Pyrenees Border Trail

Pays Basque France: (IT-FRAN07)
URL: http://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/france_basque.aspx

Introduction
Pays Basque France
The Pyrenees Border Trail is an exhilarating route, with thrilling scenery over wild valleys framed by rugged peaks, as eagles and vultures soar overhead. Discover the culture of the Pays Basque people and the reasons why they wish to live apart from France. Spend 4 days away from civilization, taking advantage of all the opportunities to approach wild herds of horses 'the Pottocks', protected by their proud stallion!

From St Jean-Pied-de-Port, former capital of Basse Navarre and Unesco World Heritage Site, to  the village of Sare, listed as one of the most beautiful villages of France, we will follow both the path of St Jacques de Compostelle and various mountain passes in the tracks of the infamous smugglers throughout the Quint region, discovering  the lovely Gulf of Gascogne in the background.

To add to our diversified scenery, two days are spent riding on endless beaches of the Atlantic Ocean, ventilated by the marine breeze. It's time to cross off beach galloping from your bucket list! Let your horse roll into the smooth gait across white sands of the Aquitaine Coast as you let worries drift away. If weather conditions permit, we will get to enjoy bathing in the ocean.

A majestic combination of mountains and sea, culture and wilderness for the experienced rider.

Accomodation

During the trek we stay in hotels and gîtes.  Sheets and towels are provided. The dinner on the first evening is not included in the price. Accommodations are based on 3-4 riders per room. If you'd like to guarantee a double/ twin/ single room, additional costs apply. No single supplement for riders willing to share!

The following Hôtels and Gites are generally used:
(This list is subject to change according to availability)
- Day 1: 3-star Gite de Charme in Saint Etienne de Baïgorry, "Amestoïa".
- Day 2: B&B Mountain Lodge "Espila" (2-4 rider to a room)
    **single supplement not possible this night and bathrooms are shared
- Day 3 & 4: 2-star Hôtel Erreguina in Banca
- Day 5, 6, & 7: 2-star guesthouse of the riding center in Mimizan


Meals
Traditional food is provided all along the stay. Dinners are paired with 2 glasses of wine, soft drinks, or coffee. Lunches are organized by the Riding Centre and wine or soft drinks are provided without restriction.

This trip includes some wine with dinner and can accommodate special dietary requests.

Riding

Riding Level
This trek requires a rather good, fit intermediate rider confident at all paces and able to ride several hours over varied and sometimes challenging terrain. This ride is of moderate pace with frequent occasions of trots and gallops. We ask riders to keep a minimum of 30 m distance between each other on the faster sections. To give more comfort, trotting or galloping is generally individually or by group of two, whether it is in forest or on the beach. Some group gallops on the beach are of course available.    

Pace
During the 6 riding days of this trip (4 days on mountain trails and 2 days on the Atlantic Coast), we cover between 30 and 40 km per day, spending between 6 and 8 hours in the saddle each day.

Horses 
We have 30 horses (mostly Anglo-Arabs) and 5 ponies. Most of them are born in our family farm.
Beauty, blood, intelligence, frankness, kindness, and generosity are the essential qualities we seek in the choice of our horses. Our horses are safe, brave and easygoing; well trained and very well-balanced. They horses live in herds in the outdoors. We take great care in providing horses with a good quality of life.

Staff
Guidance is guaranteed by qualified /certified equestrian guide of tourism (French professional certification: A.T.E., CQP ASA or BPJEPS Tourisme Équestre) having good regional knowledge and willing to let you discover the beauty of this area.

Itinerary

Sample Itinerary - Subject to changes

Day 1:  Arrival
Transfer from Bordeaux and arrival to Saint Etienne de Baïgorry and night in a 3-star Bed and Breakfast. Time to explore this old and famous city. Enjoy a typical Basque dinner at a restaurant in the middle of the historical part of Saint Jean Pied-de-Port. 

Day 2: Saint Jean Pied-de-Port - Banca
Start from Saint Jean Pied-de-Port or Saint Etienne de Baïgorry to Banca according  to  the weather. Breakfast at 8:00am and departure at 10:00am.  Discover the famous village of Saint Etienne de Baïgorry by horse. The goal is to get at the  top of the of Monhoa summit to get a 360° magnificent view of the surrounding Aldudes valley and the  ocean.  Night at mountain the guesthouse " Gîte Espila ".

Day 3: Banca- Urepel- Aldudes
Departure at 10:00am. We summit the mountain to get a spectacular view of Spain, the ridge line between France and Spain, and the pass of Lindus. The surrounding view of countryside is sure to take your breath away! We arrive to Urepel, a pictorial village of the Aldudes Valley, and night at the “hotel  Erreguina”.

Day 4: Aldudes- Banca
Departure at 10:30 am to discover the traditional life of the Basque people in the valley. Lunch is a special affair where we get to enjoy the locally-made food and wines of the Basque people. Afterwards, we ascend the Harguibel mountain on the Spain side. We come to the highlight of the trip for many- crossing the Spanish virgin forest –  an unforgettable moment! Night in Banca in the hotel Erreguina. Dinner with sampling the trouts of the Banca Valley River. 

