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 fun little spot where kids (and adults!) can ride sleds, and get some very basic downhill ski lessons.
There are two points of entry for the station: Domaine de Soulor and Domaine de Couraduque. We opted for the latter because that’s where the Nordic Park is located, and it’s just a touch closer. But Soulor is only another couple of kilometers up the road.
In the end, we did a little of all three snow options. A pass for any one of the options is pretty cheap, ranging from €5 for kids to €10 for adults. Or, you can opt for plans that combine some of the options. Rental equipment for activities is also available, but it’s also pretty reasonable.
We opted for a special “Pass Balneo” that also included a 2-hour visit to the Jardin des Bains
back in Argelès-Gazost. Across the Pyrénées, it sees like each thermal bath station tries to outdo the others in terms of decor. And the Jardin des Bains is no exception.
The exterior is lovely white stone and red brick that has a classic feel. But the inside is another world.
The Emerald Forest…
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon…
The outdoor jacuzzi…
Over the top, yes, but we love that. The turkish baths are extremely satisfying, while the jacuzzis and various baths range in temperature from a relaxing 29 degrees Celsius to 34 degrees Celsius.
By the time our soak was over, we headed back to Toulouse refreshed and feeling lucky to have such escapes available to us in this region.