Erna Low Property: Crème de la crème of French Ski Property
Erna Low Property reports business is strong, with exciting new developments and partnerships, despite the challenges of 2020. Virtual viewings, ‘workcations’, the sole UK Agency on Pierre & Vacances resale apartments and an ever-growing demand for a bolthole in the Alps is ensuring a healthy UK market for property sales in France.
Three Top Properties Complete and for sale from Erna Low Property
Le Diamant des Cimes in La Rosiere Completing this year, Le Diamant des Cimes in La Rosiere with skiing over to La Thuile in Italy, is built in a traditional Savoyard style – using locally sourced stone, wrought wooden structure and balconies. Incredible views of the Tarentaise Valley. From 510,000 euros 2-4 bedroom classic freehold apartments. https://ernalowproperty.com/property/le-diamant-des-cimes-2-bed/
Le Ruitor – Sainte Foy de Tarentaise The ideal bolthole apartment, in a 4* residence, pool & spa facilities, offers owners an authentic alpine lifestyle, with access to some of the Alps most famous resorts. With over 45km of skiing from your doorstep, you’ll also be able to enjoy Tignes (Espace Killy) just a 10 minute drive from Les Brevieres ski lifts and 425km of connected piste. Prefer to ski the Paradiski, just a 15 minute drive away you’ll have access to Arcs 1950 & the worlds most popular ski domain of the Paradiski – 425km. https://ernalowproperty.com/property/sainte-foy-le-ruitor-3-bed-3/
Francois Marchand, Managing Director of Erna Low Property comments, “With continued demand for properties in the Alps, we are proud to have made it through these difficult last few months. Arc 1950 also continues to be a popular destination and we have many ongoing re-sales of apartments here, with increased values as their supply is limited. French mortgage rates remain low and whilst we have seen some delays caused by the part-closure of our French bank and notaire partners, rather than buyers cancelling their purchases, most have been happy to accept a small delay and continue with their purchase. Buyers who have cash are obviously in a great place to make a secure investment in a property purchase in the French Alps.” Andrew Scatchard, Sales Manager: “With an ever-challenging situation in the global economy, the resilience of Erna Low Property’s new and existing enquiries has been an encouraging light at the end of the tunnel. Plenty of buyers are either moving ahead as planned or getting their ducks in a row for February inspection trips. With our new Pierre & Vacances resale partnership, many clients are reassured by the guaranteed returns, and super prime locations. With interest rates at an all time low (some clients achieving 1.2% fixed for 20 years) now really is a superb time to invest in your dream mountain home.”
NEW P&V Resales – Erna Low Property are now the exclusive partner for Pierre & Vacances [P&V] apartment resales in the UK .
Alain Denninger, Senior Sales at Erna Low Property adds: “We are able to secure resales of apartments that come on to the property market, for UK buyers, so they can have an apartment ‘ready to go’ – this is really suiting the demands of many of today’s clients.”
“Workations” has been one of the key buzzwords of 2020 with people adapting to working from home. These P&V resales enable buyers to purchase a property and have the keys in time for this winter season – 2021. Cash buyers can complete within four to five months.
Ready to purchase P&V properties include the Les Crets in Meribel Mottaret [from 349,000 euros], the Amara in Avoriaz [460,000 euros/2 bedroom] and Le Belmont – Arcs 1800 (155,000 for a 1 bed)
Virtual Viewings Lockdown has not prevented sales of properties in the French Alps. Erna Low Property has used technology for buyers to be able to view remotely either an off plan development, where there usually may not be that much to actually see, or to have a ‘real-time’ view of a development which is complete and ready for purchase. These virtual viewings will continue beyond lockdown.
Trend for Larger Apartments Erna Low property has seen demand for the combination of small apartments off-plan to be re-designed in to bigger four- bedroom apartments. As Erna Low Property take on many small developments off plan, they are best placed to give buyers the opportunity to make their dream bolthole in the Alps. Buyers are choosing to have a bigger residence where they can host their family and friends and still have space to work. Two examples are the Cottage Alpin development in Les Gets and the Estellan development in Les Carroz.
ENDS Please contact Vanessa Fisher PR for any information on available properties for sale and/or images: firstname.lastname@example.org 07957 618525
Erna Low Property was established to offer customers the opportunity to purchase properties in some of the world’s most beautiful and desirable locations. Whether looking for snow or sun, Erna Low Property helps buyers to choose the perfect property for holidays, retirement or investment.
