Autumn walk around Payolle lake

Payolle
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Autumn walk around Pa ...
While waiting to put on your skis and enjoy the good hot chocolates by the fire, the Pyrenees unveil a sublime palette of autumn colors to the delight of hiking enthusiasts . Between its mountains , lakes and forest massifs , this season we rediscover landscapes from a new angle, featuring shades of orange made up of a thousand and one shades. At the foot of the Col d'Aspin and the Pic du Midi de Bigorre , the Payolle plateau offers sumptuous mountain landscapes around its lake, streams, a breathtaking view of a forest of imposing fir trees and lush pastures. What to succumb to the magic of autumn and take a good breath of fresh air during an invigorating walk with friends!

Discover the Lac de Payolle

Payolle lake


Payolle lake

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Like many hikers who visit the Pyrenees, fall is my favorite season to admire the colorful forests, the sky laden with cottony clouds and the mountainsides as far as the eye can see. Passing through Arreau and looking for wide open spaces, we follow the advice of the locals who recommend us to go and discover the nearby Payolle lake , nestled at the bottom of the Payolle cirque at the foot of the Col d'Aspin and the Hourquette d 'Ancizan, perched at an altitude of 1140 m. Renowned for its admirable landscapes , it is indeed an essential site of the natural heritage of the central Pyrenees, appreciated by families, young people, athletes and nature lovers of all generations!

Accessible by car and popular with locals as well as vacationing tourists, this 10-hectare artificial lake is discovered through a circular walk of about an hour. Located in the center of one of the most beautiful fir forests in the Pyrenees punctuated by large grazed plateaus, this exceptional site is rightly nicknamed "the little Canada of the Pyrenees". Its lake is fed by the Sarraoute and Morère streams which give the place a bucolic atmosphere.

Payolle lakePayolle lake


Payolle lake


A great playground for adventure and play

On arriving at Payolle lake, the large parking lot that welcomes visitors is the starting point for many marked hiking trails (towards Plo del Naou or Lake Arrou) and mountain biking trails . The short hike on the trail around the lake runs alongside forests and meadows where dairy cows graze in perfect freedom. According to tastes and seasons, this walk in the middle of nature can be done on foot, by bike, on horseback , in dog sleds , cross-country skiing or snowshoeing . The terrain, suitable for everyone, allows families with small children to use a stroller to fully enjoy a moment of relaxation. This route invites us to several breaks to admire the majestic peaks of the mountains that face us.

Payolle lake

Payolle lakePayolle lake

Payolle lake


On the shores of the lake, tourist residences blend into the landscape, offering grandiose panoramas over the Arbizon massif , the Arcouade and the Pic du Midi .

In summer, the nautical base just in front of these small chalets offers various activities on the water: rental of canoes , pedal boats , stand-up-paddle boards and kayaks to discover the richness of its flora and fauna while respecting the particular environment of this medium altitude forest pond.

Rent a canoe, pedal boat, paddle board, or kayak at Aneto Sports during the summer season!Payolle lake

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Fisherman's paradise

Payolle lake


Payolle lake


The lake is part of the tourist fishing route and the equipped pontoons allow accessibility to all. During the trip, it is common to meet fishermen trying to catch local species of fish such as the plunging prick , the Pyrenean desman or the brown trout . To tease these fish, it is necessary to pay for a day ticket to fish on this course, at the price of 8 €. Seasoned fishermen or beginners, you can get this compulsory card in the various points of sale of the AAPPMA de Campan (in Grand Tarbes, Lourdes, Bagnères-de-Bigorre, Gerde, Campan, La Séoube or even in Payolle).


Surprising encounters ...

Payolle lakePayolle lake

Payolle lakePayolle lake

As you walk around the Payolle plateau, you will find signs of intense pastoral activity , a tradition that takes advantage of the environment and animals while showing them immense respect. Even though cows grant themselves the privilege of lounging in children's play areas, getting too close to animals is still dangerous. Be vigilant and be careful not to annoy them!

Nice walk!

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Lunch at the Marmottes de Payolle restaurant

Lunch at the Marmottes de Payolle restaurant


In Payolle, The Toulouse Pyrenees Guide recommends these two restaurants:



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Article and photos prepared by Lesley Williamson


 


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