Marie from @Astrovan_family, our ambassador , has been traveling with her family in her Volkswagen T4 since the birth of their little Hugo. She shares with you her winter road trip in the Pyrenees. We can say: nothing scares him!
And to discover the portrait of this pretty family and their various articles, its found here !
A winter road trip in the Pyrenees
narrated by Marie, from @Astrovan Family
February 2021. Ski resorts are closed due to Covid. We still wanted to show Hugo the snow. So off we went in a van, heading for the Pyrenees with our 1-year-old baby!


Les Angles, and Lake Matemale


Lac de Matemale - Road trip Pyrenees - Vanlife with the family

We were wild camping, but close enough to a road in case of snow. The first awakening was under the snow, at the edge of the lake of Matemale which was frozen. It was magical !

We took the opportunity to go for a walk, and let Hugo discover the first sliding sensations for Hugo in his sled! Unfortunately the weather caught up with us. After 3 days, it was time to find a hot shower…



The station is deserted, it's a rather strange atmosphere, but the municipal campsite was open. So much the better, we take advantage of it! We dry our clothes, we take a good shower, and we fill up on energy and water. We are off again the next day. On the road, we take advantage of a local market to stock up on good mountain products!

We decide to go discover the Plateau de Beille but the terrible weather, and signs prohibiting parking for converted vehicles push us to leave immediately...

Ax the 3 areas


Once there, relief. The Ax les 3 Domaines resort offers a free motorhome area at the foot of the slopes. No skiing here either, the station is almost empty. Luckily the sun is back!

This allows us to recharge the batteries thanks to the solar panels and allows us to stay for several days. We take the opportunity to rent snowshoes and discover the mountain in a different way (with Hugo on our back thanks to a hiking baby carrier).

Road trip Pyrenees - Hiking - Vanlife with the family

So we take the road again, direction Guzet But when we get to the top, a violent wind prevents us from opening the roof of the van… We improvise, and we take the direction of Bagnères de Luchon. On the road, there is a small open campsite… Wouldn't it be time to take a real shower and do some laundry?


Luchon-Super Bagneres


Luchon - Pyrenees ski resort - Vanlife with family - winter


We find in the station, a corner of parking with an incredible view !

On the program: sunrise over the mountain and heated WC in the car park! We rent snowshoes again and we discover a very pretty little family resort, which warms up your thighs with a baby on your back!

We stay here for a few days, we really appreciate the place despite it being one of the most popular resorts in the area at this time.




Pyrenees - Family Vanlife - Blog


Here we are in the Hautes Pyrénées, where Marie grew up.

We sit down for a few days on the Payolles motorhome area. There is hardly any snow, but you can take long walks on the plateau and around the lake.

We take advantage of the services offered by the area. All this with an incredible view of the Pic du Midi de Bigorre.

We also take the time to go for a ride to the Col d'Aspin, legendary and magnificent! The morning frost accompanies us every day and offers us a new spectacle each time we wake up. There is something magical about winter...


The Circus of Gavarnie


Our epic in the department continues and leads us to the majestic Cirque de Gavarnie , listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

We decide to land in a parking lot outside the village to be quiet because it is very busy. Our neighbours: sheep and a pretty stream!

We stayed a few days despite the crowd because we wanted to do the hike that leads to the foot of the Cirque. And even though the month of February was in full swing, the snow was not there...

We were able to do this hike without snowshoes (normally recommended). The first part is simple, the second part a little more sporty but accessible to all, up to a hotel perched at the foot of the Circus and its waterfall.


The Neouvielle Massif


We take advantage of a beautiful day to discover some lakes in the heart of the National Park. Impossible to sleep there, but we spend a nice day there at Lac d'Estaing and Lac du Tech.

We eat there for lunch, we walk there in the afternoon so that Hugo can take a nap in the baby carrier, then we leave in the evening.

Blog - road trip Pyrenees - Vanlife with family



Our last stop: Cauterets .

Disappointing… We thought we could, as elsewhere, park easily. Unfortunately, converted vehicles are not welcome. Bans everywhere and lots of people. We end up reluctantly in a campsite in the city center in which we do not feel safe.

The next day, we still try to see the Pont d'Espagne . There were really a lot of people. We continue the snowshoe hike to get away from the crowd. Fortunately, during the day, we were able to see izards which pointed the tip of their noses for our greatest pleasure!


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Marie's advice for a winter road trip:

  • Leave equipped to brave the bad weather and the cold. Our van is well insulated, and we are equipped with a diesel heater which allows you to never be cold inside and to dry your clothes.

  • Take waterproof and warm clothes , as well as good waterproof walking shoes are essential. Get out of the van despite the bad weather: it's essential to get some fresh air when there are several of you in a small vehicle.

  • Before hitting the road, apply silicone WD40 to all the door seals of your vehicle to prevent them from freezing (and avoid getting stuck!)

  • We chose to sleep near the ski resorts because we don't have a 4x4 van. And despite the snow tires and chains, we preferred to park safely in the event of heavy snowfall!

  • When we weren't camping, Greg was brave enough to take a quick shower outside. But for Hugo and Marie it was system D: the washcloth!


December 01, 2022 — Ori & Aurel

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