Day 5: Banca - Saint Etienne de Baigorry - Lesperon
Departure at 10:00am to ascend and cross the pass of the Elhorrieta. We pass 'Kromlech', which are prehistoric graves before reaching the newly 360 ° view on the valleys of Spain and the ocean.  We descend towards the pass of Ispéguy. Lunch is had in a typical Spanish restaurant. We continue our descent on the thrilling the path of the smugglers towards Erratzu village. After crossing the picturesque countryside and the nearest city on horseback, it’s time to put all the horses in the truck and depart to the Atlantic Coast by bus. We stop for dinner on the way to our destination (with swimming pool) where we will spend our last 3 nights.

Day 6 and 7 : Mimizan- Contis- Mimizan
The rhythm of our ride is changing and it is the time of long and quick gallop in the largest  Forest of Europe, with often times a large view on the most beautiful beach of  France. It’s also the time of  exciting gallop on the white sand of the Aquitaine Coast. The Ride may be also on the beach on the evening of Day 7, with the sunset on the beach if  the tide is late in the evening. Last Dinner in a nice restaurant with seafood tasting or traditional local meals.

Day 8 : Departure
Transfer back to the Airport of Bordeaux with crossing the city Center if we have time before taking off !


Rates and Dates for Pyrenees Border Trail

Rates include:

Breakfast and dinner (lunch on the trail in local places) except on first and last night, all lodging in country inns and gites mostly with private shower (except 2 nights at the mountain lodge has 3-4 rider per room), 6 riding days, saddle bags, English-speaking guide

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescriptionEUR ~US$
    A
    20198 day ride, AP (High)€1540$1850
    • Single supplement (requested)€180$215
      Double/twin supplement (if you are not wanting to share with a 3rd rider), pp€105$125
  • B
    20198 day ride, AP (Low)€1460$1755
    • Single supplement (requested)€150$180
      Double/twin supplement (if you are not wanting to share with a 3rd rider), pp€70$85
The US Dollar Rate is Based on Exchange Rate of 1.2

Rates Note:

With 3 riders only : add small group supplement, or we switch to the Cote d'Argent Ride.
Accommodations in mountain hut are 3-4 riders per room and shared bathrooms

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Rates Note:

With 3 riders only : add small group supplement, or we switch to the Cote d'Argent Ride.
Accommodations in mountain hut are 3-4 riders per room and shared bathrooms


Transfer and Other Charges:



 DescriptionEUR~US$
2019 Transfer from Bordeaux airport (return, pp)
- to be paid locally
90 $110
2019 Small group supplement (3 pax), pp 200 $240

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
B 2019 05/26 - 06/02 8d / 7n 8 day ride, AP (Low) 4 /10 Expired
B 2019 06/02 - 06/09 8d / 7n 8 day ride, AP (Low) 4 /10 Expired
B 2019 06/16 - 06/23 8d / 7n 8 day ride, AP (Low) 4 /10 Expired
A 2019 06/30 - 07/07 8d / 7n 8 day ride, AP (High) 4 /10 Expired
B 2019 09/08 - 09/15 8d / 7n 8 day ride, AP (Low) 4 /10 Reserve
B 2019 09/15 - 09/22 8d / 7n 8 day ride, AP (Low) 4 /10 Reserve
B 2019 10/06 - 10/13 8d / 7n 8 day ride, AP (Low) 4 /10 Sold Out

Dates Note:

Rates do not include:

First and last night dinner.

Other Info
Meeting: Saint Etienne de Baïgorry
Airport: Bordeaux
Transfer: Bordeaux Airport

Climate:


Bayonne area

Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Average High Temperature (°F)

55

57

60

63

68

73

77

78

75

69

61

56

Average Low Temperature (°F)

41

42

45

48

53

59

62

63

59

54

46

43

Average High Temperature (°C)

13

14

16

17

20

23

25

26

24

21

16

14

Average Low Temperature (°C)

5

5

7

9

12

15

17

17

15

12

8

6

Average Precipitation (days of rain)

13

12

12

13

11

10

8

9

9

10

12

12

Source: NOAA

 

Seasons
The Basque has 2 different weather zones: one by the coast, with a Maritime climate, and the other in the south where the Mediterranean climate prevails. There is a transition area in between in the Llanada de Vitoria where the Maritime climate mixes with the Mediterranean. Temperatures are not extreme.

The best time to visit is between April and October, excluding the months of July and August which can get very crowded and hot. June is a very good time to visit, while September and October are also good months to visit. Winters tend to be wet and mild.

What To Bring:
Sheets and towels are provided at the hotels and gites. 
The riding center provides saddle bags.

Luggage is transported to your accommodations day by day with our minibus which also follows the group to provide lunch**
 
This list is only a guideline for you

 

Travel documents and Voucher
Flight tickets
Passport
Visa (check with your consulate)

 

RIDING GEAR
Comfortable riding pants or jodhpurs
Walking shoes with mini-chaps preferable to rubber boots
Riding helmet  (recommended for all trips)
Riding gloves
Hat (with chin strip) for sun protection
Lightweight waterproof/windproof coat

 

PERSONAL CLOTHING
Jacket or sweater for cool evenings
Comfortable T-Shirts/Shirts
Comfortable pants
Underwear and socks
Pyjamas
Bag for dirty clothes
Trekking boots/ comfortable shoes
Swimsuit

ADDITIONAL THINGS TO BRING
Flashlight
Personal Toiletries
Insect protection
Personal medications
Sore cream (for an emergency)
Flask
Handkerchiefs
Adapter for electric appliances
Camera and enough extra film and batteries
Belt pack
Knife
Sun glasses with strap
Sun tan lotion and lip balm