Would you like to change your surroundings, get away from it all and reconnect with nature? Enjoy a breath of fresh air in the middle of nature and opt for a break in a totally unusual place, at the foot of the legendary Cirque de Troumouse in the Pyrenees in the Auberge du Maillet lodge. Troumouse, with Estaubé and Gavarnie, is part of a group of three cirques classified as World Heritage by UNESCO, included in a vast cross-border area called Pyrenees Mont Perdu.
The cirque of Troumouse could just as well have been the end of the world because of the wall it represents. The jewel in the crown of the Pyrenees National Park, the Troumouse cirque is a huge arena 11 km in circumference. This protective wall surrounds a cirque 4 km in diameter.
It rises to its highest peak, the Munia peak, at 3133 metres. This is in the company of the Soum des Salettes (2976 m), the Aguillous peak (2851 m), the Gerbats peak (2904 m), the Troumouse peak (3085 m), the Pène Blanque (2905 m), the Soum de Port Bieil (2596 m), the Estaubé peaks (2810 m) and the Tuque du Montferrant (2639 m).
Spending a night (almost) at the end of the world
Visiting the Pyrenees without discovering the Gavarnie cirque and its neighbour the Troumouse cirque is a bit like visiting Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower. Of the three cirques in the Pyrenees National Park (Troumouse, Gavarnie and Estaubé), the Troumouse cirque (2,138 m) is the largest.
These emblematic places of the Pyrenees are now very popular with visitors, but have you thought of taking advantage of these stunning landscapes at night?
Far from a traditional hotel stay, it is (almost) at the end of the world that we share with you a little nugget of the Pyrenees: the Auberge du Maillet lodge, the last inn on the road to the Cirque de Troumouse, where your car journey ends.
Composed of 6 individual rooms for 2 to 5 people with individual bathrooms (shared toilets) and a 25-person dormitory, everything is provided for you to have an unforgettable time in the middle of nature. The Auberge du Maillet lodge offers half-board with dinner by the wood stove and breakfast.
You can either opt for the comfort of individual rooms (bed linen and towels provided) or bring your own sleeping bag if you choose the “dormitory” option.
Auberge du Maillet: waking up to marmots and chamois.
When night falls on the cirque of Troumouse, a whole sky lights up thanks to the absence of visual pollution. In summer, when the sky is clear, the shooting stars will delight you. The calm of the night wraps you in a unique and soothing softness that you will certainly have to set an alarm clock to go hiking! Unless it is the whistling of the marmots that wakes you up.
Breakfast at the Auberge du Maillet is certainly one of the most magical moments. Everything is still asleep, marmots and chamois are looking for the first rays of sunshine and it is not unusual to see them from the terrace.
From the inn, a shuttle in the form of a small tourist train (60 seats) allows visitors to access the Troumouse cirque during the summer. The most courageous will be able to reach the cirque in about 45 minutes. You can walk along the Gave des Touyères to the foot of the cirque, or sit comfortably in one of the wagons.
In spring, when the snow is still on the peaks, many ski tourers use the hostel as a starting point for ski touring. The Auberge du Maillet lodge offers a picnic service for day trips.
Lac des Aires is an easy family walk. You will be immersed in the beauty of the reflection of the mountains on this high altitude lake. The return can be done by the statue of the Virgin of Troumouse who watches over this magical place. From its headland, you will be able to enjoy an overall view of the Cirque.
Encounter with timeless species
During your stay in the heart of the cirque of Troumouse, you may be lucky enough to meet one of the rarest and most curious species, present on earth for millions of years. The Pyrenean Euproctus, a wild species living in the mountain pastures, is a newt of about 15 cm long, with an often rough and leathery skin.
Its presence is an excellent indicator of the health of the natural environment. The Pyrenean euprotect evolves in watercourses with low flow but well oxygenated and cold… like those of the cirque of Troumouse. A very active carnivore, it feeds solely on water-dwelling prey. In winter, it hibernates in holes along the banks.
Eating well and eating local… at the end of the world
A gastronomic break is a must at the Auberge du Maillet lodge, which offers exclusively home-made cuisine with local products: garbure, Pyrenean trout, lamb from the Luz region, beef, black pig from Bigorre… cheese from the valley. It is also possible to taste charcuterie dishes at any time.
Photo: typical dishes of the Auberge du Maillet
The snack break is also an opportunity to taste the famous homemade blueberry clafoutis, while enjoying the breathtaking scenery of the Troumouse cirque. Not to mention the homemade crêpes, which will delight the youngest members of the family.
The Auberge du Maillet lodge is open every day from 15 May to 26 September. The Auberge du Maillet festival is held at the beginning of September, with outdoor barbecues. It is also possible to privatise the site (including catering services), for the organisation of an event (weddings, seminars, etc.)
Disconnecting at the Auberge du Maillet
Since the COVID episode, many families choose the Auberge du Maillet lodge to live a unique experience in the heart of the mountains and the great outdoors. “Visitors arrive by car to our place. Once you put your car down, you are surrounded by mountains and incredible wildlife.
It’s a combination that makes the place unique. There is true disconnection, literally and figuratively, as there is no network! Once the mobile phone is switched off, you are totally disconnected. The guests take the opportunity to talk about their journey, their holidays, the places they liked. But also the shepherds who come to see the animals and take a break at the Auberge. This mix makes the place really unique.