Pyrenees Border Trail

Pays Basque France: (IT-FRAN07)
URL: https://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. 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! Discover the culture of the Pays Basque people and the reasons why some of them wish to live apart from France.

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

Accommodation
This is a progressive ride so nights will be spent in different locations.

Description
During the trek we stay in hotels and gîtes with private bathrooms (except for the accommodation in the Mountain Lodge Espila) and free Wi-Fi access. Bed sheets and towels are always provided. 
Laundry can be done in Mimizan for an extra fee.

Accommodation Itinerary - subject to changes based on availability
- Day 1: Gite "Amestoïa" in Saint Etienne de Baïgorry
- Day 2: Mountain Lodge "Espila"
- Day 3 & 4: Hôtel Erreguina in Banca
- Day 5, 6, & 7: Guesthouse in Mimizan

Gite "Amestoïa" in Saint Etienne de Baïgorry
This 15th-century house is set in the heart of the Basque country, and features the typical architecture of the area. It offers views of the surrounding hillsides and vineyards. Each room has its own décor and includes free Wi-Fi as well as a private bathroom with a shower and free toiletries.

Mountain Lodge "Espila"  (2-4 rider per room) - single supplement not possible this night and bathrooms are shared
This charming house is located in the middle of the mountains, at 800m above water and enjoys beautiful views over the surroundings. Isolated, it offers calm and wide-open spaces. The house has 3 bedrooms able to host up to 7 people (usually 3-4 riders per room). Bathrooms are shared. The house has a TV, free Wi-Fi access and heating.

Hôtel Erreguina in Banca
This charming hotel offers 16 tastefully decorated bedrooms, all fitted with a TV, air conditioning, free Wi-Fi access and a private bathroom.

Guesthouse in Mimizan
The guesthouse has 5 bedrooms with a total capacity of 15 people. The bedrooms are tastefully decorated and provide guests with a comfortable bed. Every room comes with its own bathroom and internet access. There is also an outdoor swimming pool where guest can cool off.
If we do not have enough space, single riders will stay in a hotel on Mimizan Beach or at another guesthouse close to the riding center.

Room Occupancy
Accommodations are based on 3-4 riders per room. If you would like to guarantee a double/ twin/ single room, additional costs apply.
No single supplement for riders willing to share!


Meals
All meals are included in this trip except for dinner on Day 1.
Traditional food is provided whenever possible.

Dinners are usually taken at restaurants or hotels and include 2 glasses of wine, or 2 soda drinks, with tea & coffee.
Lunches are often taken on the trail and include wine and soft drinks.

Dietary Restrictions
We can cater to most dietary restrictions with prior notice.

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 (you might have to lead your horse at some point). 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 (Sunday):  Arrival
Transfer from Bordeaux to Mimizan and pick up of all clients in Mimizan for the transfer to Saint Etienne de Baïgorry. Time to explore this old and famous city. Enjoy a typical Basque dinner at a restaurant in the middle of the historical quarter of Saint Jean Pied-de-Port. 
Meals included: none
Overnight at Gite "Amestoïa" in Saint Etienne de Baïgorry


Day 2 (Monday): Saint Etienne de Baïgorry to 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. Our ride leads us to the top of the of Monhoa summit, where we get a 360° view of the surrounding Aldudes valley and the ocean. 
Riding approx. 5.5 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at "Gîte Espila" near Banca


Day 3 (Tuesday): Banca to Urepel
Departure at 10:00am. We ride from summit to summit to get a spectacular views of Spain. We will ride along the ridge line between France and Spain, going through the Ronçevaux Pass and Natural fortification of Lindus (1300 m above sea level). You get a magnificent 360° view on the surrounding: Quint country and Spain. After our lunch break (around 2pm) on top of the mountains, we reach the a picturesque village of Urepel (Aldudes Valley) around 6pm.
Riding approx. 6 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Hotel Erreguina


