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A family holiday in Catalan Pyrenees

 
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Le plaisir en tribu dans les Pyrénées-Orientales

A family holiday in Catalan Pyrenees

Pleasure with your tribe!

A family holiday is a special time for both parents and children. But it’s not always easy to reconcile everyone’s different interests and abilities, from the toddler who can only just walk to the tweenager looking for new experiences. Could snow sports be the answer?

 

The snow has something for everyone!
The hit new winter activity, especially appreciated by dads and boys, is laser biathlon, which mixes cross-country skiing with rifle shooting – and plenty of snow, orienteering, concentration and precision. This is a game where children might be able to beat their parents! With snake gliss though, there is no competition: everyone is in the same boat, or rather the same sledge train. This collective sledge controlled by a guide hurtles down the pistes in single file, everyone hanging on to each other. Giggles guaranteed! Some resorts even offer the activity at night, by moonlight or head-torch. This is an option at Les Angles and Terra Nordica, a 15,000 m2 playground dedicated to learning and discovering nature for young trappers and great adventurers. 

 

The youngest skiers are welcome!

The French Ski School ESF

 

For ski addicts, the French Ski School (ESF) has created Club Piou-Piou, a combined kindergarten and crèche. While the adults go off to perfect their skills and enjoy themselves on the piste, the little ones (from 3 years) are introduced gently and safely to the joys of the ski-lift and snow sport. 

 

30 million friends

Animals are a joy for young and old. Nothing beats a visit to the Parc des Angles to meet the wildlife of the Pyrenees: brown bears, wolves, boar, stags, roe deer, mountain sheep, Pyrenean chamois, marmot, ibex, bison and reindeer. Fun and educational. But let's not forget our friends on the farm… Many farms offer visits with introductory workshops: breadmaking, butter, farmyard animals, animal feeding, calves suckling, pony and horseback rides and, to finish, farm refreshments (savoury or sweet) made with local produce. And the parents can leave with a wellstocked hamper…

 

If you go down to the woods today…

Dog sledding in Pyrénées-Orientales

 

Through the snow with snow-shoes, cross-country skis, a dog-sled, a donkey or on horseback. There are a thousand and one ways of getting into the great outdoors without the children complaining and dragging their feet. There is even the "baby-raquettes" circuit, an hour's stroll for children over the age of two, who can discover animal tracks and ride in natural sledges.

Or are your tastes more traditional? Set off on foot, alone or with a guide, to explore the lakes of Bouillouses, Camporells, Carlit, Matemale and the Eyne nature reserve and encounter grouse and capercaillie, or ride with your family through the mountain pines on a dog-sled, Eskimo-style.

A bath of culture

Our Pyrenees house one of France's many UNESCO world heritage sites, a jewel of military architecture by Vauban: the citadel of Mont-Louis, the highest fortified town in France. A visit to Mont-Louis plunges you back into the eighteenth century. The town has even retained its initial vocation, as it houses the national commando training centre. There is also another curiosity: the first solar furnace in the world, with simple educational and scientific demonstrations – the perfect companion to a visit to the other solar oven at Odeillo, the CNRS research laboratory. Another wonder not to be missed, this time under the ground, is the Fontrabiouse caves. A concentration of draperies, columns, crystals and bouquets of aragonites. You will find out why tubular stalactites are known as "angels' hair"…

 

The citadel of Mont-Louis

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