2020 Gite Forestier De Terre Avenir Credit Photo Onf2020 Gite Forestier De Terre Avenir Credit Photo Onf
©2020 Gite Forestier De Terre Avenir Credit Photo Onf

Escape to the Pyrenees

One night in a forest gîte

A few nights in a forest gîte to recharge your batteries: that’s the family project. Near Le Port de Lers, my parents and some friends have booked a secluded forest gîte in the mountains of the Ariège Pyrenees nature park for a few nights: it’s going to be our haven of peace. I’m a biology student, and it’s been a long, busy year… Exams are finally over, and I need a breath of fresh air, a real break and some peace and quiet – that’s my priority right now. So I decided to join them.

To our refuge

On the road

Heading for the Auzat-Vicdessos valley, before taking the mythical Port de Lers road into the Couserans, we stop off at the Tourist Office. Agnès takes the time to show us all the hiking trails close to the gîte. She explains that this forest lodging belongs to a network of several refuges run by the Office National des Forêts, and that it’s possible to hike from one to the other with a mountain leader and a logistician all summer long…. For us, this accommodation will be our “refuge” for a few nights.

It climbs

On the march to the refuge

With all this information in mind, we set off on our ascent towards the Col. We meet cyclists in full effort on this winding ascent to the top… At a bend before our arrival, a number of cars are parked, indicating the departure point forEtang d’Arbu, which my father has planned as part of our stay… We arrive near the Col, park our vehicle and set off on foot towards the pass.We arrive near the Col, park our car and start walking towards the gîte “Terre d’Avenir“, a name that will bring me good luck for the result of my exam.

A mountain chalet

A change of scenery guaranteed

At the bend in the trail that takes us there, we’re pleasantly surprised to discover a beautiful stone and wood mountain chalet set in a wild, natural setting that’s perfect for a change of scenery and relaxation. It’s secluded, surrounded by trees in the heart of the Parc Naturel Régional des Pyrénées Ariégeoises. We settle in, the gîte can accommodate a dozen people, it’s simple, cool and pleasant, with a superb view, and the weather is magnificent.Our stomachs remind us that it’s time for lunch… We listen to Agnès’ advice to go for a picnic on the banks of Etang de Lers, a few kilometers away.

Magic place

Surprise, the scenery is absolutely exceptional, the mountain lake superb and directly accessible by car. Free-roaming black Mérens horses, paragliders in the sky, the place, surrounded by high peaks where there’s still a bit of snow, is a real postcard.

Lers pond

Everything but swimming

I approach the water, which is very clear but really cold, and announce to the group that I’m going to skip the swim… Laughter breaks out as Dad informs me that the pond is reserved for fishing!

Now that's vacation!

Here we are

We take our time, it feels good, my vacation can finally begin…

Ariège's little extras
The Ariege Pyrenees, your oxygen bubble!

Looking for unspoilt nature, the great outdoors and white water? In winter, ski, snowboard, skating, snowshoeing, sledging, dog sledding, at Ax 3 Domaines, Beille, Ascou and le Chioula, Mijanés and Goulier... In summer, hiking, mountain biking, paragliding or canyoning... And all year round, enjoy the benefits of the thermal waters at Ax-les-Thermes, Ussat-les-Bains or the Bains du Couloubret. And don't miss the Grotte de Niaux and the Parc de la Préhistoire. Not forgetting the history of our mountains and their heritage, pastoralism and local produce! Book your next mountain vacation!