great steaks.

St Lizier, 09 43.49114 2.37765
Galey, 09 42.93455 0.91276
Loudenveille, 65 42.79545 0.40857
nr Lac de Payolle 42.93834 0.29193
Eaux Bonnes, 64 42.97309 -0.39372
Panticosa 42.72207 -0.28139
Biescas 42.627133 -0.32197
Anazigno Station 42.40328 -0.64289
Alquezar 42.17202 0.02249
Ainsa 42.41811 0.13509
N260 picnic area 42.30064 1.03444
Arinsal 42.57198 1.48383

We have enjoyed many days wilding in the Pyrenees: the only caution I would add is that in June / July / August some parts especially on the French side get busy.

POI Admin
18-05-2013, 11:37
The following are some overnight spots that we used last October -the last one is in Andorra near an excellent pub / restaurant with great steaks.

St Lizier, 09 43.49114 2.37765
Galey, 09 42.93455 0.91276
Loudenveille, 65 42.79545 0.40857
nr Lac de Payolle 42.93834 0.29193
Eaux Bonnes, 64 42.97309 -0.39372
Panticosa 42.72207 -0.28139
Biescas 42.627133 -0.32197
Anazigno Station 42.40328 -0.64289
Alquezar 42.17202 0.02249
Ainsa 42.41811 0.13509
N260 picnic area 42.30064 1.03444
Arinsal 42.57198 1.48383

We have enjoyed many days wilding in the Pyrenees: the only caution I would add is that in June / July / August some parts especially on the French side get busy.

Thanks for these - please could you check the latitude/longitude for St Lizier which seem incorrect?

ian81
18-05-2013, 12:59
..take 1 degree off longitude!!!
...note they are not all in France.
....maybe add wild spots in Spain as well!!!!

......if glutton for punishment rest of Europe?????

POI Admin
18-05-2013, 15:24
43.49114 1.37765?

Sorry - still not right ...

ian81
18-05-2013, 18:16
..try 43.00053

Stis
18-05-2013, 18:46
Hi Robert

Would you have any other info on Andorra - we've never heard of it (don't get out much!) but somebody my husband works with has also recommended it.

Andorra is not that campervan friendly - they want all campers to park at the campsites (expensive). However, you can overnight at Pas De La Casa car park (not the prettiest place on earth but nice views).
You can overnight in the Ordino car park, or you can drive up to Arcalis ski resort and do one night there. We also did one night at the top of Col d'Ordino. You can do a night at "Commercial River" at St. Julia if you spend some money there (go in and ask and they will tell you where to park - the don't advertise this facility *wink*).
If you want to shop in Andorra La Vella, they have designated parking in the big Park Central car park (cheapest shop in town is "Hyper Andorra")

Stis

Byronic
18-05-2013, 19:09
Hi Robert

Would you have any other info on Andorra - we've never heard of it (don't get out much!) but somebody my husband works with has also recommended it.

Doesn't take much guessing to see your looking forward to your hols! Wish I was young and that enthusiastic once again.
If going to Andorra don't get tempted to take too many duty free ciggies out, the French Douane carry out frequent random stop and searches especially as you head north.

POI Admin
18-05-2013, 22:43
..try 43.00053

In the middle of a forest now :scared:

ian81
19-05-2013, 13:18
???? it is a car park with lots of trees!!! bounded by Vignes de l'eveche

POI Admin
19-05-2013, 14:02
Here?

43.00053, 1.37765 - Google Maps (http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=43.00053,+1.37765&aq=&sll=42.522293,2.221271&sspn=0.002388,0.005584&vpsrc=6&t=h&ie=UTF8&ll=43.000755,1.37754&spn=0.018832,0.028324&z=15)

POI Admin
19-05-2013, 15:10
Finally cracked it:

Car park at St Lizier: D103, Saint-Lizier, France - Google Maps (http://tinyurl.com/az5c2c4)

ian81
19-05-2013, 15:21
...no here 43.00074N 1.13737E

mark61
19-05-2013, 15:53
Same place :)

carolinemoon
20-05-2013, 08:32
Doesn't take much guessing to see your looking forward to your hols! Wish I was young and that enthusiastic once again.
If going to Andorra don't get tempted to take too many duty free ciggies out, the French Douane carry out frequent random stop and searches especially as you head north.

Yes I'm like a kid...I live for my holidays!:banana::banana::banana:

Neither of us smoke so ciggies wouldn't be something that we'd buy but thanks for the info :wacko:

Byronic
20-05-2013, 09:35
You'd not not be surprised to know that plenty of trippers bring back fags from Andorra and Gib. to sell on,
200 cigs (known as a sleeve) can be bought for about 20 in Gib, and retail in UK for over 60? They're not necessarily smokers themselves of course.
Andorra and Gib are not considered as being in the EU regime for import/export tax purposes, hence the French Douane interest, and why innocents like myself resent (illogically I concede) getting stopped and sometimes searched as many as 4 times in a single South to North passage through France.

XaviZixxeR
21-05-2013, 14:13
Andorra is not that campervan friendly - they want all campers to park at the campsites (expensive). However, you can overnight at Pas De La Casa car park (not the prettiest place on earth but nice views).
You can overnight in the Ordino car park, or you can drive up to Arcalis ski resort and do one night there. We also did one night at the top of Col d'Ordino. You can do a night at "Commercial River" at St. Julia if you spend some money there (go in and ask and they will tell you where to park - the don't advertise this facility *wink*).
If you want to shop in Andorra La Vella, they have designated parking in the big Park Central car park (cheapest shop in town is "Hyper Andorra")

Hi
Sorry to disagree about River, but the M/H (autocaravana in Catalan, Andorra's official language) facilities are even in their web. Mapa | AC River (http://www.river.ad/acinfo2.html)
You have to park in the back. If you are coming from the North, you just pass the petrol station, and right there, you turn right into a steep (but manageable) descent to the back of the building, it corresponds to the -4 floor of the indoor parking space.

There are free facilities for emptying and filling waters, ample free parking space, and access to the department stores, toilettes, free wi-fi, cafeteria, via the indoor parking (during opening hours). The prices are good as well, usually among the best in Andorra.

You can go upstairs and take the bus (next to the main door) to Andorra la Vella and Les Escaldes, where most of the shops are. It takes 30 min and about 1 pound to get there, even with heavy traffic. Beats moving the van, IMHO.

BTW, prices (I'm talking mainly about electronics, here) in Andorra can vary a lot, for the same product, among different shops. Different products can be cheapest at different shops. So you have to ask for prices for as long as you wish, then go back to the cheapest shop for that product. A 20% plus variance between one shop and the rest, is quite common there.

Customs policemen are most worried about tobacco and alcohol, so check the maximum quantity you can take to France or Catalonia (check for Spain as we are not yet independant ;) )


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