Erna Low Property has its dedicated Estate Agencies in London and in Arc 1950 to sell properties all over the Alps and the South of France and Portugal to property investors. Erna Low Property now holds a sizeable portfolio of properties from the French Alps, across Europe and beyond.
Arc 1950 Le village, high up in the French Alps, opened this weekend [4 July] to blue skies and a range of summer of outdoor sports activities free of charge – guests can enjoy the mountains at their own pace and with their own choices.
Visitors can choose two activity sessions per person and per week, from a choice of:
Fitness, with sessions outside in the village square with qualified Personal Trainers
Half day hikes (for adults and children) accompanied by a mid-altitude mountain guide
Mountain bike initiation sessions for children aged 8 to 12 years
Archery with equipment provided
Due to Covid-19, health protection measures will be taken for the different activities incl social distancing, cleaning of equipment, anti-bacterial hand gel etc.
A Village that takes care of the environment
All those involved in Arc 1950 le Village are also committing to “greener” and more responsible tourism. Pierre & Vacances group, which manages the Village’s 5* residences, is committed to limiting their impact on the environment through daily actions: e.g. careful sorting of waste and using eco-labelled cleaning products.
New: The “Clef Verte” (Green Key) Label
Pierre & Vacances residences in the Village have been awarded the “Green Key” label. Symbolising environmentally responsible tourism, the label rewards Arc 1950’s commitment to sustainable development. Residents and visitors alike therefore become co-responsible for this approach based on a variety of criteria such as environmental strategy, water, waste and energy management.
Retail and Restaurants -New Organic Offerings
In Arc 1950, the retailers are also in favour of sustainable development. The Village’s supermarket, 8 à Huit, has a deli counter that offers customers fresh and homemade items every day. There is also a range of organic products in the shop with many unpackaged items.
The Wood Bear Café offers gourmet, generous cuisine based on homemade dishes with organic, vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options.
On the menu: lemonade flavoured with a selection of dandelions picked during spring in the mountains; Wild garlic pesto accompanies the Chef’s terrines; for dessert lovers, homemade fruit coulis [picked from the restaurant’s own garden] with the delicious cheesecake; Summer colours and fresh produce can also be found in the Açaí Bowl or the lunchtime ‘bowl du Midi’ . Enjoy it all on the terrace bordered with flowers and herbs.
Committed to the fight against plastic, plastic straws have been replaced by steel, plus special Wood Bear Café mugs replace takeaway coffee cups.
For a quick savoury stop, the Cascade Sucrée offers several variations of pasta with homemade sauces and a typically Savoyard speciality: the ‘Hot Diot’. Adapted from the famous hot dog, the Hot Diot consists of crusty bread and Diot sausage cooked in white wine.
Le Mazot and the Brasserie 1950 also now include a vegan and vegetarian dishes on their menus.
The Village restaurateurs are also committing to the local economy by using fresh local produce daily to prepare their balanced, seasonal dishes for example at Restaurant Le Perce Neige.
A Natural Wellbeing Experience and Nordic Baths
A visit to Arc 1950’s Deep Nature Spa with its 1000 m2 is an absolute must!
Its impressive mineral decor and the themed areas offer a range of sensorial experiences: the aquatic grotto (a relaxation pool heated to 30°), the ice grotto (ice shower and fountain) and the volcanic grotto (a sauna at 45°).
The signature Deep Nature massages are given in treatment rooms with incredible views overlooking Mont Blanc – THE way to relax in the mountains, book the twin room for a romantic massage ‘a deux’.
Arc 1950’s Deep Nature Spa has launched a Skin Care range of natural cosmetics that can be created to suit your skin type. With re-mineralising, exfoliating or warming face masks, this new range consists of natural products such as clay, vegetable charcoal or Iroise seaweed.
New: Nordic baths
The Village’s Deep Nature Spa has completed its range of services with two new outside Nordic hot water baths for you to relax in.
Arc 1950 is a car-free village with an environmentally responsible car park
NO cars in the Village streets due to the resort’s underground car park
LED lightbulbs are now used to reduce consumption
Since 2018, 3 Tesla recharging stations for electric cars
E-bike recharging points to encourage visitors and guests – also on the terrace of the Wood Bear Café
In 2017, reduction of nearly 45% in electricity consumption thanks to the installation of a Centralised Technical Management system for the heated ramp.
