With busy work schedules and kids’ activities, we had a hard time this year planning a weekend escape to the Pyrénées. Which was especially a bummer because the region was getting more snow than it had in several years.
But we finally managed to pull it off, and decided to head to one our favorite regions, the valley that leads to Loudenvielle. We stayed near Loudenvielle for our first trip up here in 2014. So this time we decided to make camp in a different town situated just to the west: Aulon.
From the highway, the drive took us up through a lovely little village called Arreau. It’s one of the larger towns in the region, and a good place to stop and get yourself oriented. We paused there for lunch, and walked around the town and along the little river that divides it before hitting the tourist office.
From there, it was only about 45 minutes to our destination of Aulon, a small village set along the hillside. To our amusement, we realized that we had actually been here before back when we were first visiting the area in 2014. No matter. We had just passed through last time.
This time, we booked rooms at the Chalet du Pic Noir, a gite in the center of town. Because we booked last minute, the four us shared a room, a “chambre familiale,” much to the consternation of the kids. Still, it all worked out for the best. Overall, there are 10 rooms that can hold up to 34 people. The gite is under new management, and the new owners were wonderful hosts, hanging out and singing songs, serving apero, and creating a nice atmosphere. During the three nights we stayed, we opted for breakfast and dinner, which included tartiflette and lasagne. It was all delicious and always a relief not to have to hunt around for a restaurant or cook ourselves.
The prices were also quite reasonable at €25 per person each night, or a total of €300. Each dinner was €12 per person, and breakfast cost €6.50.
If there was one disappointment, it was that the copious amounts of snow had begun to disappear. We even had some snowfall several days before we arrived. There was enough so that the kids could still walk out of the village and find a place to go sledding, but just barely enough.
Meanwhile, the adults went for a gorgeous hike about one hour to the west straight out of the village.
Auberge Des Aryelets
We returned just in time for our reservation at the restaurant the faces the gite: Auberge Des Aryelets. It’s still one of the more remarkable things about France and the Pyrenees that one can find a restaurant of this caliber tucked into a tiny village. But there it was, and we feasted like royalty.
Mohair d’Aulon en Pyrénées
Just up the hill from the gite is a delightful little shop called Mohair d’Aulon en Pyrénées. The owners raise their own goats and baby sheep and then spin their own wool. You can see the original equipment inside, buy mohair clothing, or just buy some raw material for knitting.
Or, just slide next door and bask in the cuteness.
After three days, it was time to head back. But it was a magic spot in a magic region.