Sunday, August 13, 2023

Spain & France Day 13: Artouste

The next morning we rose early and jumped in the car, ready for a border crossing. As we drove along the mountain road, there was barely a sign to indicate that we had crossed the border and were now in France, Adventure Girl's tenth country. Shortly after, we pulled into the Artouste gondola station and swung our way up the mountain to board an alpine train. 

The view from the bottom of the gondola

Yup, we'd fall
straight down
the mountain!
Having looked at picutres of the train online ahead of time, we had thoughtfully planned our seating arrangement. We put F on the mountain side of the car as we'd seen some pictures that showed the train perched right at the edge of a cliff with barely any safety precautions. 

To our surprise, the first thing the train did was tunnel through the mountain, coming out on the other side, meaning Adventure Kid was buckled in sitting on the cliff side for the entirety of the ride!

Were there moments when we thought we might plummet to our deaths? - Not really. But it was exciting and promoted a good cuddle for the ride to ensure everyone stayed inside the tiny open-air train compartment. 

The ride was spectacular. Uninterrupted sweeping mountain vistas the entire time. We'll let our pictures speak for themselves. 

If you find yourself in this area of the Pyrenees, this is a must-do!

The ride was approximately 45 minutes long. It was smart to take the first train of the day because it meant no stopping for trains coming from the opposite direction. When we arrived at the mountain station, it also meant that we were the first people up and headed towards the alpine lake. (Pro Tip: sit at the back of the's quieter, has better visibility, and means you are the first up the stairs towards the lake). 

The trail to the alpine lake

The lake hike was easy, with options to add on further distances if you wanted to spend the day. 

Seeing the meadows and valleys in different light on the return trip was just as stunning. It made for an incredibly easy and rewarding day!

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