Free shuttle bus system linking the different sites of Les Arcs makes it easier to get around
Link from Bourg-Saint-Maurice to Les Arcs on the new panoramic funicular that offers breathtaking views of the valley.
Arc1950Booking.com, easier on-line booking
Arc1950Booking.com optimises the marketing of the Village, keeping cold beds to a minimum and showing offers from all, whether they are Pierre & Vacances, maeva.com or private owner/rentals.
Private owners now have a link where they can load their apartment for rental. The online calendar can be sychronised with Airbnb, HomeAway, Booking.com, Expedia and Abritel.
Arc1950Conciergerie offers every possible service to the Village’s guests
Arc1950Conciergerie offers owners and holidaymakers access to all types of services. Working with three local companies who have signed a quality and exclusivity charter with the Village: NV3, LeeBear and FaceB, Arc 1950 offers more choice to property owners and guests to Arc 1950:
NV3: As part of a team of carefully selected male and female cleaners and trained management staff, NV3 Property Services manages individual properties for services such as handing over keys, carrying out inventories, cleaning and housekeeping service for the greater comfort of guests and owners. +33 (0)4.79.08.25.66 or email@example.com
LeeBear offers hotel-style services for owners and guests in Arc 1950. Thanks to its free mobile application and presence in the Village, LeeBear can look after everything. Meals delivered to your apartment, transport reservations, booking a restaurant or cleaning. It makes everything so easy for owners and their guests: firstname.lastname@example.org
Face B is a new innovative solution for holiday rental property owners. Benefit from expertise of decorators, architects; Renovate your apartment simply and remotely with a service that includes the work, furnishings, decoration, and access to professional hotel equipment. In partnership with Maeva.Com, Face B offers owners the cost of their audit and advice on decoration/fitting-out based on “collection” styles. faceb-renovation.com / email@example.com/ +33 (0)6 27 89 68 11
Despite the current closure due to Covid19, L’Armancette 5* Hotel, Chalets and Spa remains focussed on a summer 2020 re-opening and with this in mind they have created three ‘themed’ breaks, two with mountain experts: a New Trail weekend, a Yoga & wellbeing break and a stay to co-incide with the 11th annual Music Festival Musique & Patrimoine.
Named after a local glacier,5* L’Armancette has just 17 intimate, ensuite rooms all individually designed and guests have stunning views out to Mont Blanc, the Dôme de Miage and the Aiguille de Bionnassay mountains.
L’Armancette also includes the gourmet restaurant ‘La Table d’Armante’ with its menu designed by Michelin star chef Antoine Westermann. The hotel sits on the site of the former village bakery and honours this tradition with its own onsite bakery serving bread and pastries to locals each day. In addition, the hotel has a tea room, private wine bar, a full spa with gym and large inside/outside swimming pool.
New for Summer: Trail Weekend – 5 – 7 June 2020 For runners and mountains lovers; three days dedicated to running in the mountains whilst staying in luxury of the 5-star hotel L’Armancette. Enjoy 3 days with trail runner François D’Haene (multiple winner of the UTMB – Ultra Trail Mont Blanc race in Chamonix) to include:
• 5 trail running sessions • Stretching and in-house massage • Full board in gastronomic restaurant La Table d’Armante • Tips and advice from François D’Haene From 1750 euros pp for 2 nights in a double room (2 pax), and from 2 100€ for a single room for 2 nights
Yoga & Mountains 5 -10 July 2020 A stay dedicated to wellbeing: enjoy yoga and the surrounding mountains with Marie Claude Hubert – local Yoga teacher and mountain guide. Combine revitalizing yoga in a peaceful environment with a full program* within the peaceful village setting of Saint Nicolas de Veroce: • Daily Yoga & meditation sessions • Mountain walks combined with yoga • Stand-up paddle yoga on Lake Passy • Spa in L’Armancette • Local highlights : Saint Nicolas de Véroce village visit, Saint-Gervais Thermal spa, Tramway du Mont Blanc trip, mountain lunch next to a glacier From 2015 euros pp in a double room (2 pax) and from 2 970€ in a single room, 5 nights half board including all the above (thermal spa entry/full board/all yoga sessions)
Music Festival 3 – 8 August 2020 For 11 years, This music festival has taken place in Saint-Nicolas, organised by French Pianist Nicole Simon Laroche. • Daily concerts in a different locations each day including a jazz concert mid-week in La Table d’Armante at L’Armancette restaurant with a special dinner • A concert in the stunning Saint-Nicolas’ Church. • Full pass for the music festival From 1 425€ pp in a double room (2 pax) and from 2 475 euros pp in a single room, 5 nights B&B plus jazz night at La Table d’Armante and a pass for the festival
There was little sign of the approaching Autumn, with clear blue skies and warm sunshine but a fresh dusting of snow the previous weekend provided glistening white peaks of the Domes de Miage and Mont Blanc mountains, a sign of winter to come.
