Today I would like to share with you a glimpse of my (after) summer travel plan to France. This weekend I will travel to France, together with my partner, which will be our first international trip again since covid entered our beautiful country.
In this article I will share the places we will be traveling to and the hikes we’re planning to take. If you have any tips or comments for this (after) summer travel plan to France, feel free to let us know!
Exploring traditional France: Sainte-Livrade-sur-Lot, France
The first few days we will spend some time in Sainte-Livrade-sur-Lot, a little commune in the Lot-et-Garonne department in south-western France. We will be staying in a friend’s house for about 3 days and take some time to rest. There is a swimming pool and the house is situated at the river Lot where we can do some kayaking and swimming.
A typical french commune
Sainte-Livrade-sur-Lot seems to be small and typical French. Some interesting sights might be the church, the former Benedictine Priory, the remains of a half-timbered house, and the city hall.
A truffle-grower and beekeeper
Close to Sainte-Livrade-sur-Lot (30 minutes drive) is a truffle-grower and beekeeper situated; Simonet Les Délices de Cantegrel. The family farm created in 1869 reveals the secrets of an age-old product: truffle. Joel the trufficulator father and Daniel the beekeeper son welcome you for an incredible taste discovery and a real moment of conviviality. Even Though the website is in French, this farm looks lovely to visit. We love local places like these where we can try local specialties and get to learn about local life. We are very curious to explore this site. There’s also a shop which is open every day of the week from Monday to Saturday 17 am to 20 pm.
Hiking in the Pyrenees
We love hiking and spending time in nature, so we prepared some hiking trips in the Pyrenees. The hikes will be in the Ariège department, in Southwestern France. This region is known for its rural landscapes and beautiful national reserves.
Spend a day and night in Ax-les-Thermes
Since we need to drive around 3 hours to the Pyrenees, it’s best to already drive one day in advance to the hiking area. We will be spending the night in Ax-les-Thermes, a nice town in the department of Ariège. The town is not far from Andorra and is located where the Oriège, Ariège and Lauze rivers meet. Ax-les-Thermes has long been known as a spa town because of the various hot springs near the town. The next day we will start our hike close to Orlu.
Through the Orlu National Reserve to Refuge d’en Beys
This hike will take us to Refuge d’en Beys and its pond through the Orlu National Reserve. The Orlu national reserve is a small protected area which seems to be extremely colorful, with many deciduous forests and mountain lakes. The refuge is a manned mountain hut in the reserve where you can spend the night inside or outside in your tent. We booked a place in the hut with half board. The hike will probably take around 4-6 hours the first day. Click here to see a live webcam of the refuge. Awesome!
The next day we will descend via the Couillade d’en Beys and the giant Étang de Naguille to Orlu where the hike ends again. The trail will take about 6-8 hours and seems to be fantastic with beautiful streams, clear blue mountain lakes and a fairytale deciduous forest. We will overnight somewhere close to Orlu.
The circuit of the Gorges de la Caranca
The second hike will start in thuès-entre-valls where we can enter the Gorges de la Caranca, an impressive canyon. Gorges de la Caranca have been inaccessible for a long time. Now in one part of the canyon, a path has been carved out and numerous bridges have been made over the mountain stream. The handmade bridges and deep abysses guarantee a walk with the necessary tension. We are curious!
We divided the hike into 2 days by staying overnight at Refuge de la Caranca. This mountain hut is not far from the hiking trail. It will take about 45 minutes extra.
The next day will take place high above the gorge and will probably take about 3-5 hours to hike back to thuès-entre-valls, where we will overnight somewhere. We might do some canyoning the day after.
Spending 48-72 hours in Toulouse
After a few active days in the Pyrenees, we plan to spend 2 days or maybe 3 days relaxing in Toulouse. Known as ‘Pink City’ or ‘Space Capital’ of France, Toulouse is made of buildings tinted in pink and earthy tones. Lodged in the banks of the Garonne River and the Canal du Midi, it’s France’s fourth-largest city and one that still goes unnoticed in Southwestern France. The balmy climate and friendly locals give Toulouse an inviting ambiance. To us it’s a pleasant city with a laid-back vibe.
Toulouse has a vast amount of things to do and see. We already did some research and made a Toulouse bucket list with fun things to do and see.
After spending time in Toulouse we will probably drive back to Sainte-Livrade-sur-Lot where we will be spending our last days in France before we drive back to the Netherlands.
I hope you enjoyed reading about our (after) summer travel plan to France and hikes we’re planning to take in the Pyrenees. If you have any tips or comments, feel free to let us know!
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