The Pyrenees

On January 25th and 26th, the Dickinson in France students who’ve been here since September or January took off on their first group excursion of the semester.

Far from Toulouse, they discovered another aspect of the landscape and life in France: life in the mountains.

Despite the fog, their arrival in Estarvielle in the Louron valley was marked by the majestical presence of the mountains. Even the view from the Mountain Center where we stayed was incredible.


The first day, the group visited the little chapel in Estarvielle. To get in, Alew had to shovel snow off the pathway and once inside, he and Sam sang for us.


In the afternoon, the group split into two parts: one participated in a cooking workshop – preparing garbure – and the other discovered a local café, chez Josette, and took the time to speak to the owner and to her clients.


Then, the entire group went on a walk around the lake. Here, their guide explained the landscape and showed them how snowflakes are made through a small magnifying glass. The walk ended with a fun snowball fight.




After such an active day, with another stop at a producer of frênette, a local beverage, we enjoyed the delicious garbure that the students had prepared in the morning.


After a good night’s sleep, we took off the next day for a snow shoe hike!


To finish up the excursion, the students discovered a cheese farm at the Fromagerie du Diable de Mont (Mont’s Devil).



The students returned to Toulouse, their bags full of sheep cheese and jam.

              Photos: Anna Ciriani Dean and Monica Meeks