The hotel, which re-opens for skiers on 4 December sits right alongside an old two-man chair in the centre of Saint Nicolas, almost a national treasure for the village showing no sign of being updated, as it sits on private land.
In contrast, a little lower down the village, the two-man chair, Chattrix is being replaced with a fast detachable 6- seater chairlift in time for the opening of the season. Local skier, Betony Garner, who often comes over to this area for skiing when the weather’s not so good in her home town, neighbouring Chamonix, said “This chairlift will offer much faster access back into the ski area which links with Megeve. It was always a very slow spot to get out of. This development will be great news for local skiers and for the holiday guests inSaint GervaisandMegeve.”
Director ofL’Armancette, Anne-Cecile Quey adds, “with our new hotel and this chair lift, Saint Nicolas is waking up to the 21st Century but the village will remain a special place to come to as the village is mostly stand-alone chalets and locally owned houses so it will never be too busy. We welcome locals to our in-house bakery, which we have maintained on the site of the former village bakery. For skiers, we will run a shuttle from the hotel to the new fast access chair to enable our guests to easily connect via this new chairlift”.
The 6 man chair will become the fastest access point to the Mont-Joly ski area, which is the highest point of the ski resort at 2353 m, offering 1000m descent from Epaule to Chattrix.
Skiing down the Chattrix blue run, skiers will ski right past three new chalets at Plateau de la Croix, above Saint Nicolas where the ski school meeting point is for guests in the village.
These chalets, also part of the newArmancettegroup, offer ski-in/out access, with the largest chalets – Aster and Carline sleeping up to 14 guests and the smaller chalet, Silene just 8 guests. I hiked up to see the chalets, a 45 minute steep climb up from Saint Nicolas and loved the autumn garden planting with its fruit trees and bushes. Fingers crossed they survive the snowy winter.
From the hotel at 1150m, the views across the valley withLes Contaminesin the distance are stunning and the Domes de Miage peak the highlight, but from these higher chalets there is a direct view to Mont Blanc.
Summer in the French Pyrenees – including the Pyrenees- Atlantiques; the Hautes-Pyrenees; the Haute-Garonne; the Ariege-Pyrenees; the Aude and the Pyrenees-Orientales.
Here are a few highlights of Summer 2019 from each department.
