Saturday, May 19, 2018


I need it now 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼#france #hangover #happiness
In a reprise of the earlier article on the various hot springs located near Fontpédrouse (France), let's serve up more common views of these open and free sources, with more soakers in action. 

Avid followers will have recognized that many a photo has already passed on this soak, let's show what hasn't been seen here yet. 

Surprisingly when searching I note that there seems to more photographers heading there in winter than in summer, though as Sascha mentioned there are more visitors in summer.
For instance foixdeviladrich at Prats Balaguer:

Sauvage #nature #mountains#bainsdesantthomas #bains #saintthomas#france #sauvage #aventura #planazo

Aventura a Les bains de Saint Thomas #nature #mountins #cabanasse#bains #saintthomas #france #planazo#aventura #louise #relax

I came across this French website entry on Bains chuads sauvages of the Pyrenees:

While there's also this Spanish walking site, with some pointers mostly on Prats Balaguer (see photo):

But when presenting all three it's difficult not to avoid the _gypsy.gypsy instagram and tumblr accounts. 
Atmospheric and uncensored it shows through the year how soaking here should be: freedom as you choose with or without friends.

_gypsy.gypsy at Canaveilles
Ojalá pudiera adentrarme en las fotos antiguas para gozar de esos momentos mágicos🔮@theoliveraquel 📸❤️#hotsprings #relaxing #betweenmountains#wildspirit #awesome #nature #sauvage#goodvibes
From the tumblr blog Thuès-Entre-Valls:


#hotsprings #view #inthepyrenees
Don't rely too much on the captions and locations of photo's, it seems that especially Prats Baluguer (below) and Canaveilles (above) are often mixed up.

You keep me safe, I'll keep you wild. 

aldanaperalta at Gare de Thuès-les-Bains
Hot springs.. @siaoproductions #night #photo #nikond5300 #pic #blackandwhite #france
Finishing off with only Thuès-Entre-Valls photo's.

Un dimanche comme on les aime ! Une eau à 40°, hors de l'eau 6° 👌🤙 #bainschauds #thues #copains #chilling#pepouze
❄️HOT SPRINGS❄️@bomboclaap 📸#termas #hotsprings #lefrance #relaxtime#holidays #awesome #termasnaturales#intothewild #hippielife #vantrip #wildtattoo#activegirl #relaxtime #secretspot #wife#specialfeeling #GoProFamily

Or one could check youtube:

 Nuno Matox at Canaveilles:
Sources chaudes sauvages dans les Pyrénées 

Saturday, May 12, 2018


Following is a trio of soakable encounters from France's Pyrénées-Orientales as reported by Sascha.
All three have been touched upon in previous postings on this blog, though we have no real first hand experience as such to report on. Wish list?
What we know is that they are certainly picturesque, soakable and free in the broader sense  of the word

We are talking about the hot springs of Prats-Balaguer (photo above), Canaveilles and Thuès-Entre-Valls, all near the town of Fontpédrouse.

Sascha has the following to introduce us and add on getting here: 
Apart from several commercial hot springs like in Saint-Thomas or in Dorres (which are nevertheless very nice), these 3 hot springs places are completely natural and surrounded by a wonderful surrounding. Moreover, the access is quite easy which make them my favorite natural hot springs in Europe so far.
I took the Ryanair flight from Brussels Charleroi to Perpignan and then a rental car. 
If you need less comfort or have more time it is also possible to take a bus to reach the 3 hot springs locations. 

Should you come from Perpignan, it is advisable to buy your food in Prades, in the following towns there are only small supermarkets or no supermarket at all (like in Fontpédrouse).

Fontpédrouse has a nice camping place where also huts are available.
In late October a hut was definitively a good decision as snow started to fall. Another advantage is that the camping place is not directly located in the town. In this region all churches ring each half hour, during the day and night which can make it difficult to sleep. 

Another budget option is to bring your own tent and to sleep directly near the hot springs. 
In Prats-Balaguer the budget option is so popular that it is becoming a serious problem. Some hippies do not always bring their rubbish to the dustbins in town which attracts all well known consequences. No toilets in the surroundings does not help the situation. However, the hot springs of Prats-Balaguer are very clean and very beautiful. 

Some people were complaining that the hot springs are overcrowded, in particular in summer, but I think this characterizes these hot springs with its hippie atmosphere. Hippies that stay around the springs for several months usually take their bath in the morning. Later, tourists and other hippies that have parked their camping cars on the street to Prats-Balaguer are joining. I recommend avoiding the high season, i.e. during holidays and if you really want more secrecy, you better go to Canaveilles.
The pools of Prats-Balaguer have temperatures for each preference, from hot (44°C) to lukewarm. In the upper pools there is gravel, in the lower pools some mud. 

Access is possible from the camping site but the way is a bit difficult to find. The indications are old and sometimes too many paths become confusing. Much easier is to drive from Fontpédrouse to Canaveilles. In one right turn before the village you see already caravans and you need some luck to find your place to park. From there follow the beaten path over rocks down to the valley and cross the river. The path to the springs is not indicated but as there is only one main path, you should not get lost. After around 20 min you will smell the sulfur.
The hot springs of Canaveilles are my favorite ones. The combination of hot springs of different temperatures close by a cold river that gives an excellent opportunity to refresh is just fantastic. 

Coming from Fontpédrouse you need to park your car before the street goes up to the left to Canaveilles. On the main street there are parking possibilities for 2 or 3 cars, try your luck. Then head right into the bushes down to the river. The path starts on the opposite of the street that goes to Canaveilles. Once on the path you will come after 10 min to the river that you need to cross.
There is also wild camping possible but seems to be less frequented than in Prats-Balaguer.

The hot spring of Thuès-Entre-Valls is probably the most difficult of the three to find.
Locals told me that they were upset about too many hippies at the springs although when I visited the hot springs twice, I was almost alone. 
So is it a good idea to explain the access in the internet? 
I think that the access is so difficult that it will never become really popular.

No camping is possible (at least not directly at the springs) and parking possibilities are very difficult to get. A huge parking site in front of the hospital was closed and now parking space is only left for two cars. 

Despite of this, you should try your luck. If you got one of the two parking places, go to the entrance of the hospital. Right from the hospital for mental illnesses there is a small way that goes up to the train station. Cross the railways. To your left you see an entrance gate where the path continues. Head to the right and hike up the hill until the way goes more to the right in parallel to the main road where you parked the car. Follow the black water pipes. After a while the way turns to the left into a valley but remains on the same altitude. After a few meters try to find a number (13?) that is written on the rocks. Directly after this rock you have to climb down to the river. 

It looks quite sportive, but in reality it is easy to manage. Then go along the river upwards (to the left) and you will come first to some smaller pools. If you climb up the rocks you will get access the grotto that was too hot for soaking. 
People installed a pipe to cool down the water but even with some cooler water the grotto was still too hot.
However, just in front of the grotto is a perfect pool for one or two persons that was carved in the rocks. A real natural soaking pool made of one bold rock with a perfect view. 
Is there a better way to relax?

Euro soaks visited