Freedom Trail over Port de Salau
Descending Salau to Spain
Pyrenees mountains
Port de Salau in the sun
Chateau of Seix
Landtag beraet ueber Klage des Freistaats gegen den Laenderfinanzausgleich
port de Aula
ref del fornet

Freedom Trail & Charlamagne Long weekend I 4 days I JUNE I AUG I OCT


This four-day trip makes a great introduction to multi-day trekking in Europe. Beginning in France, you will set off on a pre November 1942 freedom trail over the Pyrenees. This mountain pass was already used in the Middle Ages by pilgrims to go to Santiago de Compostella. After spending a night at the Refuge del Fornet, you will follow the historic escape route to reach the Port de Salau summit col before descending into Spain.

Please request your dates. We will do our very best to accommodate you and if you are not a group we can try to make a group on your dates. This trip runs with 4+ people. We run this from June until the middle of October and it can usually be done on your requested dates. Ideal for families and those interested in history and culture.

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  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
      Border-Crossing Challenge, Charity Challenge, Family fun, Historic Challenge
    • Activity Level Moderately Challenging, not technical - Trip grade 1
    • Group Size Medium Group
    All about the Freedom Trail & Charlamagne Long weekend I 4 days I JUNE I AUG I OCT.

    4 days – Ideal for families and youth groups

    • Re-live history
    • Immerse in local culture
    • Hear some fabulous stories
    • Trek along stunning trails

    This freedom trail used by escapees pre-November 1942 is an ideal adventure for a school group or as a more amenable mountain route for big adventurers and families. It has a series of sign boards which delve into history of the crossing on the way up, taking you through history to reach the summit col on the French and Spanish border.  We cross into Spain from the Port de Salau and spend the night at the Refuge del Fournet.

    Interesting Fact

    An Escaper is one who has managed to escape from ‘secure enemy custody’, whether it be a prison, POW camp, prison train, or from guards on the ground. Once free, he then has to turn to the tactics of evasion. WW2 escapers tended to be mainly Army personnel.

    An Evader has not been captured and has, with luck, managed to retain some of his kit and equipment – his task is to remain undetected, outwit the enemy and stay free from capture in order to return to his unit. WW2 evaders tended to be mainly Aircrew or Special Forces.

    A sound understanding of survival skills is a prerequisite for successful evasion; knowledge of both is needed to complement each other. The escaper has a different set of rules from the evader, starting from the time when he is captured.

    Availability: Click Reserve Now above to see bookable dates for 2018. Other weekend dates available in June, August and October 2020. Contact us to enquire.

    The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
    What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.
    • Accommodation and food as specified in the programme
    • Transport to and from Toulouse Blagnac on a single timed transfer per group
    • Local transport as per the itinerary
    • Guiding by a qualified International
    • Mountain leader 1:10 maximum ratio
    • Transfer of bags from location to location on the first 2 nights

    What is not included in this tour?Items that are not included in the cost of tour price.
    • Flights
    • Insurance
    • Mountain snacks
    • Phone calls
    • Any additional transport or accommodation needed if you have to leave the group for a medical or fitness reason

    1. Day1 Arrival Day

      Arrive at Toulouse Blagnac airport and transfer to Seix. Auberge accommodation. Visit the Chemin de la Liberte museum or the Chateau de Seix to be inspired by crossings that were made. Delve into history and get into the mind set of the resistance as well as finding out more about the route.



    2. Day 2 Salau - Port de Salau - Refuge del Fournet

      Transfer to Salau to begin our walk up to the port de Salau (2087m). This was the main trading route and the shortest between the Couserans in France and Pallars in Catalunya. It was also used as an escape route during the war before the exclusion zone came into force pre November 1942. A truly fascinating route with a disused tungsten mine on the col. Escaping Jews made their way from the Port de Salau pass to the village of Alòs d’Isil. Some of those stopped and captured along the way were transferred to the prison at Sort. On the Catalan side, it is possible to look out over the extensive Bonabé valley, which is bathed by the River Noguera Pallaresa. We spend the night in Spain in the refuge del Fornet before returning back to France. Charlamagne was also thought to cross the port de Salau making the journey full of historic gems both on the way up and on descent. (B,L,D)

    3. Day 3 Refuge Del Fournet - Port de Aula - Col de la Pause

      We make our way up steeply to the broad porte de Aula before descending back into France. On the way down you will see the remains of an old glacier, the smallest in the Pyrenees. This route was used in the Spanish civil war for people escaping in the opposite direction into France. At the end of the day we have a celebratory meal inAx les Thermes or Les Cabannes if staying at chezarran appartments. Above is Mont Valier, the highest peak in the couserans. This evening we will eat in a local restaurant owned and run by local farmers with the chance to sample traditional mountain recipes and produce. (B,L,D)

    4. Day 4 Departure Day

      Transfer to Toulouse Blagnac in the morning and departures. (B)

    5. Option B Possible extensions

      Spend an extra day in Spain and stay in the beautiful town of Vielha before climbing back into France.  Enjoy more tapas, visit an animal parc of museum. Please enquire.




    We will stay at the Auberge de Haut Salat at Chez Arran according to the time of year and numbers

    Refuge del Fornet

    A wonderful refuge close to the river when we drop down into the valley in Spain

    Viehla extension option

    We can stay in a hotel in the buzzing mountain town with cobbled streets, river and tapas bars a plenty

    Ax les Thermes or Chez Arran apartments