The Ariege Pyrenees is home to the incredible Prehistoric Cave, the Grotte de Niaux which sits within the Parc de la Prehistoire in Tarascon-sur-Ariege. This park, come museum offers workshops, presentations and hands on experiences where visitors can learn to hunt, to paint on walls, to carve flint, to light fire as they did 14,000 years. The newly lit ‘Grand Atelier’ museum space of 2,500m2 showcases the ‘Giants of the Ice Age’. Take a tour in to the Grotte de Niaux and discover the Salon Noir with its preserved paintings. www.sites-touristiques-ariege.co.uk
The Château de Foix – a huge renovation, inside and out over a 6 month project and 8 million+ investment. Inside the castle, the large ceremonial room, the weapons room etc. Every room has been made even more realistic. At the foot of the castle, a brand new 2000m2 museum space has been created. Guests can take workshops to learn how to handle weapons used in war, to forge, to cut stone or to operate huge machinery used in warand construction. www.sites-touristiques-ariege.co.uk
Watersport Fun – Waterski in Mercus
A suspended cable tows eight water- skiers at the same time on a 760m course. Beginners can start with kneel boarding before moving on to classic waterskis, mono-ski or wake-board and then the jumps and tricks. This nautical base also offers: pedalo paddle boats, paddleboards, beach, beach volleyball, children’s games. Open: mid-June to early September, 7days/week from 13h30 to 19h30. Rates: Ski lift 14 € per hour. Pedalo and stand up paddle 12 € New! Paddle XXL: Package of 25 €for 1 to 8 people. www.basenautiquemercus.fr
New Summer Sledging in Guzet
The Guzet Express is one of the longest luge rides in Europe at 1.6 km with a vertical drop of 357 meters. The departure is at 1,700 meters above sea level after a superb ascent by chairlift. A great fun toboggan mounted on metal rail.https://couserans-pyrenees.fr/luge-guzet-express/
On Your Bike: Tour de France – 21 July
The Tour will get the best mountain views as it crosses the Ariege Pyrenees on ‘the road of the castles’ on 21st July 2019. Riders will leave Limoux to join the mountains of Foix Au Prat D’albis. Located 1200 m above sea level, this site of pastoralism, hiking and paragliding, the Prat d’Albis will for the fisrt time, host this Great Loop. Local organizers are committed to preserving the natural site. Montségur, Roquefixade, Miglos, Montreal de Sos will be the backdrop to this 15th stage. https://www.pyrenees-ariegeoises.com/en/diary/le-tour-de-france-arrive-au-prat-d-albis-a-foix-1302296
Skyvall, is a new gondola, part of a 30 million euro development, linking Loudenvielle in the Louron Valley to the mountain village of Peyragudes. Peyragudes resort sits at 1,600 meters for biking and hiking in summer and ski in/out village in winter. This 3 km link with a 650 m vertical drop is part of a plan to create a year round destination and reduce CO2 pollution on the road up to Peyragudes. Also new for December 2019 is the opening of a 4* Residence alongside the base of the new lift. http://www.vallee-du-louron.com/
Enjoy a wonderful off grid experience under the stars from just 100 euros per night for a Bubble sleeping 2 people with mini fridge, eco shower and facilities, bedding, and stunning views of the French Pyrenees being 650m above sea level. Enjoy breakfast on the 65m2 terrace.The closest market village of Argeles Gazost has a weekly market in the town centre for fresh supplies. www.moontain-bubble.com
Pyrenees Cyclin’Trip – Follow in the footsteps of the Tour de France racers, cycling to your heart’s content in complete safety on the cyclist-only mountain passes in the Hautes-Pyrenees on this new bike event which takes place from 30 July – 2 August and covers 108km of ascent. The legendary mountain passes will be closed to motorised traffic and reserved for cyclists in the morning, with no charges, no restrictions, no registration, no rankings and no start or finish.
MONDAY 30th JULY: COLS DE PEYRESOURDE, DE VAL LOURON-AZET, COL DU PORTET
TUESDAY 31st JULY: COL D’ASPIN/ WEDNESDAY 1st AUGUST: COL DU TOURMALET, MONTÉE DE LUZ ARDIDEN
THURSDAY 2nd AUGUST: MONTÉE DU HAUTACAM, COL DE COURADUQUE
FRIDAY 3rd AUGUST: COLS DES BORDÈRES, DU SOULOR, D’AUBISQUE
Experience a Pyrenees Road Trip -The Hautes-Pyrenees, France in association with Huesca, Spain, has introduced a series of 3, 4 or 7 day Road Trip itineraries taking in some of the most iconic landmarks in the Pyrenees as well as routes linking the French and Spanish borders. The Family specific itinerary includes some of the best of family activities in the Hautes-Pyrenees. http://www.pyrenees-trip.uk/offre/fiche/family-trip/SEJMIP065V5021BB
At 2877m of altitude, for 140 years the Pic du Midi has been at centre of astronomy, space research and also holds the highest planetarium in Europe. With its 12m ‘Pontoon in the sky’ it offers one of the most beautiful views of the Pyrénées and guests can descent by mountain bike in the summer or stay for a night near the stars and enjoy a meal in the new restaurant ‘Le 2877’. In winter the descent rivals the best in the Alps for freeride and off piste. www.picdumidi.com
Discover the Félix Trombe /Henne Morte cave network, one of the great French networks of underground caves, in the Massif de Arbas in Haute Garonne. Explore over 116km tunnels underground –Easy access for families to the caves with www.cocktailaventure.fr
One yurt and a donkey: If you are looking for a holiday in the mountains, combining comfort and hiking, stay in a yurt camp and hike every day with your own donkey. In addition to escape in to nature, with your donkey, have time and freedom to go down to the village to shop, brush and feed the donkey, feed etc. Ideal for families with young children. Local donkeys are used from one day to several day trips. Donkeys accompany you along your route to carry your belongings and / or children in case of fatigue. Cost from 50 euros per night and per day with a donkey hike. They are also instrumental in the breeding and reintroduction of donkeys in the Pyrenees. www.lafermedoulanbat.fr
By air – Take the 500m cable car which runs from the town of from Luchon to Superbagneres and enjoy the new restaurant inside the chapel. Whilst there take a parapent for the ultimate view of the Pyrenees.
