Lizzy Goes to the Pyrénées Mountains

Lizzy Goes to the Pyrénées Mountains

Hello from South West France. This will be my last blog post and I must say how much I’ve enjoyed sharing my life experiences in France with all you My French House blog readers. Today, I’m getting in the mood for the ski season and want to tell you about a recent trip to Saint Lary, or Saint Lary Soulan as it’s officially called.

I’ve skied since I was 12 and you’d think I’d be really good at it by now. However, my love of ski-ing is purely for pleasure and as a result, each year, I don’t necessarily aim to improve my technique, just to enjoy myself. What this means is that I can keep up with the best of them and have quite a nice natural skiing style, even though I say it myself, however, I don’t sniff out off-piste, black runs or moguls to push myself; all I want to do is have fun. This makes Saint Lary the perfect spot for me and my friends.

I went to Saint Lary with a friend recently to seek out accommodation for a huge group of us who are planning to go there for New Year. We’ve left it quite late to book, particularly bearing in mind that there’ll be 19 of us including kids, but we were on a mission to check out all the options. I love Saint Lary, both in summer and in winter, because in summer time, it has great walks and river rapids to die for and in winter it’s beautiful and offers some of the best skiing in the Pyrenees.

Set in the Hautes-Pyrenees department of the Midi Pyrenees, Saint Lary is an old town that has a style and charm about it that knocks the new resorts out of the water when it comes to beauty and class. Located only about an hour’s drive from Tarbes, Saint Lary is within easy reach of the UK, particularly since the introduction of Ryan Air’s flight from Stanstead to Tarbes-Lourdes airport. It is also only 20 minutes away from Spain, which is great news for our New Year’s trip because the plan is we’ll head over the border when we arrive to stock up on really cheap food and wine.

One of the largest resorts in the French Pyrenees, it’s not surprising that Saint Lary is such a popular resort. With over 100km of downhill slopes, it boasts an impressive 53 pistes. It’s a real ‘something for everyone’ resort, with three distinct stations: Saint Lary 1700, Saint Lary 1900 and Saint Lary 2400. Saint Lary 1700 is where families normally head. Known as the Pla d’Adet, the first station at Saint Lary has the snow kindergarten, toboggan run and the ‘kids park’, which is the snow park that’s aimed at kids aged between 6 and 12. Saint Lary 1900 is where more accomplished skiers head and 2400 boasts a range of moguls and slalom pistes with access to Lake Oule where you can snow-shoe.

All of that said, there’s a whole lot more to Saint Lary than just skiing. In summer there are great walks, with the GR10 passing through the village and the ski-lifts are even geared up to take mountain bikes up the hill so you can come down at speed without having to think about how you’ll get back up again.

The village of Saint Lary has everything you could wish for in terms of a week or two week long stay. There’s a host of restaurants and bars as well as a range of food shops that offer everything from charcuterie, through ready-made dishes to delicious chocolates and cheeses. In fact, you could easily book a self-catering stay in Saint Lary and eat delicious home-made tasting food every day without even needing to switch the cooker on. Add to this the fact that you can enjoy an alfresco apero in the winter sun and you start to get a flavour of what this lovely village can bring.

I have several eating and drinking memories in Saint Lary. One is a summer memory and it was late mountain lamb that, without the addition of any herbs or garlic was filled with wild garlic and rosemary flavours from the lamb’s mountain eating habits. The other was a whole roast suckling pig that was served at Le Chalet, where pretty much everything they serve is delicious. When it comes to bars, there isn’t one that’s necessarily better than the other because they all have their individual charm. And that’s great news because what it means is that during a week’s stay, you need to try them all and pop back to your favourites just to be able to narrow down your shortlist of the top three!

But before enjoying ourselves too much, we had houses to look at for our forthcoming trip. To be honest we were spoilt for choice, but made our decision and formalised our reservation…now all we need to do is start the countdown. If we’re not back in touch before the festive season, I hope you have a great one…

If you’d like to have a life like Lizzy’s, either in South West France, or any other part of this great country, why not get in touch? We can help you track down your dream French home.