Located in the beautiful countryside of the Lannemezan Plateau to the East of Tarbes, this 150 year old Maison d'Maitre lies in the heart of a region famed for it's gastronomy (Pate de Fois Gras) it's wine (Madiran) and it's spectacular Pyrenean mountain scenery. Today the Pyrenees remains a haven of unspoiled natural beauty, where you can still stand alone on a rugged mountaintop. This delightful Small and intimate hideaway offers 5 bright and spacious bedrooms with superb bathrooms, all with a charming mix of original décor and modern amenities. La Joie de Vivre is full of surprises, the most noticeable of which is this happy blend of old and new, huge original fireplaces and exquisite parquetry floors contrast with eye-catching fabrics and furniture, crisp linen and heaps of cushions enhance the sense of comfort. In the summer breakfast and dinner (on request) can be taken on the terrace overlooking the mature grounds. Using only fresh produce from the local markets, your meals and accompanying wine will introduce you to the bouquets and tastes of country France. Informal relaxing elegance and an altogether unique French experience awaits you.
Cycling (Road & MTB)
The Hautes Pyrenees region of France has a superb network of minor roads and minimal traffic outside the towns and off the major routes. The range of landscapes is immense from leafy and domestic to glacier topped high mountains. The routes that you will have access to from La Joie de Vivre are unashamedly rural, and will not only offer you rides from easy to strenuous but will also introduce you to some of the immense variety of the areas landscape and it's people. We are just as happy to point you in the right direction with maps, as we are to accompany you on your chosen ride.
Du Tourmalet: Possibly one of the most famous climbs in all of
France the Col Du Tourmalet is the highest of the French Pyrenean
road cols and features frequently on the route of the Tour de
France. The road over the Col du Tourmalet presents two very distinct
aspects, the Eastern approach with it's early wooded sections
and it's spectacular open views and the Western side which is
much wilder, with deep rocky ravines and reputedly the fastest
descent in the whole of France.
d'Aspin: Local knowledge means that instead of you taking the
main route to the top of this most famous of climbs we will direct
you via the Hourquette d'Ancizan. One of the lesser known central
Pyrenean cols, it is a little higher than the Aspin and combines
a whole variety of aspects. Climbing the side of a glacial valley
through mixed forest the road emerges to extensive views backwards
towards the peaks on the Spanish border. The descent is through
broad meadows and the shade of Beechwood with the clamour of cowbells
ringing in your ears.
de Gavernie: A glacial valley with the lower part having a moderate
gradient and set in verdant fields separated by curtains of Poplars.
As you get closer to the village of Gavernie the pitch becomes
a little steeper with waterfalls cascading down into the Gave
de Gavernie on either side of the road. A short walk will bring
you to the awe inspiring site of the Cirque de Gavernie, a sheer
wall of rock rears up to 3248m in front of you and melt waters
tumble from the steep cliffs, an unforgettable sight.
Other less strenuous rides across rolling pastureland can be accessed from La Joie de Vivre's front door by setting off in any direction other than south.
those guests that would like to bring their mountain bikes, we
can access many heart-stopping descents and some heart thumping
climbs following old shepherds' roads, challenging single-track
and twisting forestry trails.
Walking in the stunning mountain scenery of the French Pyrenees can be accessed easily from La Joie de Vivre, with the highlights being glacial lakes and waterfalls, peaks and high ridges and many varied flowers and wildlife with some extremely pretty villages known as 'bastides' nestled amongst the mountains. Several of the most beautiful walks are found within the Parc National des Pyrenees and these include:
of Gavarnie and the nearby crater Cirque de Troumouse is a world
heritage site with a spectacular 1,000 ft waterfall, which is
a visual feast.
du Gaube is an exceptionally blue lake with an amazing mountain
d'Espagne and the Marcadau Valley is a large pine valley filled
with some superb mountain views across to Spain.
Valley is one of the more beautiful Pyrenean valleys near the
Cirque of Gavarnie.
de Betharram caves are full of interesting water formed rock formations.
is an historically important religious mecca for Christians who
wish to visit the Grotto of Massabielle.
fishing is exceptionally diverse, ranging from small mountain
streams to fast-flowing rivers to high altitude lakes accessible
only by foot. Some of the lakes and rivers are stocked, but those
higher up contain mainly wild, brown trout. Fishing is popular
among local inhabitants but has not yet become a tourist industry
For those who have never fished before but would like to try,
there are numerous privately run "parcours de pÍche"
where the uninitiated can rent equipment and (if lucky) cook and
eat their catch at the picnic areas provided.
non-fishers who like long walks, photography or watercolor painting
will equally appreciate the areas of natural beauty that are frequented
by the fisherman.
The quiet roads and forest tracks around La Joie de Vivre offer a peaceful training ground for anyone looking for an easy morning jog, a hilly interval session or a long training run. Whether you are a roadie or a fell runner, we are able to provide maps to some of the best and quietest running you will have ever experienced.
Eleven of the best French Pyrénées skiing and winter sports resorts are less than one hour from La Joie de Vivre