Do you know what a transhumance is? It is when herds of animals or cattle come together to move from one place to another. In our case it is when the breeders of the fabulous black Merens horses in the French Pyrenees get their horses down from the high mountains into the safe valleys before winter comes. And we will be part of it!
Every spring they take their mares and youngsters into the mountains where they spend the summer grazing in the fresh air of the French Pyrenees. Shortly afterwards the foals are born and they live happily as part of a big heard for the next months. In October it’s time to make it back home. The temperatures drop and pretty soon everything will be covered with snow. The breeders go up into the mountains, take over from the shepperd and lead their horses through hidden mountain paths downwards. Depending on where you start it can take up to four days until you reach the farm.
Under the mountain sky
We will join Elena and Romain to help bring their horses home. We met the two when we did photoworkshops with Tony Stromberg and had the opportunity to photograph their beautiful stallions. Through this the idea arose to do the transhumance together. Elena is an experienced and successful horse trainer. Romain is the breeder. We can assure you that you will enjoy every minute in their company. It’s simply a pleasure to be with them. They will help us to master the next coming days. And it will not be easy. This is not a trip for couch potatoes or nerds who haven’t got out of their office chair for years. You don’t have to be an athlete but you have to be ready to take the weather as it is, to ride or walk for hours and to share the simplicity of a mountain shelter for the night. It will take three days before you can enjoy the comfort of a soft hotel bed again. That’s the price you pay. What you gain is probably the experience of a lifetime – moments under the mountain sky you will never forget. Tired but happy. Merged with the horses, their movements, the mountains and yourself.
Relax and enjoy
It is difficult to top an experience like this and we will not even try to do so. In the remaining three days you will just relax and enjoy. We want to show you the rural life in the famous Gescogne, home of d’Artagnan and the three musketeers. And we mean this literally. Those were real people. They lived and had many of their adventures in the Gascogne – in the Gers to be more specific. Here in the small village of Lupiac was D’Artagnan’s home. Here he grew up and from here he started his adventure journey to Paris and into the world of kings and queens. Many things here have remained the same. D’Artagnan would probably still find his way from his father’s castle through the forest to Montesquiou, where at his time you could find the biggest church and the prettiest girls. We want to show you his homeland. We want to invite you to come with us to Bassouses, where we have dinner under a wooden market hall roof made in the 13th century. Be sure, that the Musketeers already enjoyed their wine under this roof. The food is as simple and honest as the people around you. You get what you see.
There is lots to explore in the Gers. We will be your guide. We’ve been living here for more than a decade – and we love it!