Archive for category: Winter wonderland

Pyrenees for family friendly skiing

The closest ski resort to our holiday home in the south of France is Les Mont d’Olmes in the stunning Massif de Tabe region of the Pyrenees (40km). A small, perfectly formed resort with lots to offer, ideal for families. 21 km of slopes for all abilities, toboggan runs for smaller children while the Snow Park guarantees thrills for teens. A new chairlift has improved access to the mountains and 80 snow cannons complement what is currently, excellent fresh snow. It’s not the Alps of course but the Pyrenees offer very good value for families – a family ski pass at Les Mont d’Olmes is 360 euros for a week compared to 950 euros at Belle Plagne (source Igluski). The excellent Ski School Francais offers 2hr lessons for 4-7 yr olds (25 euros) older kids 28 euros. Steaming hot chocolate and homemade cakes by the log fire waiting for you on your return. Now, who can resist that? Interactive piste map

Family friendly skiing in the French Pyrenees

Road through the Pyrenees

On the road to Quillan this morning, there is only the matter of a mountain pass between us and it. A large, lively town offering a pleasant distraction for lunch. Despite the mountain road it’s only about half an hour away from our B&B in Sonnac sur l’Hers. Passing through some glorious, winter landscapes, the mighty Pyrenees providing a suitably dramatic backdrop, though perhaps we’ll wait on the snowplough next week.

Landscape transformed in Languedoc

More photos of the snow in Sonnac sur l’Hers today. The landscape is transformed in the hills south of Carcassonne, we are more used to seas of sunflowers and the vines bowing with the weight of the grape. The zillions of euros spent on high spec insulation for the holiday cottage is paying dividends.

Sonnac sur l’Hers from the GR7




Snow in Sonnac sur l’Hers

Not many takers for our holiday cottage in the south of France this week. We are a step away from the high Pyrenees and usually avoid the worst of the weather. Not sure we will make Mirepoix market tomorrow.

The ancient square, Sonnac sur l’Hers

Walking in the hills around Chalabre

Winter has arrived in our part of the south of France at last, we were having lunch on the square a week ago. Snow chains needed to reach Monts d’Olmes, our nearest ski station which is good news for the Pyrenees ski resorts of course. We braved the snow drifts in the hills around Sonnac sur l’Hers and set off for the boulangerie in Chalabre, the requirement for du pain being of greatest importance. Nick thinks these footprints belong to a  hare, they are quite huge and reflect the habit hares have of placing their 2 front feet almost together and bringing their back legs to the fore – unless anyone can tell me differently?

Fete de St Nicolas

Trip to Carcassonne today to the medieval, fairytale citadel of which I will never tire. Fete de St Nicolas meant artisan stalls and crafts and offer of free concert in the church, the historic Basilique Saint Nazaire. The church was packed to the rafters, we were last to arrive but struck lucky as extra benches were being placed at the front so we bagged the best seat.

The concert was not as expected, not carols (and only weeks from Christmas) not even particularly religious, but haunting chant from one man, Xinarca, whose voice alone filled the vast cavern of the church. He had weird and wonderful string instruments that he would hold up to the audience at the end of each song so we could pay homage. I couldn’t understand the language, neither French nor Latin, perhaps the ancient tongue of the Oc? All was explained at the end when he revealed he was Corsican and was singing traditional, ancient songs of his land. A real treat. Hot chocolate in the cafe afterwards, the church is very beautiful and very drafty, although I prefer it here out of season, still very mild and no fighting through the crowds of August to get a seat at a table.

Basilique Saint-Nazaire