Buried in the folds of the jaw-dropping Cirque de Lescun is the mountain village of Lescun, a settlement that has remained essentially unchanged since the 19th century. It is home to an idyllic 120 year old stone lodge called Maison Willert.
Spread over three floors, this centrally heated house includes four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a huge kitchen & dining room, and satellite TV & DVD.
Lescun is the ideal base for exploring Pyrenees highlights such as the ancient monastic church of Notre Dame de la Pierre and the fortified town and cathedral of Jaca.
A trekker’s paradise, Lescun is an integral part of the renowned GR10 and HRP long distance footpaths. Whether you climb, hike or cycle, you’ll be able to enjoy mountain views and sunsets from the large south-facing terrace with a celebratory drink whilst tending the barbecue.
In winter, an original Bayonne fireplace welcomes you home after skiing at the nearby Winter Olympic applicant resorts of Candanchú & Astún.
Maison Willert and Lescun: 150 years ago this was a two storey lodge, with room for winter hay to feed the livestock that provided heat for the occupants.
Today, the cottage is spread over three floors, and the animals have been swapped for a modern heating system.
Nevertheless, the two hearths have been retained for people who prefer to watch a roaring fire instead of satellite television.
If you enjoy cooking, you'll love the large kitchen and dining room. (If your idea of a holiday is an untouched stove, fear not: there are several excellent restaurants in the area, including one that's a five minute stroll from the front door).
The sitting room on the first floor provides a sanctuary for reading, writing and contemplation.
Four bedrooms are spread over the first and second floors, providing plenty of privacy for eight people.
Although Lescun has retained its communal, spring-fed washing facility, tMaison Willert is equipped with a washer / dryer.
Outdoor Activities: A trekker’s paradise, Lescun is a highlight on the Grande Randonnée (GR) 10 and Haute Randonnée Pyrénéenne (HRP) long distance footpaths. The famous Chemin de la Mâture is a 15 minute drive from Lescun. This 18th century trail was hacked out of the sheer flank of the Sescoué ravine to allow trees to be harvested for the French navy, who required stout timber for masts. Rock climbing and mountaineering routes abound in the Cirque du Lescun.
Canyoning, parapente, horse riding and fly fishing are offered in the valley. La Companie de Anes in Lescun offers the opportunity for you to hire a donkey to carry your supplies into the mountains. Children can also ride a hired donkey.
The Pyrenees has a legendary association with cycle touring and the Tour de France. During the summer months, the Astún ski resort is just one of many areas popular with mountain bikers. Many of Lescun’s hiking trails can also be used by mountain bikers. Bikes can be hired in the nearby village of Bedous.
Activities for children: Aquabearn is a water park in Oloron-Sainte-Marie. It has a wave pool, a swimming pool with a current, slides, a log flume, a wading pool for toddlers and pedal boats. Open May - September. 40 minutes from Lescun.
The Aramits Adventure Park adventure park includes a children's area, bungee jumping, and challenges designed to bring out the Tarzan and Jane in everyone. 45 minutes from Lescun.
The little Artouste train, at an altitude of 2000 metres, is one of the highest trains in Europe. Built in 1924, the locomotives rattle along the side of an untouched valley on a narrow gauge track for 10 kilometres. Passengers enjoy spectacular panoramic views of the Ossau mountains and Soussouéou valley. On arrival, you can take a gentle stroll along marked paths to Artouste Lake. 2 hours from Lescun.
Any youngster ‘into’ climbing will probably enjoy a half day visit to the high ropes course called ‘Du haut de mon arbre’ in the village of Accous. 20 minutes from Lescun.
Lescun is best known as the postcard-perfect gateway to the magnificent amphitheatre of peaks from which the village takes its name. Situated in the heart of the Pyrenees at an altitude of 900 metres, this is a hamlet with a heartbeat. The centre of the vibrant community is the village shop, which sells fruit and vegetables, local cheese, and fresh croissants. Lescun is also home to the Hotel du Pic d’Anie, a handy post office, and a friendly bar that serves tasty lunches and dinners. Lescun is the ideal base for visiting historical treasures such as the monastery of San Juan de la Peña, which legend says was a protectorate of the Holy Grail. Just a short distance away is the extraordinary Chemin de la Mâture. This intriguing wave of rock was chiselled out in the 18th century to create a path down which tree trunks were carried in order to be turned into sailing masts. Another wonderful walk with spellbinding views of the cirque starts less than 50 metres from the front door.
Other Activities: Rock climbing, hiking, cycling, donkey trekking, skiing, snowshoeing, paragliding, bird watching, mountain biking.
Ski: The Somport ski circuit is a 30 minute drive from Lescun. It is situated in the heart of the Pyrenees National Park on the French border with Spain. The pistes are prepared for skating, in-line skiing and snowshoeing. There is a snack bar, a children’s play area and a rental shop.
The 2014 Olympic applicant ski resorts of Astún and Candanchú are a 10 minute drive from Somport.
The 50 pistes at Astún are spread over 39 kilometres. The majority of the runs are red and blue, making the resort perfect for intermediate skiers.
Beginners and experts will feel more at home in Candanchú, which has 59 kilometres of marked pistes and half a dozen nursery slopes. 29 of its runs are rated red or black.
Off-piste possibilities at both resorts are considerable; half a dozen routes are maintained.
Facilities include restaurants, bars, a children’s area, rental shops and a ski school.
Summer hiking routes in Lescun turn into a snowshoeing paradise in winter.