INTRODUCING A FAMILY APARTMENT IN THE FRENCH PYRENEES
......HARRSICA, LE BOIS DE MARIE.
Nestled in the small and unspoilt picturesque village of Barèges is Harrsica a four bedroom self-catering apartment that comfortably accommodates 8 guests.
Superbly situated in the Hautes-Pyrenees region in southwest France, Barèges (alt. 1250m) is linked with the resort of La Mongie, which together culminate to create ‘Le Doumaine de Tourmalet’ the largest and widely regarded to be the best ski location in the French Pyrenees.
The ideal location is irrefutable, throughout most of the ski season it is possible to ski back down to the village and to the door of Harrsica and for those with wearier legs the ski-bus stops directly opposite, making it perfect for all ages and abilities.
However, Barèges is not just the perfect winter ski treat – it’s the ideal spot for a summer holiday too. Located on the edge of the Pyrenees National Park and close to the famous pilgrimage town of Lourdes the area has plenty to offer all year round. Most spectacularly it is located on the prestigious Tour de France route and the balcony of Harrsica provides a unique vantage point from which to watch all the action go by.
For those who still have energy to burn or children to tire there is plenty on offer in and around the village, including paragliding, walking, cycling, canyoning/caving, mountain climbing, mountain biking and more. Other activities only a short car ride away include white water rafting, horse riding, trout fishing, golf and an acrobatic “Tarzan” park. There is truly something for everyone with animal parks, zoos, aquariums and wonderful lakes for picnics. A notable highlight is the world famous Pic de Midi Observatory with superb mountain views, situated at a mesmerising 2877m, and accessible by cable car.
If sampling the before mentioned activities, or just reading about them, leaves you in need for some relaxation fear not Barèges also has this covered. The village itself has two Thermal Spas, one of which is newly refurbished and just five minutes from Harrsica. Barèges also boasts an outdoor heated swimming pool (open July & August), a climbing wall, a squash court, a cinema, a number of children’s play areas and a multi-purpose astro-turf court. The local butcher and baker also make famous French style dining achievable and the nearby mini-mart makes self-catering a breeze, but for those who want to place the cooking into someone else’s hands there is also a selection of bars and restaurants specialising in local cuisine available.
Barèges can be reached from the airports of Lourdes (approx. 35kms), Pau (approx. 95kms) and Toulouse (approx. 180kms).
If you are interested in staying in Harrsica or would like to know more, please don’t hesitate to contact us via email at Wendy.Cartledge@sky.com.
Skiing gem in the French Pyrenees – March 2010
“Last March I stayed here when it was just brand new and it was fabulous. The snow was great and we could ski back to the apartment – with the added bonus that we had spa visits included in our passes! The village was also great with restaurants, bars and a convenient bakery and even a butcher that roasted us the odd chicken for an evening in. As for the apartment, it was very comfortable and they don’t cram you in here. Plenty of space, great modern facilities, all brand new. Ski lockers provided and the ski bus is just over the road away with a short 3 minute ride to the lifts. Couldn’t be more ideal for families, groups, anyone really.... I’ll be going again next year on another boys’ week!”
Edward from Burgess Hill, UK
Walking in the Mountains – October 2010
“What a great place to stay! Comfy beds, spacious living room and a big balcony, all mod cons, a friendly village, easy parking, beautiful mountains, lots of lovely walks. To top it all, if you like oysters then pop down to La Rond Point in Luz St Sauveur on a Sunday morning to meet the oyster man. As many fresh oysters as you can eat for breakfast plus a bottle of Tariquet – only in France...”
Peter from Oban, UK
Family skiing holiday - February half term 2011
“A brand new, bright and very modern apartment. It was very well equipped with everything we needed to cook our meals in the evenings and plenty of space for all of 5 of us, as we were there with our 3 teenage children in February half term 2011. We were definitely outnumbered by French (around 80%), Spanish (around 15%) and English (about 5%) but that actually made it better for us. We enjoy speaking French; although you wouldn’t need to if you couldn’t because most French people there spoke good English and made us feel very welcome. We were told by the French people that this resort was much cheaper than The Alps. Ski pass was £133 per person (adult) for 6 days.
The apartment felt very roomy and was well laid out. Very clever design with the 2 bathrooms being between the 4 bedrooms. (3 toilets including the one off the hall). Kitchen – was well equipped with nice big fridge/freezer, dishwasher, microwave and combination oven. We managed to cook a roast chicken dinner for 5 quite easily. Beds were really comfy; there was plenty of bed linen and towels. Heating and hot water was superb. The washing machine was really good and allowed us to cut down on the clothes we took as we were able to wash whilst we were there. There wasn’t a drier but we were able to hang clothes on the airier and everything was dry when we needed it. There was an excellent ski locker in the building so skis, boots etc weren’t taken back into the apartment. Remember, moon boots or trainers etc to wear from the apartment to the locker room. The balcony would be ideal for drying clothes in the warmer weather.
Our ski hire was very easy. We supplied our heights, weights and ability in advance and we managed to collect our equipment an hour after arriving. We were able to ski for the afternoon on the day of our arrival. We kept all the equipment with us for the whole week and worked out for 6.5 days it was costing (for skis, boots and poles) about 12 Euros per day (about £10 – not bad!).
