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South of France: Pyrenees to Coast

 Up for the challenge? This runcation will fully immerse you in the unrivaled run paradise of the South of France. You’ll spend your days exploring this exhilarating region on single track trails. You’ll navigate rocky trails and soak in sweeping vistas of the Pyrenees and Mount Canigou. You’ll set up camp in the heart of Le Racou a fisherman’s village where the Pyrenees meet the Mediterranean. You’ll tread through charming villages and the coastal wineries of Côte Vermeille. Get ready to push your limits everyday on 20k stages featuring steep optional challenges. You’ll be rewarded at every turn and leave with a full understanding of French Art De Vivre.

2020 Dates: June 6th – 13th
Price: $2,200 $2,000 (deposit $500)

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This expedition in a nutshell

 

  • Transfers from/to Barcelona (biggest nearest airport) and all local transportations
  • 8 days, 7 nights
  • 6 runs and ascents fully guided and supported, 90% of single track trails
  • 120km, 3000d+ (ajustable for all levels) around Pyrenees and Mediterranean sea
  • Wine tasting (because it’s France), Yoga class, boat trip, kayaking and a full blend of activities
  • 5 nights in unique traditional Villa Jaume in Le Racou
  • 2 nights in mountain huts

Some testimonials

  • The runs were perfectly fitted for all participants, as the group was composed of ultra-trailers and casual+ runners.
  • Shoutout also to the wonderful work put in the day of the medieval mountain towns.
  • Run, food, culture, they brought it all.
  • Thanks to Pablo and Pierre for this perfect week. The team was amazing. 
  • They put a lot of efforts designing the stages to bring in every run 1 Castle or monastery and 1 beautiful vineyard.
  • To sum up, this runcation gave us exactly what we needed and much more.

More testimonials

PRICE INCLUDES

  • Airport transfers and all transportation during the expedition
  • Accommodation at the unique Villa Jaume (based on twin/double shared rooms. If you want a single room add $500 for the week) and 2 nights in a mountain hut
  • Breakfasts, packed lunchs, dinners and wine along the expedition. Please detail dietary requirements in advance.
  • Equipment for all adventures
  • Local guides & Photographer
  • Daily activities

PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE

  • International flights to Barcelona
  • Personal travel and medical insurance
  • Energy gels and electrolytes (even if we provide some local snacks to fuel on the runs)

Week Overview
For this trip, you’ll have to join us and the rest of Albera-runners in Barcelona, which is the biggest airport near the traveling region. Depending on your arrival, you’ll meet us in one of the 2 pick-up points: at a gathering in a healthy Catalan restaurant, or directly at the airport, for a 2h drive.
The base camp (a wonderful accommodation) will be located in Le Racou, a fisherman’s village and a wonderful vintage beach. From there, we will be able to hit most of the highlights of the week, within a suitable commute time: less than 1 hour most of the days, always less than 2 hours.

We will run through the eastern part of the Pyrenees, where the mountains meets the Mediterranean Sea. This will provide you a lot of time with a wonderful view along the Côte Vermeille and its jewel town: Collioure. During the middle of the week, we will pack light and go for a 3-days expeditions in higher mountains, climbing (among other) the mystic Mount Canigou (more than 2700m high), riding a train across the mountains, run-visit two medieval fortified towns & a castle and spending two nights in Mountain huts.
All of these stages will be embedded in southern French culture, cuisine and wine. For this trip, we won’t need locals, because we are the locals.
Activities include: Sailing boat, stand-up paddle, medieval towns and castles tours, vineyard guided tour and wine tasting,…

Detailed itinerary

2 pick-up stations in Barcelona with a departure at 2PM:
– City center: for people that chose to arrive earlier, we arrange a gathering in a healthy flexitarian restaurant in the morning.
Airport: for people arriving in the morning, departure is planned at 2PM. So please make sure to book a flight that lands before 1PM.

We will then hit the road to France. After 2 hours we will reach French territory, in Le Racou, a fisherman’s village at the heart of the Côte Vermeille. We will set camp for the week in the beautiful Villa Jaume, and prepare for the welcoming diner.
Run: optional – to test your abilities on the trails
Meals: LD

After the mandatory breakfast, we’ll go from the Villa to Le Rimbau, a beautiful picturesque 20 houses town where we’ll start the running day. From there, we’ll head straight up to the Madeloc tower (650m+, with an option to cut earlier) from where we’ll enjoy both the view on the Côte Vermeille, and all Collioure vineyards. We’ll begin the descent to Banyuls-Sur-Mer, another picturesque small town, from where we’ll begin our way back to Paulilles. These last 4km through a coastal track and terraced vineyards are delightful, especially the Paulilles small beach. From there, you’ll be able to enjoy lunch on the greatest restaurant, in the middle of a vineyard, 30 meters away from the sea. 
Run: 18-23k ; up to +850m gain
Meals: BLD

Let’s go for higher paths ! We’ll get up early to head to the higher GR10 and start our 3 days mountain trip. The run will start with an runnable 11k before an ascent of 9k where we’ll learn the importance of Mount Canigou in the region. We will have a full view over the whole area of the week. W’ell finally head down to Vernet-Les-Bains (thermal city) to find comfort in a hotel
Run: 30k ; +2000m gain
Meals: BLD 

After this long run/climb, we will head in the higher mountains area to actively recover around SPA activities, a visit of a Monastery up in the mountains, or the tour of an impressive medieval town. During this day, you will get to know more about each other, and to learn a lot more about the South of France History.
You will spend the night in a mountain hut in a “lost in the world” atmosphere.
Run: optional – flat by the beach in the morning

Meals: BLD 

Starting directly from the mountain hut where you spent the night, you will accomplish the toughest and most uncommon run of the week: a descending trail run on the border ridge between France and Spain. Passing between the two countries a dozen of times, you will enjoy the view over the whole area in both countries. Globally descending (-1700m descent), this run will also offer some elevation (+700m). Passing through an impressive defense tower, and an amazing castle & vineyard run to finish directly at the Villa.

