24 hours at the ROC, a secret refuge of the Pyrénées

ROC, for "Refuge Out of the City", is a well-kept secret in the heart of the Ossau Valley, in the Pyrénées National Park. In this cozy cocoon, you find peace, summer and winter, away from the noise and frenzy of the world. Welcome to Paradise!

10am: Pastures as far as the eye can see

You find this old farmhouse by winding down the small narrow road winding through the hillside. Seventeenth century buildings, a sheep pasture, and a barn restored with an eye on tradition have been transformed into a charming eco-friendly guesthouse in the countryside. You can almost smell the fresh morning air from here!

11am: Owner's tour

Whether vacationer or hiker, with family or friends, ROC is a refuge open to all. In the large garden, the small community of residents quickly becomes acquainted, soaking in the beauty and the calm of the site. Around it all, a 20-hectare setting invites you for a stroll, bucolic or challenging. Lace up your shoes and go.

11.30am: Welcome home!

Before you even cross the threshold of the Bergerie (where up to 6 people can stay) or the cottage (ideal for little groups), you know that the holidays will be cozy. In the heart of nature, although located only 18 miles from the Pau-Pyrénées airport, ROC has sacrificed no comfort—it's simple and refined at the same time. Natural materials and soft fabrics promise precious moments of relaxation.

12am: Choose your room

It's no easy choice! In the cottage, you push a door, then another ... each room makes you want to move in forever. In the Bergerie's loft, no hesitation. The large mezzanine under the beautiful timber ceiling has catches the eye for its soft light and lovely view overlooking the living room below.

1pm: Picnic in the green

The landscape is too beautiful to stay indoors. Savor it while tasting some local specialties, purchased at the village next to Arudy. A crispy baguette, a some cold meats, sausage with Espelette pepper ...it's a picnic fit for a king. Tomorrow, as advised by the host, Vincent, complete the feast with sheep's milk cheese bought directly from the producer at the neighboring farm.

3pm: Walk in the fresh air

Get away from it all by escaping to somewhere incredible. Discover the magic of the Pyrenean foothills by walking along the trails, which are accessible even to little legs. On one side, the Pyrenees soar up in their glory, and on the other peaceful valley of Ossau plunges into its verdancy. Tomorrow, you can explore the valley by raft or canoe. But let's start by enjoying the calm of the mountain...

6pm: It's time to eat

ROC does not offer catering, but the equipped kitchens of the Gite (guesthouse) and the Bergerie to encourage guests to cook. Inspiration for beautiful gourmet dishes is not lacking. Halfway between the Basque coast, the Pyrenees, and Béarn, the region of the Ossau valley is full of delicious local products. Ask Vincent—he can point you to the best produce in the area!

8pm: Barbecues al fresco

You can dine around the large table, or under the stars, around the braziers installed in the garden. In the outdoor fireplaces, the meat and sausages bought at Pompon, the butcher of the village, smell incredible, and taste like the tenderness of the pastures.

9pm: Mountains majesty

Last meditation facing the sunset—ROC is a place conducive to healing, harmony of body and mind, far from urban stress. Here, you can reconnect with nature, retreat from the world. Those who are so inclined can practice yoga or enjoy massages and other body treatments provided by the shelter's partners, available by request.

9am: Lazy morning

Wake up gently, when your body tells you it's time. Extend the laziness reclining in the garden or go exploring. In Arudy and the surrounding villages, pastoralism is recounted in the ancestral know-how and local traditions, which are still very much alive. The perfect souvenirs to take home are some beautiful lessons of life—before returning to the heart of the big cities.

Getting to ROC, in Pyrenees