Day 4 (Wednesday): Urepel to Banca
Departure at 10:30 am to discover the traditional life of the Basque people. We will see shepherds taking care of their Kintoa pork (often black & white, this breed was saved from extinction about 20 years ago). 
For lunch, we will go to a restaurant and taste some of the local specialties as well as local wine. We start riding around 2:30 pm and start with the ascent of the Harguibel mountain on the Spanish side. We come to the highlight of the trip for many: crossing the Spanish virgin forest, an unforgettable moment!
We should arrive in Banca around 6:30pm. For dinner, we will sample the famous trouts of the Banca Valley River. 
Riding approx. 4 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Hotel Erreguina


Day 5 (Thursday): Banca to Saint Etienne de Baigorry
Departure at 10:00am to ascend and cross the pass of El Elhorrieta. On our way, we pass 'Kromlech', which are prehistoric graves dating from 22000 years BC. Once we reach the top of the mountain, we get a 360 ° view over France, Spain and the ocean. We then descend towards the pass of Ispéguy.
Lunch is taken in a typical Spanish restaurant around 12:30 pm. After the break, around 3:30 pm, we continue our descent on the thrilling 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 minibus (around 5:30 pm).
We stop for dinner (around 8:30 pm) on the way to Mimizan, where we will spend our last nights. Arrival at Mimizan should be around 10 pm.
Riding approx. 4 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Guesthouse in Mimizan


Day 6 and 7 (Friday and Saturday): Ride around Mimizan
The rhythm of our ride is changing and it is the time to enjoy long and quick gallops in tone of the largest Forest of Europe. At times, we have a view over the nearby beaches. We will also have time for an exciting gallop on the white sand beach of the Aquitaine Coast.
On the evening of Day 7, we might be able to ride on the beach again for sunset (schedule depends on tide times).
Our last dinner is spent in a nice restaurant featuring seafood and other traditional meals from the area.
Riding approx. 5 hours daily
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Guesthouse in Mimizan


Day 8 (Sunday): Departure
Transfer back to the Bordeaux with crossing of the city Center if we have time!
Meals included: Breakfast


Rates and Dates for Pyrenees Border Trail

Rates include:

Accommodations, All meals except on first night & 6 riding days
The riding center provides saddle bags, helmet, sticks and chaps on request

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescriptionEUR ~US$
    A
    20208 day ride, AP (High)€1540$1740
    • Single supplement (requested)€210$240
      Double/twin supplement, pp€105$120
  • B
    20208 day ride, AP (Low)€1480$1675
    • Single supplement (requested)€170$195
      Double/twin supplement, pp€70$80
The US Dollar Rate is Based on Exchange Rate of 1.13

Rates Note:

With 3 riders only : add small group supplement, or we switch to the Cote d'Argent Ride.

* 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.


Transfer and Other Charges:



 DescriptionEUR~US$
2020 Transfer from Bordeaux airport or train station (return, pp)
- to be paid locally
90 $105
2020 Small group supplement (3 pax), pp 200 $230

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
B 2020 05/17 - 05/24 8d / 7n 8 day ride, AP (Low) 4 /10 Expired
B 2020 05/31 - 06/07 8d / 7n 8 day ride, AP (Low) 4 /10 Expired
B 2020 06/14 - 06/21 8d / 7n 8 day ride, AP (Low) 4 /10 Expired
A 2020 06/28 - 07/05 8d / 7n 8 day ride, AP (High) 4 /10 Expired
B 2020 09/06 - 09/13 8d / 7n 8 day ride, AP (Low) 4 /10 Reserve
B 2020 09/13 - 09/20 8d / 7n 8 day ride, AP (Low) 4 /10 Sold Out
B 2020 10/04 - 10/11 8d / 7n 8 day ride, AP (Low) 4 /10 Reserve

Dates Note:

Rates do not include:

First night dinner, Gratuities & Transfers from/to Bordeaux

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