Stunning views of Lake Oô , Lake Espiau, Perdiguère peak, Port of Venasque. Local guide Thomas Charlès will fly with you in a 30 minute flight, let you have a try at steering and give yourself an adrenalin fix. Suitable from 5years+. To book: +33 06 17 39 61 45
Medieval city of Saint Bertrand de Comminges Discover the beautiful, hill top ancient Roman city, still being discovered by archaeologists. Take the guest train up to the peak and explore the old narrow streets, look out over the valley from the remains of the Roman amphitheatre. Situated on the Way of St James (Santiago de Compostela pilgrim route), the UNESCO Sainte Marie cathedral dominates the village, with its Roman and Gothic styles alongside the pretty 15th Century village houses. https://www.hautegaronnetourisme.com/ete/saint-bertrand-de-comminges-un-site-des-siecles
The Little Yellow Train ‘Le Train Jaune’ runs for 63km on a narrow guage railway from Villefranche-de-Conflent to the Spanish border at Latour de Carol, the highest railway station in France. Enjoy a journey through the Pyrenees and marvel at the engineering, over viaducts, across mountain gorges, and mostly in the original carriages introduced in the early 1900s. The line rises through dramatic scenery from an altitude of 427 metres at its lower terminus at Villefranche de Conflent, to a summit at Bolquère Eyne, at an altitude of 1592 metres (5226 ft) above sea level. From £12 one wayhttps://www.tourisme-pyreneesorientales.com/le-train-jaune-0
There are seven mountain resorts across the mountain range in the Pyrenees –Orientale: Cambre d’Aze, Font- Romeu Pyrenees 2000, Les Angles, Porte Puymorens, Formiguères, La Quillane and La Station Nordique du Capcir, situated between 1500 and 2700m. In winter they form the ski areas of the Catalan Pyrenees and in the summer a haven for bikers, walkers and guests who want to discover the mountains of the southern Pyrenees. There are more than 60 lakes between 1800 and 2500 m above sea level (1485ha of water) including the lakes of: Lanoux, Bouillouses, Puyvalador, Matemale, Vinça, Caramany and Villeneuve de la Raho. https://www.tourisme-pyreneesorientales.com/
The Abbey of Saint Martin du Canigou is perched high up on a rocky pinnacle in the heart of the massif of Mt. Canigou. This Romanesque Abbey, built in 1009, over a thousand years old, is at the end of a 1600m long path which starts in the village of Casteil and winds up 300m. Enjoy spectacular views and a spiritual experience. https://www.tourisme-pyreneesorientales.com/abbaye-saint-martin-du-canigo
Odeillo, the largest solar oven in the world, built in 1969 by Felix Trombe, consisting of a field of 10,000 mirrors, mounted on terraces on the surrounding hillside, which bounce the sun’s rays onto a large concave mirror. The solar energy can produce temperatures in excess of 3200 degrees Centigrade, unique in the world. The location was chosen due to the air quality and the fact that the region boasts approximately 300 sunny days per year. https://anglophone-direct.com/mont-louisfont-romeu-odeillo-via/
St Thomas, Llo Baths and Dorres thermal baths- As with all the destinations in the French Pyrenees, spas play a hugely important role. In the Pyrenees-Orientale the thermal water of St Thomas is one of the hottest in
the Pyrenees. Discover the three pools and the vast stone amphitheatre with breath-taking views of the mountains! Jacuzzis, steam rooms, massage jets. Rich in sulphur and minerals, the waters of the Llo Baths are known for treating rheumatism and preventing stress. Immerse yourself in one of the three pools and discover the pleasure and pleasure of outdoor baths. Inside, the two pools and the spa area offer a fitness trail and equipment to relieve sore muscles. Relax in the small pool around Dorres at 1450 m altitude with Cambre d’Azeand Puigmal as a backdrop. https://www.tourisme-pyreneesorientales.com/experience/bains-deaux-chaudes-sulfureuses
The Aude stretches from the Mediterranean to the mountains of the French Pyrenees.