Fantastically well appointed in Bareges, the apartment was right opposite the ski bus stop which took us directly to the slopes in 5 minutes. All the necessary shops- butcher, baker, pharmacy, small supermarket and the agency office were within a few minutes walk. The people of Bareges were super friendly, very forgiving when we tried our pigeon French and very helpful with lots of advice from sunburn to lending needle and cotton, eating out etc. We didn’t feel the need to hire a car as we were there to ski all day and every day but on our travels in and out of the resort by minibus we did see that it was a beautiful area and lots of things to see and do if a different kind of holiday was planned. Lu – the agent organised for us to be collected from the airport by a very nice Englishman called Peter Derbyshire as we arrived on a Sunday so there were no buses running. This was 80 Euros each way in a minibus for 5 people but he acted as a good guide and gave us very helpful information for our holiday.
Once off the ski bus (which was free and very regular, probably every 15 minutes on the way up and down until about 5.30pm) we were able to select any one of a number of fantastic runs suited to all our skiing abilities. We were able to ski right across to La Mongie and back to within 75 metres of our apartment door – weather permitting – fantastic! Lunch cost between 80 and 100 Euros for 5 people in the restaurants in La Mongie. On good weather days we took a picnic and sat on the snow in the glorious sunshine with jackets off – it was that warm!
We would definitely go back summer or winter to this apartment in this fabulous resort.”
Simon and Hazel from Suffolk, UK
Already planning a return visit in January 2013 – January 2012
“Knowing Wendy and Stuart as we do, we knew that things would run smoothly and that the apartment would be very comfortable, cosy with lots of hot water for baths and showers after a hard day on the slopes... but there is so much more this location than the comforts of Harrisca.
Bareges/La Mongie is just one of numerous ski resorts within a 45min drive, the fact that Bareges was literally 5minutes up the road didn't deter us from also sampling the skiing in Luz Ardien, Cauterets and the relatively unknown gem called Gavarnie.
The snow was sparse, but we had 2 fantastic weeks skiing 4 excellent ski areas and for that reason alone want to go back - if it was fun with not much snow then it must be amazing with normal or good snow!!!
Having spent 8 winter seasons working around the 'best' Alpine resort like Courchevel 1850 and Val d'Isere I was slightly apprehensive to visit these smaller Pyrenean resorts but so glad we did. Courchevel in 2012 is no longer the Courchevel I knew and loved up until the millennium. However Bareges is a sleepy, friendly village and the villages/towns in the valleys were equally charming and a pleasure to wander around. Would I go back to the Alps, yes, but no longer would they be my first choice. Would I go back to the Pyrenees, oh yes - without a doubt, there was something more human, real and certainly friendlier in the Pyrenees that made the skiing holiday as much a holiday/travel experience as the skiing itself. It was a more rounded experience with stunning scenery and something we look forward to enjoying again in the near future.
Thank you Wendy and Stuart expect an email from me soon and I am even wondering about a summer break, the appeal of this area of the Pyrenees is hard to resist.”
Gary from Andalucia, Spain
Spacious, warm and convenient for the slopes – April 2012
“My wife and I took our 2 children (6 and "almost 4") for their first taste of ski-ing this year with friends and had a great time staying here. The apartment is spacious, warm and convenient for the bus stop that runs you up to the the pistes "base camp" (about 5 mins ride and included in the lift pass fee). On a clear day you have a great view both left and right from the balcony of snowy mountain tops and, immediately in front, the sound of the river washing away the melted snow. We didn't come across anything that we felt was missing from the apartment in the week we were there, in fact on the contrary, there were plenty of nice-to-haves provided. Early April is late in the ski season and so the snow was receding on the lower slopes (due largely to the heat wave they'd had locally for the preceding 3 weeks!) and the town of Bareges wasn't the liveliest, but with the children that suited us fine. We easily sorted lessons for the kids in the morning (with English speaking instructors) and were able to ski until mid afternoon before things got a little slushy. Now we just need to keep the children patient until we can plan the next trip!”
Adam from Evesham, UK
Lovely apartment, perfectly appointed for the major cycling climbs - June 2012
“We rented Harrsica for a week in June for a cycling holiday and had a brilliant stay. The apartment was excellent; spacious, airy, very comfortable and comes with all the utensils and white goods you need. There is both reserved parking and secure parking available. The views are simply stunning and we spent some great times sitting on the balcony watching the world go by. Although the village was quiet at the time of our stay, we were never stuck for places to eat and the local convenience store/minimart is very well stocked if you don't want to use the Carrefour in Luz. As a cyclist, the availability of so many Pyrenean monuments to ride makes this a definite must for a return trip! Stop for Crepes in La Coquelle restaurant as you descend the Tourmalet....awesome!!!”
Mike from London, UK
Modern, spacious condo in a great town – June 2012
“My husband and I shared this condo with a few friends and loved it. It would also be great for a family. It has everything that you need - nice kitchen, large dining table, TV, multiple bathrooms/showers and a balcony. We love the little town of Bareges - there is an awesome restaurant right on the corner near the condo. We did not take advantage of the thermal spa, but that looked nice. There are many great hiking trails within walking distance of the condo. The owner and the local property manager are really accomodating and made everything easy.”
Amy from San Francisco, California, USA