L’Ancienne Poste is a new 6-bedroomed chalet which has opened in the heart of the French Pyrenees for both summer and winter activity holidays.
The property is owned and managed by James Dealtry, an Englishman who is a fully-qualified French mountain guide and ski instructor – one of the few foreigners to achieve this status.
James lived and worked in Val d’Isere in the French Alps for 15 years and was the first Brit to work for the Ecole du Ski Français before relocating to the Pyrenees.
“The house was originally built in 1864,” said James. “It was the village post house until the late 1940s with the animals being kept on the barn side of the building. I purchased the house in 2006 and rented it on a self-catering basis for the summer and winter seasons.
“In the summer of 2010 I started the renovation process. My goal was to make the house as environmentally-friendly as possible. We installed a very ‘green’ heat exchange system, made sure the insulation was as effective as possible and put in two wood-burning stoves that burn wood from approved, sustainable local forests.
“But we were also careful to retain original features such as the exposed stone walls and beams and we reconditioned the flooring giving the property a very smart and sharp finish whilst retaining a classic old, cosy feel.”
L’Ancienne Poste’s in-house chef is Karen Emerson, from Ireland, who studied international and traditional cooking in Dublin, graduating with honours. Meals tend to be a mixture of world cuisine and classic French and are prepared using local ingredients wherever possible.
Close to 3 ski resorts
L’Ancienne poste is within a ten-minute drive of three ski resorts: Val Louron (perfect for beginners), St Lary and Peyragudes. It is also under 20 minutes from the resort of Piau-Engaly. Transfers to and from the resort can be organised by James and his team.
The property is also a mecca for cyclists, surrounded by some of the Tour de France’s most famous climbs including two that featured in this year’s race.
The excellent Balnea Spa is situated close by, featuring a labyrinth of Jacuzzis, waterfalls, plunge pools, saunas, Hammams and outdoor Japanese hot pools. Appointments for treatments can be arranged by the staff at L’Ancienne.
The area has tons to do. This is what’s available: walking/trekking, road cycling, mountain biking, rock climbing, parascending, local health spa, quad bike riding, pony trekking, archery, water park, tree-top assault course, white-water rafting, golf, canyoning and gliding.
Skiing, snowboarding, ice climbing, snowshoe trekking, dog sledding, ski touring, ski coaching (and technique clinics) and long weekend ski trips.
The area is well served by three main airports Pau, Lourdes-Tarbes, and Toulouse and can be accessed using low cost airlines such as Easyjet or Ryanair along with other mainstream airlines such as British Airways.
L’Ancienne Poste, Avajan, currently has a special offer of a one-week stay from €550 pp (two sharing) on a half-board basis, a reduction of 20% off the regular price.