/ UK to Ariege, tips and interesting stops?
Am planning a 3 week trip from the UK this August, driving to Ariege and then over into Spain, and then back again to the UK.
Am thinking one night somewhere in mid-France on the way down and back and then 2 or so weeks in Ariege and the Pyrenees with a few days excursion in Barcelona to see some friends.
Aim is a relaxing holiday, some easy sport climbing (6a+ max) maybe some long multi-pitch sport routes, lots of wine drinking and cheese eating and lying in the sun and swimming. Have a van that we can sleep in, but intend to maybe book a week at one of the places in Ariege that's friendly to climbers.
Any tips, suggestions, interesting places to stop and visit - either on the way down or when there?
Unless you're Fontainebleauing en route I'd recommend keeping well west of Paris on a road past Dreux and Evreux. A lot less traffic and relatively few tolls on that route.
As for accommodation you'll need to book very soon as everywhere's pretty full up now. I think we have the odd week or so available in one place but we're mostly full now and I suspect the others to be similarly busy.
Thanks. Have no interest in bouldering so will steer clear of Paris. Will try and get some time booked in asap, although probably won't be able to for a couple of weeks yet as I'm out of the UK for work.
We have tended to go Southampton > St Malo which is an overnight crossing, leaving St Malo at 08:30 and you can be in Ariège for Teatime!
Oh thanks, was thinking Dover/Calais as a default, but that sounds better.
Getting quoted £300 each way!? Is that about right? Seems bloody loads.
Possibly - we tend to go at the back end of the year.
In terms of stuff to do on the way down / back up, you could do worse than a stop in Poitiers for futuroscope; or perhaps Ceou (sp?) in the Dordogne. Fantastic little campsite right under the crag, with a swimming river, decent facilities and stella on tap.
In the Ariege, check out climbariege, just west of Foix.
Ceou sounds lovely, where can I find details about that? Climb AAriege looks great too, will maybe plan a stay there! Thanks.
There's an entry for Ceou on this site's crag directory. I *think* it was the old Rock Climbing in France guide that we used (not at home, and can't remember for sure), but you can get a topo at the campsite, and the short path to the crag literally goes from behind reception. It's near Castellnaud, and is pretty handy for a halfway stop that doesn't feel like a wasted couple of days. Be warned, it gets pretty hot there in the middle of summer, and the crag faces west - so morning cragging. It's also quite high in places and you need a 60m rope to get the best out of it, if not a 70m.
The only downside is that the surrounding areas are heavily infested with rich Brit holidaymakers in their Chelsea tractors; fortunately, none of them camp, so the site at Maisonneuve is very pleasant. Definitely worth a stop - the kids rated it as one of the highlights of our trip last year.
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