Run: 23k ; +700m gain
Meals: BLD 

Because the Catalan culture has a great influence in our French area, because our runcations are about discovering new areas, and also because Cadaqués is one of the most beautiful cities of Spain, we’ve decided to include in this trip the most beautiful 100% coastal track race at the most eastern point of the Pyrenees. Featuring little deserted beaches, a picturesque (very) little port town, Dali’s house and of course the amazing bay of Cadaqués. The exploration would be incomplete without some Spanish meals for the day…

Run: 7-20k ; up to +400m gain
Meals: BLD 

Running directly from the Villa, we will start the run by going to the Château de Valmy (amazing castle and wonderful vineyard) and will run the first part in road and dirt roads, to pass by not one but 2 mountain churches. After learning more about their importance, we will start the descent back to Le Racou. From here, the road to Collioure (French most beautiful town) is 5km through a coastal track worth every effort, the finish line being on the beach. This medieval picturesque town, with terraced vineyards will host you for the afternoon before a way-back in a traditional local boat to the Villa.
Run: 8-18k ; +400m gain
Meals: BLD

We’ll get up early to head back to Barcelona, where our trip ends. We will be at the airport at 8AM and then have a city drop-off for those who want to stay further in this amazing city (who will be provided with a lot of tips and running paths 😉 ).
Run:  :'(
Meals: B 

Useful information

All levels are welcome, as long as you consider yourself a runner. Daily run maximums are showed under stages details, and there are no minimum required nor time restrictions. No daily run is mandatory. Easier runs options are available any day (except for one) for recovery.

Running equipment: a detailed list will be provided 3 months before the trip starts, but no specific equipment is required for this expedition. 

The price for this trip is $2,200
A $500 deposit is required to secure your spot.

  • 91+ days from the trip start date : Deposits are non-refundable
  • 61-91 days from the trip start date: 50% of total payment refunded**
  • 60 days or less from the trip start date: No refunds

**This only applies to participants who have paid their balances on time. If you do not pay the balance by the due date and cancel after the fact, we will retain your full deposit

During this trip, you will experience 2 different accommodations: 
– 5 nights in a wonderful Villa (Villa Jaume, Argeles sur Mer) with a big garden, a swimming pool, 300m away from the a little calm beach. Normal price is for a shared “twin” room. Supplement available for a private room.
– 1 night in a 3* hotel in Vernet Les Bains (thermal little mountain town) – Hotel Princess
– 1 night in a mountain hut “Chalet de l’Albera”, that is designed for hikers crossing the Pyrenees through the GR10 (marked trail, from the Sea to the Ocean).

The group size limit for this trip is 14. In addition, you will be accompanied each day by 2 or 3 guides, with at least the 2 founders of Albera. The ratio runner / guide is maintained under 1/6. 

  • For US citizen: passport must be valid for at least three months beyond your planned date of departure from Barcelona or other European airport – more info here
  • For citizen from Schengen space, no specific requirement is needed
  • For other, we invite you to check with your consulate for entrance/departure requirements, some useful info here 

Why South of France ?
This expedition is very particular for us, because it’s our homeland. Exiling ourselves in other regions of the world, we wanted this area to be the first on our expeditions’ list. This particular area has the advantage of pairing wonderful elements: famous terraced vineyards from Collioure & unique Medieval towns ; the end of the Pyrenees mountains and the Mediterranean Sea on one of it’s most beautiful place (Côte Vermeille) ; French art de vivre with traditional Catalan culture.
We will make you belong.

Why do we land in Barcelona ?
Barcelona is the biggest airport in the expedition’s area. From there, we ensure that most of the citizen of the world can join us in a 1-stop flight. Also, we heard that Barcelona was a nice city, some of you might enjoy an early arrival and/or late departure…

What’s included in the trip cost?
The trip price includes pre-trip communication, airport transfers from/to Barcelona, all accommodation during the trip (5 nights in a wonderful Villa, 2 nights in traditional mountain huts), all meals (BLD) & snacks, hot beverages & juice with breakfasts, water and some local snacks for the runs. Transportation, drivers, experienced guides (us), for organized & supported runs and an Albera Expeditions backpack & goodies shirt. To sum up, pretty much everything is provided between Barcelona & Barcelona ! For travelers wanting to discover Barcelona and the surroundings, we will provide you with some useful tips, do not hesitate to ask !

What isn’t included in the trip cost?
The cost does not include your flights to/from Barcelona & travel insurance. Why ? Because runners are coming from all around the world, and everyone will have a different schedule and travel expectations. However, if needed, we can set you up with a local travel agency that will provide you exactly what you’ll need.

2020 Dates: June 6th – 13th

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