Following years of planning our French dream we moved to France in 2013. In 2012 Tim retired after 30 years as a detective in the Metropolitan Police and Jane as an office manager. Once our sons were safely ensconced in university, we started the search for our ideal mountain retreat. We had holidayed all over France and enjoyed all the different regions but the “Hautes Pyrenees” has always been our special place. We wanted a to find a house with lots of character, in a tranquil setting, near the ski resorts and surrounded by beautiful walks and were so lucky to find a home that ticked all the boxes. After a summer holiday here 10 years ago we were blown away by the outstanding natural beauty of the area. Five years ago we started skiing in the Pyrenean ski resorts and were really impressed with the quality of skiing and the small friendly ski stations, often costing much less than their equivalent alpine resorts. Ski passes, ski hire, accommodation, food and drink are all cheaper and the chair lift queues much shorter . The area is largely undiscovered to British skiers but we are keen to try and change that. There is often a Spanish feel to the resorts during the Spanish holidays as large numbers flock over the border to enjoy the French pistes. The benefits work both ways with the Spanish Pyrenees being only a short drive away offering a wealth of stunning scenery in the national parks.
Our 19th Century farmhouse is situated on the famous Col de Tourmalet cycle route and is close to a number of other cols making it a cyclist’s el dorado. We are both keen cyclists and belong to local cycling clubs. Jane is a keen horse rider and this area offers the opportunity for wonderful mountain hacks. We both love walking with Eddy, our 6 year old border Terrier, on the superb well marked mountain trails and the area takes in part of the GR10 (Grand Randonée) Mediterranean to Atlantic coast to coast marathon. The arrival of Charlie, an 8 week old Border Terrier puppy on Christmas Eve has completed the family and we’re looking forward to when he is old enough to accompany us on our long walks.
Tim is a ‘rugby man’ as they say here, rugby being a bit of a religion in these parts and another reason for choosing the South West. This year we qualified as English teachers to “Teach English as a foreign language” (TEFL) and are pleased to be hosting French students with us, learning English and enjoying all the local year round activities.
We feel very privileged to have the opportunity to live in such a beautiful place and are keen to share our good fortune, our location and home with others to experience what the Pyrenees have to offer.