The abandoned village

Muro de Bellos

par Hugues ENOND

With the weather forecast to be cloudy over the French valleys, I decide to take the road to Spain, in order to visit the “deshabitado” (no need to translate…) village of Muro de Bellos.


A place where the scent of rosemary mingles with that of boxwood and broom.


Starting point of the hike

After leaving the car on the outskirts of Escalona, I set off on foot up the road (passable only by 4×4) and its four kilometers under a blazing sun. A complete change of scenery after the snowshoe hike in the Néouvielle the day before: under the fir trees, the scent of rosemary mingles with that of boxwood and broom. Distracted by this atmosphere, it’s the flight of a vulture a few meters above my head that brings me back to reality: my footsteps must have disturbed it. The conclusion is clear: I’m not going to meet many people today!

After a few minutes, however, I’m lucky enough to spot an impressive (Egyptian?) cricket about 5 cm long!

A few hairpin bends higher up, I finally catch sight of the village on its promontory: a modest bell tower and a large, gutted building.

I continue on my way to the village entrance, overlooked on the left by the church and several dwellings, while more modest buildings are scattered along the road that threads further up the hillside. Vegetation more or less covers the terraces, remnants of past farming activity, at the foot of the foundations.

The view is magnificent,from Lake Mediano in the south to the Anisclo cañon in the north, at the foot of the snow-capped peaks.

1 hour from Saint Lary
In the family

The village

with its mysteries
And finally

With the visit over, I set off again with the bitter feeling of having witnessed the sacrifice of this village, reinforced by the impression that its position and paradisiacal surroundings should have made it a setting conducive to the well-being of its inhabitants.

Many of these “deshabitados” villages have benefited from restoration in recent decades and are now enjoying a new lease of life, mainly for tourism, in the image of Liguerre de Cinca, El Pueyo de Araguas, Morillo