France/Spain border areas

Old Apr 20th, 2005, 03:57 PM
  #1  
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France/Spain border areas

Other than the Basque areas, where should we visit if we don't just want isolated mountainous areas with nothing but wilderness, scenery and ski resorts? Frankly, if I wanted that I'd go to the Rockies. We want to know we are in Europe with its charming small towns and rural areas rather than just wilderness. We'll be visiting in late spring. I've been doing a lot of research on the Pyrenees and am starting to think that perhaps the true mountains will not fit my bill. Am I better off doing the foothills areas if I want a mix of outdoor activities and real French or Spanish towns rather than just ski type resorts? Or perhaps there are some valleys that fit my idea. If you've visited the area anywhere from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic please give me your comments. Also, what would you say are the differences between the French side and the Spanish side as far as terrain, vegetation, small villages etc.? I also am not at all interested in beach resorts or any areas that have turned into nothing but newly built holiday homes. Thanks.
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Old Apr 20th, 2005, 05:04 PM
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rex
 
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I can only comment on a limited portion of the Mediterranean side...

I absolutely loved Seu d'Urgell - - but this was many years ago, now! even before the 1992 (Barcelona) Olympics! - - authentic, and very 13th-14th century, in the foothills, en route towards Andorra.

Andorra is mostly "skippable", a tax-free "attention-Kmart-shoppers"postage stamp haven of a "country".

I also liked the rather roller-coaster drive down the French side from Andorra to Perpignan (there was almost no sign of any habitation for nearly ninety miles down that very cool mountain road) - - but from there, I hopped on a train, and headed further east, to Sete, and beyond - - so I can't tell you more about "French Catalunya".

I suppose this does not encourage you to continue to delve, hoping to find some "real" Pyrenees culture (as opposed to just geography) - - I hope others have additional tidbits to add.

Best wishes,

Rex
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Old Apr 21st, 2005, 09:04 AM
  #3  
rex
 
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topping...
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Old Apr 21st, 2005, 11:30 AM
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Agreed on skipping Andorra. But there are lots of "charming small towns" throughout the Pyrenees. We stayed near Seix for a week and had many pleasant hikes. Take a look at

http://www.ifrance.com/otsiseix/page5.html

The area around Prades has Canigou and you can drive to a lot of spots. A weekend lunch at L'Hostal--out in the country--and eating grilled snails should fulfill some fantasies, and it's inexpensive. Further over there are places like Amelie-les-Bains

http://www.amelie-les-bains.com/publ...ueil/index.php

which puts you into driving range of places like Ceret (good museum), Perpignan, and the very attractive coast town of Collioure

http://www.collioure.com

On the other side of the border, Torla is a small town near the national part of Odessa, which has both easy and difficult walks/hikes.

http://www.aragonesasi.com/huesca/torla/index.php

We found a reasonable nice place here with demi-pension in 1999.

Put "Pyrenees books" without the quotation marks in Google and you can find any number of good guide books.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2005, 02:22 PM
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Thanks to you both. Any other thoughts from anyone?
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