Villeneuve-Minervois, is the indisputable mecca of truffle production. Guests visiting the truffle museum, can fully immerse themselves in the history, harvesting and landscape of the truffle. Discover all the secrets of the ‘Black Diamond’. Organised by the Association des Trufficulteurs Audois, truffle markets take place on Saturday mornings, once a month, from December to February. Truffles are harvested in the three Aude communes, including Moussoulens and Villeneuve-Minervois. www.maisondelatruffedoccitanie.com
Wine is hugely important to the Aude, the richness of the soil and mixed climate offers the perfect wine growing climate. Look out for: AOP Cabardes, AOP Malepere,La Blanquette et le Crémant de Limoux, AOP Minervois, AOP Fitou, AOP Corbières et Boutenac. Take a wine tour of Corbieres and Fitou vineyards in a 2CV: www.vin4heurestour.fr
Mountain Bike the Black Mountain: The Black Mountain, southern balcony of the Cevennes is a mountain range located at the southwestern end of the The Massif Central. It separates the departments of Tarn, Hérault, Aude and Haute-Garonne. From the foot of the ‘Montagne Noire’ through the scrubland to the first forests of the mountain, enjoy a range of mountain bike trails. Through gorges dug in the limestone or shales, enjoy incredible views of the chain of Pyrenees. At the end of the trail wind through the “Capitelles”, shepherd’s shelters built in dry stone. www.audetourisme.com
Hike in in Haute Vallée de l’Aude, along the Aude River which gave its name to the department and offers North to South, from Limoux to Axat, a mix of landscapes between the vineyard hills and the Pyrenean mountains. At the foot of the Pyrenees, when hiking, discover the authentic villages of the Haute Valley of the Aude, incredible landscapes: gorges, golden vineyards, the forest shade, and green rolling hills. Hiking on the trails of the Pyrenees Audoises guests will discover breathtaking views with, for example, the Pic de l’Ourtiset or the Forêt d’En Malo, rich historical heritage with the Château de Puilaurens and Chateau de Puivert, passing through the Labyrinthe Vert or la Route des Sapins. www.audetourisme.com
The Train d’Artouste is the highest train in Europe at an altitude of 2000 metres with beautiful landscapes and an exceptional panorama. The ascent by telecabin gradually reveals the Ossau Mountain and the territory of the Pyrénées National Park. The journey on board the train gives a breathtaking view on the Soussouéou Valley before discovering the outstanding Artouste Lake.This 10km route was originally built in 1924, a service cable car was built on the sides of the peak of the sagette and then a single 50 cm railway track. With a purely industrial intention, the Compagnie des Chemins de Fer used the narrow gauge track to transport men and equipment for the construction site of the Artouste Lake dam. Over 8 years dam and pipe network was built. Now, Artouste Lake is a water reserve of 24 million m2 of. Since 1932, the Artouste site has been open to the public and the train transports thousands of passengers every summer. Departure from Fabrège, 15 min telecabine, then 55-minute train ride to the arrival station. The Artouste Lake is 20 minute walk from the station. www.ossau-pyrenees.com
Climb the Pyrenean Cols: Col d’Aubisque, Col de Marie Blanque or Col du Pourtalet, three mythical cols from the Tour de France – measure yourself against the cycling legends of the TdF : Froome, Contador, Quintana, Hinaud, Indurain, Jalabert, Virenque. Enjoy three different routes, each followed by a visit to the “Spa Montagne”, where recovery massage and spa facilities are offered. Accommodation provided by “Green Bike Pyrenees” in Louvie Jouzon: safe storage for bikes, bike workshop with tools, nutritional breakfast, cycling local routes with advice and local maps to consult on site, relaxation terrace. From 319 euros B&B 3 nights Info: firstname.lastname@example.org
The underground world of La Verna: In Pierre-Saint-Martin, this underground cave, discovered in 1953 is the third largest in the world open to the public. Mecca for geologists, this limestone cave and the natural vaults of the hall offer huge dimensions: 250 meters in diameter and 190 meters in height, an area of 5 hectares. Follow a 660m tunnel before discovering the cave. Torchlit only to preserve its environment. www.laverna.fr
