Walking in the Pyrenees Mountains


The Southern side of the solid mass of Arize, at the bottom: our departure

A valley which penetrates in the Northern side: our arrival




Extending its spine from East to West on about fifty kilometers in front of the principal chain, the imposing solid mass of Arize knew in XIXe century a significant human occupation.
The villages of the bottom of valley being over-populated, the farmers climbed its sides, seeking new grounds for their cultures and their animals. The whole of the small cleared soils thus created
a broad zone of habitats and barns very dispersed, insulated or gathering a few units.
Then came the rural migration from XXe century, the abandonment of the campaigns and in priority the most distant sites or most difficult. The forest took again its field.
And there for a few decades a reinvestment by new occupants, could have been allured by this insulation and this exuberant nature, finding quantity of buildings and grounds to be bought for a reasonable price.

This farm lost in wood names " the house of the witches " in occitan.
We are also in country of legends.
Michel and Claudine manufacture aujourdhui there an excellent goat's milk cheese.

In the need for building their buildings and shelters, and far away from the preserving pressure of the village, the farmers of then had to compose with the materials which surrounded them, and sometimes to innovate.
New come the not very fortunate ones restored houses. But when they too were in ruins or even absent, it was necessary to build, with sometimes awkward and often original solutions. And enough close relations in the spirit of those of old time.

It is with an excursion in this solid mass with the meeting of these constructions that I invite you.

The road curves at the bottom of this narrow valley while following the river. One leaves it after the bridge to take some smaller which climbs in laces on the Southern side. At the last houses one leaves the car, it will be with foot that one will continue, while climbing by this stiff path.

Be patient, it is soon
     the first stage.