Baptism of paragliding above Lake Génos-Loudenvielle : an experience to live!

Génos
Baptism of paraglidin ...
Thrills, grandiose panoramas, harmony with the elements of nature...

What if you finally dared to go paragliding on your next vacation in the Pyrenees? Much gentler than the parachute jump, the paragliding flight allows you to contemplate incredible landscapes from very high while soaring in the air, carried by the updrafts. On a fabulous site for the practice of this discipline, the School of Parapente Virevolte opens the doors to the Pyrenean sky, to the discovery of one of the natural wonders of the region : the Louron valley and the Génos-Loudenvielle lake.

Paragliding

Génos Loudenvielle lake, a 32 ha lake

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Virevolte : the paragliding school of the Louron Valley  

For novices, the first paragliding flight is an adventure full of the unknown. We decide to take up this challenge between friends and book our baptism in tandem flight, with a renowned school located on the shores of Lake Génos-Loudenvielle : one of the most popular places in France for the practice of this aerial sport.

In the heart of the Hautes-Pyrénées, the Louron Valley is an ideal place for paragliding because it combines perfect aerological and technical conditions. Indeed, this site exposed to air currents benefits from an excellent thermal efficiency. In addition, this valley is surrounded by mountains whose flanks and rounded summits offer multiple take-off areas and many flight options depending on the direction of the wind, the different altitudes or the level of learning of the discipline.

In addition to its many practical assets, the Louron Valley seduces paragliding enthusiasts with the beauty of the grandiose landscapes of the Pyrenees and Spain which stretch as far as the eye can see. It is not surprising that this site has become, with the installation of the School of Paragliding Virevolte in 1992, a real meeting point for enthusiasts and professionals of the discipline... and quite naturally, neophytes like us, curious to experience new sensations at an altitude of 2000 meters supervised by experts in the field!  

Thrills and breathtaking panoramas  

Paragliding

We meet our instructors and a dozen other participants in front of the wooden hut of Virevolte, near the vast landing field near the lake. We get to know Olivier, the director of the paragliding school affiliated to the French Federation of Free Flight (FFVL) as well as with state-certified instructors who accompany us in tandem on these initiation flights. My instructor is called Julien and after many years of experience, he still takes great pleasure in sharing the joys of a first paragliding flight with beginners!

Paragliding   Paragliding Paragliding


We then board a shuttle to go to the Crêtes d'Azet, the take-off station for the day. After a 10-minute drive, we arrive on sloping terrain at an altitude of 1700 m. The 360 degree panorama is splendid. It is now a question of deploying the paraglider, putting on the harness and equipping yourself by following the instructor's instructions. Julien briefs me on the weather conditions, on the safety instructions and the course of the flight. He then installs the wing of the paraglider and clings to me. We set off and run downhill. Facing the wind, the wing of the paraglider takes off and takes us gently. The Liberty is for us !

Paragliding   Paragliding
Paragliding   Paragliding

Very quickly, we gain height thanks to the thermal breeze. The vision of the void around us is impressive but the fear dissipates once we indulge in the sensations of flight. Breathtaking landscapes unfold before our eyes : the valley dotted with lakes, the peak of Hourgade and Estos, the Adour valley, the Perdiguère massif, the Pyrenees, the Basque Country and Spain in the distance. The show is magical, the feeling of fullness is absolute!

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Comfortably installed in the harness, our feet in the air, we crisscross the sky for long minutes, flying over the green mountains. Julien suggests that I take control of the wing so that we can head towards the lake below. A great first! The instructor regains control of the paraglider to begin the descent. While all the paragliders converge on the same landing field, Julien gives me the appropriate instructions : run to land. What an emotion to put your feet on the ground after such an aerial excursion!

Paragliding   Paragliding

This unforgettable experience allows you to see the mountains from a very different angle and to discover the Pyrenees in an unprecedented way. A moment of pure happiness that I highly recommend.

Practical Info  

The Virevolte Paragliding School offers paragliding baptisms, discovery days, introductory and advanced paragliding courses, and itinerant courses in the neighboring valleys.

For health reasons, wearing a mask is now compulsory on tandem flights until further notice.

Book online for the period that suits you, on the Virevolte Parapente website (fr), or on 05 62 99 61 31 - 06 81 54 79 52


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Report and photos produced by Lesley Williamson for the Toulouse Pyrenees Guide


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