Horse Riding on the Bénou Plateau where there are walks and hikes for everyone: donkeys, ponies, larger horses for all abilities. By the Bious-Artigues Lake, at the foot of the Pic du Midi d’Ossau take a ride through the heart of the Pyrenees National Park. Lakeside walks, longer 1-2hour hikes or the whole day(towards the Ayous Lakes) or even stay overnight by bivouac and enjoy a few days of horse riding. http://travel-ossau-pyrenees.com/summer-activities.html
The thermal water of Salies-de-Béarn is 10 times saltier than sea water. In a beautiful listed building in the Moorish Hispano style, the thermal spa of Salies-de-Bearn offers a brand new concept. www.thermes-de-salies.com
TheLondon Landmarks Half Marathon [LLHM] ballotopens this week and if you are up for a run which takes in some of the capital’s finest sights, has entertainment on every corner, and is a perfect half pre-April marathon then get entering the ballot!
Well I don’t know much about the London marathon, I’ve never run one, but I have watched a fair few of them and running up towards Tower Bridge in the LLHM, knowing I was fit enough to make it up the incline and ready to switch back round and back under the tunnel I felt as if I could run a marathon ..no problem.
Forward one mile -ish coming out of the tunnel, in which they blasted dance music with the DJ just outside, I realised if I wanted to make a PB, doesnt everyone, I’d have to get a wriggle on. The last 2+miles weren’t pretty but I made that PB by about 1minute. So my fastest half marathon is now 2 hrs 5 minutes!
Wind back 8 weeks and I’d been offered a place in the London Landmark Half, only my second half marathon, ever! The first was great, albeit wet and with a chest infection, the Royal Parks Half, so when I was offered the chance to run in London again I grabbed the opportunity.
I called on my old ski friends at Profeet to help me with some shoe advice. I had bought a pair of running shoes locally the previous summer but knew I’d need something waterproof for February and March training and my current Gortex trail shoes I felt would be a bit heavy for running. I was also nervous about another wet run and wanted to get some expert advice. With my old shoes in tow, I headed to Profeet for a ‘run analysis’ and also for advice regarding my trainers.
Running on the tread mill in the Profeet store was a revelation. I ran with my current Brookes run shoe, super comfortable, quite a thick sole and then Anna suggested I try a waterproof ‘On Running’ and see if there would be much difference. With a couple of small tips from Anna’s: lift the legs a bit more, try and stay a bit more upright to ease the pelvic tilt showing on the screen analysis and the On shoe came out clearly the better option for me, plus Anna had found one with a waterproof coating. I didn’t need any persuading to buy this shoe as I knew I needed a light, waterproof option.
Running in the snow in February was a breeze in this shoe, grippy, waterproof, I actually really enjoyed it. On race day, I was quite nervous and it was actually quite hot so then I was worried that the shoe may get too sweaty but with some much entertainment around the 13 miles, my feet felt great. I should probably have concentrated more on pace and less on high fiving all the charity supporters and boogieing along to the many bands that lined the course. Note to self for next time!
That and a few more weeks to train and maybe next time I’ll get to 2 hrs or less. Time to sign up!
TheLLHM 2020Ballot opens Tuesday 18th June at midday and is open for a week, closing on midday Tuesday 25th June (ballot winners notified Thursday 27 June).
LLHM 2019, which is organised bybaby charity Tommy’sfor the benefit of the whole charity sector, raised over £7.2 million for good causes, making the total sum raised for charity since the inaugural event two years ago £12 million.
London Landmarks Half Marathonshowcases some of London’s most iconic and amazing landmarks such as Big Ben, St Paul’s Cathedral, Nelson’s Column, the Gherkin, the Shard, the Tower of London and the London Eye It also unearths and promotes the hidden highlights of the city, with an emphasis on historical and cultural landmarks and facts. The event attracts thousands of spectators who enjoy the live music, dancers, cheer stations and historical figures who line the route.