Just a short plane hop or a day on a train from the UK, the French Pyrenees offer the scope for family holidays amidst spectacular mountain scenery, friendly villages, world-famous caves with pre-historic wall-paintings, rich wildlife, castles, monasteries and Romanesque churches. Traditional lifestyles are still much in evidence, with the mountain meadows grazed by cows and sheep, which in turn make the delicious local cheeses, and there is fabulous walking and other outdoor activities.
Things to do with kids in the French Pyrenees
Take wonderful walks in the spectacular mountain regions, strolling through meadows, picnicking by crystal-clear streams, waterfalls and mountain lakes, or even scaling peaks.
Encounter the region's abundant wildlife. On the highest slopes you may spot a herd of goat-like Pyrenean chamois, or isard, with small pointed horns. There are also deer, wild boar, foxes, marmots and even a small number of very shy bears! Look up and you may see the impressive griffon vulture circling overhead.
Explore fascinating prehistoric caves, great castles, and beautiful Romanesque churches and monasteries. Discover pretty towns and villages, with wonderful markets of local produce.
If you are feeling energetic, go mountain biking, horse-riding or paragliding.
In summer, you may be lucky and catch a festival, with processions and street parties, or even a glimpse of the world’s most famous bicycle race, the Tour de France.
Restaurants in the French Pyrenees warmly welcome children, making eating out on family holidays a pleasure. Traditional mountain dishes use the freshest seasonal ingredients, including fish from mountain rivers, game, wild mushrooms, local sausages, tender lamb, fresh vegetables and local cheeses. Don't miss the confit de canard (duck) or pastry croustades made with fruit and berries. Street markets, local bakers and grocers will supply mouthwatering ingredients for your picnic lunches.
Enjoying a stroll
When to go to the French Pyrenees
May to October is best for family holidays in the French Pyrenees. In the mountains, winter last until March/April. May and June are beautiful, with snow lingering picturesquely on the peaks and the meadows lush and sprinkled with wildflowers. July and August are usually warm enough for you paddle in mountain streams and lakes, and in autumn the wooded slopes are a riot of colour, with many fabulous clear days of sunshine.
Walking in the Hautes-Pyrénées
The Pyrenees is a relatively inexpensive region of France for family holidays, with generally reasonably priced accommodation and meals. If you fly with a low-cost airline, try to come during mid-week and book well in advance.
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Flying time2hrs All flight times are based on flights from UK London airports, to the capital or nearest destination airport.
Carbon footprint0.82 CO2 Estimated tonnes of CO2 produced for return flights for a family of four.
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