Author

Chris O'Brien

  • France’s Occitanie region is stuffed with visual and architectural delights. But the region highlights a select number of these gems with the label “Grands Sites.” During our winter holiday in Cauterets, we had the chance to explore one of the more majestic ones on that list: Pont d’Espagne. Located at about 1,493 meters up, the Pont d’Espagne was once upon a time a trading route between France and Spain. Located in the Pyrénées National Park in the Hautes Pyrénées Departement, the valley now is a pastoral wonderland in the summer that leads to Lake Gaube. But in the winter, it’s…

    0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail
  • During our visit to Cauterets over vacances, the decision to eat dinner at Le Brasero offered a reminder of a how even such mundane outings can still be an adventure. Even after four years in France, we can open a menu and understand the words without knowing what they actually mean. An onglet de bœuf? What is a “tab” of beef? (Answer: skirt steak). Google Images has often been our savior in such instances, helping us decode the culinary vocabularly, which essentially remains a third language to us. I’m not sure we could afford to eat out often enough to…

    1 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail
  • After a slow start, the snow has hit the Pyréneés with a vengance. And with more than 4 meters of snowfall, Le Cirque du Lys in Cauterets has the most snow of any station in France. Ski season can be short, and temperatures are already projected to start rising in the coming weeks. So best go now, if you can. For a last-minute getaway to Cauterets, here’s a few tips. Snow Skiing You can reach Le Cirque du Lys with a 12-minute gondolan ride from Cauterets. The summit offers a wide panoramic view. And its altitude makes it one of…

    0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail
  • The village of Saint-Rome, with its 40 official habitants, offers one of the more quirky sidebars in the southwest of France thanks to its legacy as a former utopian village. Last weekend, having just recently heard about Saint-Rome for the first time, we decided to visit and hike around to see just how much of its unusual past we could see. The village is about a 30 minute drive southeast from Toulouse, following the highway toward Carcassone. Unlike most historical sites in France, there aren’t a ton of guideposts and signs pointing the way. You just have to trust Google…

    0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail
  • France’s AccorHotels wants to make it easier to hit the slopes this year without sacrificing luxury with a new concept dubbed “Flying Nest.” The first version of this hotel that uses refurbished shipping containers was introduced this season at the Avoriaz ski station in the Alps. The Flying Nest was created in partnership with Paris-based designer Ora-ïtoand Capsa, a Lyon-based startup that converts old shipping containers. Using old shipping containers as frames, the modules are then fitted with eco-friendly wood and a minimalist design. The containers are 130 square feet, have their own bathrooms, living room, and a bed next…

    0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail
  • Toulouse’s Cité de l’Espace has reopened today after its winter maintenance as the space-themed park gears up for a year-long celebration of the first human stepping onto the moon. Back in July 1969, the Apollo 11 touched down and Neil Armstrong stepped onto the lunar surface. Visitors to Cité de l’Espace can relive that moment while experiencing a range of cultural, scientific, and historic events related to the moon. The celebration includes a mural 20 meters by 4 meters that honors the challenge issued by President John F. Kennedy. A larger exhibition called “Moon, episode II”, will open on April 20,…

    0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail
  • Train-Ski packages from SNCF-TER are a great deal There is simply no beating the price of the convenience of buying the SKIRAIL package from SNCF-TER. For less than €50, you can get a round-trip train ticket from Toulouse to Ax-les-Thermes which also includes a ski pass for the day. If you want, you can also reserve ski equipment from a partner for a reasonable price. The trip is about 2 hours on the regional TER train. Ax 3 Domaines It’s easy to take this station for granted becasue it’s probably the most accessible from Toulouse. But Ax 3 Domaines is…

    0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail
  • The snow has returned to the Pyrénées, much to the relief of tourists and the tourist industry alike. And so if you’re looking for quick getaway for the family to play in the white stuff, Val D’Azun is a great place to start. We made the long and windy drive from Toulouse up to the Station Val D’Azun. One passes through the town of Argelès-Gazost in the Hautes-Pyrénées Department before climbing the last few kilometers. But once there, we discovered a sweet, family-oriented station that offers three distinct experiences: Cross-country skiing (or “Nordique”) Snow shoe trails (“Raquettes”) Nordic Park, a…

    0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail
  • Visitors to Paris can soak up the past. But now they can step into the future. Digital entertainment company Ymagis has opened in Paris the first of what it expects to be a network of virtual reality adventure parks. Dubbed Illucity, the facility offers four different immersive experiences.: Hyper Reality Experience, VR Escape Game, VR Arcade and VR Film. HYPER REALITY EXPERIENCEA team game in a 100m2 space that vibrates and has heat sensors. Games include After Humanity and TOYLAND : Crazy Monkey. VR ESCAPE GAMESeveral players work to solve a puzzle as part of unraveling a mysterious plot.Games include Assassin’s…

    0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail
  • Tourism is serious business in France. And so this week, the Tourism Office of the Haute-Garonne Department held their annual press conference to explain their strategy for marketing their corner of France and attracting those economically important tourists. In a Department that stretches from the cosmopolitan city of Toulouse to the upper reaches of the Pyrénées, it’s a varied stretch. But seducing those tourists is critical, particularly for those small, independent businesses that produce local delicacies or run lodging of some sort. To that end, this year’s promotional focus will be: The Secret Haute-Garonne. Yes, people know about the big…

    0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Privacy & Cookies Policy