If an arduous journey makes the destination all the more appreciated, then you'll be kissing the 'Bienvenue' sign upon arrival at Pyrénées Emotions. Well, that's if you're arriving by bike at least. High up on the Col des Ares, it's little wonder this snaking, recline tests the world's best cyclists (not to mention a few brave amateurs) during the Tour de France. But the trade-off for all the huffing, puffing, an... ahem... thigh chaffing? Well, just look around you. The lush, herbaceous landscape, dotted with grazing Mérens horses is so spectacularly splendrous. It is also blissfully quiet – hard to believe you're only 30km or so from the vibrant Pyrenean spa town and ski resort of Luchon.
The campsite itself is well-appointed, secluded, and fastidiously-run by dutiful Franco-Dutch couple Laetitia and Stefan van Lanen. Relaxation and tranquility are the order of the day here and a blissed-out bonhomie pervades amongst the 8 privileged pitches. Your hosts are on hand with everything from fresh bread in the morning to the best route to the nearby swimming lake at Saint Pé d'Ardet. All round Action-Man Stefan is your leading authority on hiking, biking and everything in between. He lives and breathes the outdoor lifestyle and is happy to arrange excursions. He's qualified to lead canyoning, rafting, kayaking and climbing groups – something he does on a regular basis and the main reason he moved to the area.
After a day of white-water rafting down the Garonne, tackling the mighty Pic du Gar, or simply flâneuring past the Belle Époque villas of Luchon, campers can rest with their feet up in the campsite's little restaurant, housed in a beautiful mountain lodge that's over 100 years old. The food isn't bad either, with continental breakfasts, light lunches and even three-course meals available. Those in the know, meanwhile, congregate round the communal campfire (marshmallows are compulsory) and contemplate on what experiences tomorrow will bring. As Laetitia and Stefan surmise, their site offers a "harmony of culture, nature, and adventure". We second that emotion.
5 showers, 5 toilets. Electrical hookups available. Laundry and dish-washing facilities. Free wi-fi. Various outdoor activities can be arranged including rafting, kayaking, abseiling, mountain biking, and white-water rafting. There is also a luxurious wooden gîte and B&B. The onsite restaurant is also excellent. Communal campfire.
Campers, caravanners, dogs – yes. Groups also welcome (up to 25 people).
Outdoor enthusiasts will be in heaven here, with hiking and canoeing arranged from the site and run by multi-lingual instructors. Some of Europe's most iconic walks are easily accessible including the Pic du Gar, GR78, and Camino Francés all the way to Galicia's Santiago de Compostella. July 2014 sees the world's most famous cycling race, the Tour de France, wheel right past the campsite, as stage 16 winds up at Bagnères-de-Luchon. This delightful spa town is just 30km from the site and boasts the famous Roman thermal springs and vaporarium (the only one of its kind in Europe). Come wintertime, the Superbagnères ski resort attracts scores to its pristine piste. This Pyrenean hideaway also boasts two stunning waterfalls in the Juzet and Sidonie. The prehistoric Caves of Gargas (0033 562 988 150). The ancient Romanesque city of Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges boasts a breathtaking cathedral. Little wonder then it is officially among 'Les Plus Beaux Villages de France'.
Food & Drink
Look no further than the onsite bar & restaurant. Campers can enjoy light lunches, continental breakfasts (with freshly baked croissants) in either the beautifully cosy restaurant or on the terrace. You can even have a 3-course meal for €19 (kids eat for €9). The bar also boasts a selection of beers and wines. Luchon has no shortage of places to eat. For something extra special, La Baluchon (0033 561 889 128) serves refined, contemporary French cuisine, with 3 courses from €30.
Everyday from July–August. No check-ins on Mondays and Tuesdays for the rest of the year.
The Owner Says
A lovely place for Outdoor & adventure freaks. A quiet but very special camp-site with modern sanitary facilities and a beautiful nowegian log-cabin as groupfacility. Also you will find a treehouse, a sand-pit, a swing and a volleybalfield in the grounds. During summer we dayly organise outdoor sporting activities and the campfire is burning in the evening.Rates:2 adults, car, electricity en large spot: €21,-2 adults, 2 children, car, electricity en large spot: €27,-Many sporting possibilities (if necessary accompanied, Dutch, English, Frence speaking), like mountainbiking, walking, canyoning en mountaineering. Pub-tent rental. One doesn’t have to cook always since there is a restaurant (small menu). You can buy fresh bread at the campsite. The campsite offers free WIFI, which makes using the internet possible.Open from 01/05 to 31/11Area: 0.7 haAltitude: 797 mTouring places: 15 (80-120 m2)We advise you to reserve in advance. On walking distance there is a smal lake in which one can swim and from the camp-site there are many walking and cycling possibilities. We gladly inform you about these possiblities. You can use our touristic maps, ordnance maps and leaflets of walks and ATB-routes.
Take the A64 motorway. Turn off section 17 (Bagneres de Luchon). Come off by FRONSAC and follow signs for Col des Ares. You'll find the campsite at the top.
The nearest railway station is Montrejeau-Gourdan Polignan. From here it is a 25 minute drive by car. Laetitia and Stefan can pick up for a small fee.
ReviewsAdd Your Review
Rated ★★★★★ over 3 reviews
Beautiful campsite run by lovely people
A hidden gem
One of the Best
Hi - we stayed here for 5 nights earlier this month and had a fantastic time. The site is really well kept with great washroom facilities and a very impressive log cabin for dining etc. Our 3 children loved the tree house and play area and we enjoyed some great walks from the site. The location is beautiful and the site is very tranquil - enjoying a hot chocolate on the terrace in the morning sun is a happy memory!
Stefan is a great host - very friendly and happy to help with any queries or provide recommendations for days out and activities in the area. He also offers a range of outdoor sports (canyonning etc), albeit we didn't get a chance to try any of those on this visit.
We'll definitely be back though as this is the best campsite we have stayed at for some time.
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