In March I visited the French Pyrenees on an educational trip and was very impressed with the resorts and accommodation I visited, I look forward to revisiting the area again for a full weeks ski holiday and hopefully a summer activity holiday.

Arriving into Toulouse airport the transfer to our first resort visit of Ax Le Thermes took approx 1hr 20 mins. The town is a spa town and has the hottest thermal waters in the Pyrenees. Most of the accommodation for the ski resort is in the town and it is a great resort for families, groups and couples although there is not alot of night life.
We drove up to the ski resort of Bonascre (1400m) but is it also accessible by a telecabine from Ax le Thermes that takes about 10 mins. The ski area is about 80kms and goes up to 2400m with snow park and mountain restaurants.
I didn't get to ski on this occasion but it is a resort that does offer plenty of mixed runs for  beginners and intermediates but also some challenging off piste runs. The beginners ski school is ideally situated with no access to other skiers
I visited the Balcons d'Ax apartments, located in the ski resort just 30m from cable car (connected to Ax le Thermes) and just 5 minutes walk to the ski lifts and shops. Although quite basic accommodation the apartments all have balconies and the indoor pool is a good size, the location is great.
Taking the cable car down to Ax le Thermes it took just a minute to walk to the the Residence Les Trois Domaines and the Residence Les Grande Ax both ideally located and just 10m into the town. Both residences have spacious apartments although the Grande Ax did appeal to me with its indoor pool and spa.

If you want a hotel I would recommend the Chalet Hotel a 5 minute walk from the cable car and town. As well as an old wing with plenty original characteristics there is a new wing built recently overlooking the river. The dining is not to be missed and is featured in the Michelin guide.

I loved the feel of the town, with the river running through, and its quaint square and back streets with wonderful old buildings with so much character. The spa and pool complex is a great way to spend some time when not skiing and shouldn't be missed. There's a night club and casino if you this appeals!
Our next stop was Font Romeu about 2 hours from Ax. The resort,at 1800m, is part of the Catalan Pyrenees and has two ski areas - Font Romeu at 1650 and Pyrenees 2000. The nearest airport is Perpignan. 
We had the morning to ski and I absolutely loved the ski area. The snow conditions were great although a bit windy so we needed to drive up to 1650 rather than taking the telecabine from Font Romeu. The sun was out, the sky blue and it was a very enjoyable morning with slopes for everyone, but would also say excellent for beginners. I was also  impressed by the childrens private ski area especially landscaped to make it a lot of fun. I finished my morning ski on the childrens ski jump, head in snow upside down!
I visited a couple of residences that Zenith feature. The Pic de L'Ours is right next to the gondola and tourist information in the centre of the resort so a perfect location.
The apartments are a nice size with indoor pool and sauna.
The Residence Le Pedrou apartments are a little further away from the centre and in a quiet location with some spectacular views.If you don't want to make the 5 min walk there is a shuttle bus passing the apts to the gondola regularly.
The Carlit Hotel is central to the resort, has 3 restaurants, games  area, and cosy bar, although being renovated this year.I hope it keeps some of its original charm.The staff were very welcoming.
The resort has plenty of things to do other than skiing including down hill mountain biking, dog sledding,stay in an igloo and some of the best cross country ski trails - 110km. In the town there is a leisure centre, cinema, bowling , 2 spas and plenty of childcare options.
All in all just like Ax le Thermes I loved the atmosphere of the town,and even though its not that big it has plenty to offer and certainly somewhere i would highly recommend especially for families and beginners.
Next stop was St Lary in the Aure Valley close to the Spanish border, arriving in the rain and cloud it was a bit disappointing but on waking the next day the sun was out and all the mountains in clear view and pretty spectacular. We had the morning to ski and taking the gondola up from the village of St Lary we went to St Lary 1700 also know as the Pla d'Adet. This area has recently been redesigned for children, beginners and families in mind. 
We took the lift to the Soum du Matte at 2300m and I enjoyed the long blue runs back to 1700, the views amazing and conditions great. Also plenty of reds and blacks to take when you head higher to St Lary 1900 (Espiaube) an intermediate area with some runs of more than 3km long or head across and upwards crossing the ridge to St Lary 2400 (Vallon du Portet).

I didn't get this far but some of our group did and said they were a great variety of runs and a 360 panoramic view of the Pyrenees.

Zenith feature 2 residences and a hotel, all in the village of St Lary close to the resort centre and lifts. The transfer airport is Toulouse (approx 1hr50) and Tarbes (1hr25). Don't miss the Sensoria Rios Wellness centre with pools, waterfalls,whirlpools and Thermal baths.  Great for summer activities.
On returning to Toulouse airport we made a half day stopover in La Mongie where Zenith also have accommodation- one residence close to the centre with a pool and the other about 300m away, ski in ski out.
La Mongie has the largest ski area (Le Tourmalet) in the French Pyrenees with over 100km pistes.
It is at the foot of the Pic du Midi and I was lucky enough to take a trip to the observatory, once used for an astronomical observatory (from 1884) and now used for scientific research, perched high on the top at 2877m.
The 15 minute cable car ride was well worth it and the views were superb overlooking all of the Pyrenees. It houses Europes highest museum and I stood in awe watching some crazy skiers take the almost vertical drop from the station down the mountain.
I also wondered about the men who climbed all the way to the Pic back in 1774 to measure the pressure of the atmosphere and start to build the observatory! 
Today there is a small hotel where you can stay a night and enjoy the night sky.

Finishing my visit in La Mongie we sat outside in the warm sunshine for lunch, river running by, watching the skiers enjoying the slopes, what a great way to end my visit in the Pyrenees.

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