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French Pyrenees Hiking Retreat

We have just returned from our debut Moloko hiking trip in the French Pyrenees Ft. scenic hikes to mountain lakes, snowshoe treks across alpine meadows, castle ruins, cooking workshops and a trip to the thermal baths at Ax les Thermes.

It was the perfect winter retreat & we're already plotting the next one: you can now register your interest for March 2025.

hikers in the French Pyrenees

Day 1: Arriving at the farmhouse

As the plane descends over the snow capped mountains, I am being reminded of why I love going to the Pyrenees so much and I am buzzing for the week ahead.

We are greeted by James at the airport, then wind our way through charming villages and lush valleys before reaching Le Bezy. After settling into our rooms we all enjoy a lunch spread outside with homemade quiche, salads and cheese followed by Charley's infamous courgette cake.

In the afternoon we head out on a local hike to stretch our legs. The rustic farmhouses and rugged countryside is beautiful, and in the distance you can see the snowy mountains which gets us excited about exploring this stunning region.

farmhouse for our hiking retreat in the French Pyrenees

Shortly after we get back to Le Bezy, we start the first cooking workshop: how to prepare a dinner party spread. On the menu: roast squash with a herby bean mash (my absolute favourite), whipped feta with roast beetroots, smokey chickpeas, baked mint rice, and a fennel, chicory and orange salad.

Day 2: Market Day & Hiking Snacks

We start the day with a yoga to wake the body up before breakfast: fresh pastries, a delicious tray of apple and cinnamon baked oats, fruits, yogurt and homemade granola.

morning yoga in the farmhouse for our hiking retreat

We then get ready for a morning in the local town of Mirepoix. The market is a hub of activity, full of locals buying fresh produce, artisan crafts and mouthwatering French delicacies.

After having a wonder around, we stop for a bite of lunch and then head to The Green Bazaar for a matcha latte and cake. Their banana cake is one of the best things I have ever eaten and I can't resist to order another slice to take away with me!

We spend the afternoon on our second cooking workshop: hiking snacks for the week. Everyone is excited to learn how to make stuffed dates and tahini cookies, both delicious and easy to make snacks!

Day 3: Roquefixade Loop

Today's hike takes us to the top of Roquefixade: a medieval castle which provided refuge for Cathars at the time of the Cathar wars.

Its ruins are perched atop a rocky outcrop overlooking the valley below: simply stunning!

We kick off our adventure in a forest, blanketed with a layer of brown leaves and plush green moss. As we make our way up to the castle ruins, the scenery evolves, treating us to glimpses of distant snow-capped mountains on the horizon.

snowy peaks of the French Pyrenees Ariege

Having worked up an appetite we find a sheltered spot and dive into our packed lunches. Nothing beats a French baguette generously filled with local cheese. We then devour our tahini cookies for dessert. We're quickly surrounded by a herd of mountain goats, hunting for the left overs of our picnic.

After soaking in the panoramic views of the snowy mountains stretching out before us, we begin our descent down. The forest is beautiful at this time of the year: everything is slowly coming to life, giving us that spring feel we were all dying for.

Day 4: Etang de Soulcem

Setting off bright and early, we navigate rugged trails that wind through the picturesque alpine rock-face. Soon we're ascending in the snow - nothing beats the sounds of walking boots crushing the fresh snow in my opinion! This place is a real hidden gem and we are surprised to find ourselves the only hikers in sight.

hiker in the snow in the French Pyrenees Ariege

As we approach the lake everyone is blown away. The water is shimmering in the midday sunshine, reflecting the towering peaks that loom overhead. We find the perfect spot to enjoy lunch and whilst eating, are treated to the distant spectacle of two avalanches.

Eager to explore further, some of us walk down to the shore whilst others finish off their lunch. Eventually, we begin our descent back down the mountain, all revelling in the beauty of this magical place.

hiking landscape in the French Pyrenees

On the journey back home, we make a stop at the charming town of Foix. Its picturesque streets are decked with quaint French cafes, independent shops and cobblestone pavements. I couldn't resist picking up a couple of souvenirs for friends and family before we making our way back to the farmhouse for dinner.

Day 5: Snowshoeing in Chioula

We wake up early and head for the snow-covered slopes of Chioula. The drive is easy and before we know it we're trekking through fields of sparkling snow. Winding through towering stands of pine trees, we stop at the cutest refuge for a well deserved coffee break.

Loving every minute of it, we decide to extend our hike and continue snowshoeing along the trails which take us to the most stunning viewpoint. It's so peaceful here, and once again it's just us!

snowshoeing in the Pyrenees in France

The trail eventually loops us back to where we started. After having done 7km (such a good workout) we have lunch at the panoramic restaurant at the bottom of the slopes: we all indulge in Tartiflette (my favourite French dish) in the warm sunshine.

Ready for some R&R we then make our way to the nearby the spa town of Ax les Thermes. The afternoon is spent chilling in their thermal baths, sauna and treatment facilities. This really is the good life!

Day 6: To the Cathare Castle

It's our final day, so we lace up our boots one last time and set out for another legendary Cathare Castle: château de Montsegur.

hiking the Cathare Castles in the French Pyrenees

The hike to the castle is a bit of a challenge, but the payoff is more than worth it. The views from the top are absolutely breathtaking, and we have lunch amongst the ruins, imagining what life must have been like all those centuries ago.

As the sun begins to set on our time in the Pyrenees, we make our way back to the farmhouse. The evening is spent enjoying homemade pizzas and reminiscing on what a wonderful week we have had in the mountains - we will be back next year for sure!

A big thank you to LifeJacket and Veloforte for sponsoring this escape and enabling us to offer more accessible trips. Check out our brand page for all exclusive offers and discount codes with these partners.

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