"La Transhumante" from Aulon

It’s time for the ewes to leave the valley and their sheepfold to take the road to freedom towards the pastures of our beloved Pyrenees…and that’s something to celebrate!!

By Maxime Soulleys

“Well done to all the volunteers for organizing this great festival.”

An ancestral tradition

And know-how to perpetuate

“On this Saturday, June 7, in addition to celebrating the arrival of numerous flocks in the summer pastures, the village of Aulon wishes to share in the ancestral tradition of transhumance, a know-how that must be perpetuated.

The flock could have been brought up by truck…but out of the question, it’s to the rhythm of the sonnailles (bells) that 1500 ewes will reach the pastures. Hundreds of walkers will have the opportunity to follow this animal procession, and to admire the extraordinary work of the shepherds and their dogs in guiding the flock to the pasture.

At the stroke of midday, it’s time to take a break and refuel…and in this area, the village of Aulon knows what it’s doing. This is the 12th time that Aulon has organized “La Transhumante”. Hundreds of people welcome the herds, breeders, shepherds and others…in short, there’s a lot of people in Aulon. It’s a great time to sing, dance and, above all, enjoy the lamb a la plancha (over 500 meals will be served)…Don’t forget to stay hydrated (not just with water for some) and once the flock has been blessed, it’s time to head back to the ewes’ summer home.”

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How to talk about La Transhumante

Not to mention Aulon

Aulon is a village at 1230m whose origins lie in pastoral activity, which has shaped the landscape, integrated architecture with the environment and created a specific culture. Thanks to its location and traditions, Aulon has always been a village with a spirit closely linked to livestock farming in a mountain environment. The village of Aulon represents a commune and a territory with a diverse history, culture, traditions and cultural heritage (religious heritage: church, cross…, heritage linked to water: washhouse, drinking trough, fountain…, built heritage: dry stone walls, Lurgues barns…).

La Maison de la Nature

La Maison de la Nature is a structure for discovering the biodiversity of the mountain environment (photo exhibition, educational garden) and for observing wildlife in its environment – you may even see a few birds of prey flying over the village.
La Maison de la Nature aims to develop an educational policy respectful of Pyrenean biodiversity, and offers numerous events, mainly in spring and summer: slide shows, guided tours, conferences…

A voyage of discovery

From the Regional Nature Reserve

“I can’t recommend a trip to Aulon (only 15-20 minutes from Saint Lary). The entrance to the Lavedan valley is at the village of Guchen. For the more adventurous, you can explore the recently created Aulon Regional Nature Reserve. The little hamlet of Les granges de Lurgues (1400m) is also worth a visit: at the foot of the Arbizon are a dozen restored barns…a real Pyrenean postcard.

For more information, don’t hesitate to drop by the Maison de la Nature, where Rémi, the reserve’s coordinator and warden, will be delighted to recommend a walk or show you around the premises.”