Five open-air baths where you can recharge your batteries in the heart of winter


Sulphurous springs in altitude, Jacuzzi in the Japanese tradition, swimming pools covered with stones in Italy, waters with therapeutic virtues, even “magical” in Corsica: start the year by immersing yourself in very warm places.

Well hidden and surrounded by nature, in Ariège

This sulphurous hot spring in the middle of the mountains has long remained the secret garden of the inhabitants of the village of Mérens-les-Vals, in the Ax valley, in Ariège. Since then, the secret has been rumored and basins with large blocks of stone have been fitted out to take full advantage of it. Winter is the most beautiful of the seasons to venture out and spend time there. Under the snow, the spring regains its exceptional character. First, because you have to start by walking a little less than an hour to get there. The well-marked GR10 path (red and white markings) passes in front of the church of Mérens-d’en-Haut, a jewel of Romanesque art, before reaching this Eden. Secondly, because it is always delicious to shiver for a few seconds before sliding slowly into this sulphurous hot water in the heart of wild nature.

The sulfur springs of Mérens-les-Vals (Ariège). One well marked trail drives there from the village.

Japanese style, in the Hautes-Pyrénées

Balnéa, in Loudenvielle (Hautes-Pyrénées).

Winter is even more beautiful under the snow! Especially after a day of snowshoeing in the forests bordering the village of Loudenvielle, located in the Louron valley (Hautes-Pyrénées). In the tradition of Japanese thermal pools, these three outdoor Jacuzzis are respectively at 33 ° C, 37 ° C and 40 ° C. We begin this sensory adventure with a bath at 33 ° C, the first shivers of pleasure, then we slowly walk towards the upper degrees of the second pool. There, we begin to melt… we close our eyes and enjoy this feeling where the body relaxes before reaching the last Jacuzzi, the hottest, at 40 ° C. An exquisite, voluptuous and refined moment. And to enjoy these moments of well-being, there are two favorable moments: in the afternoon, in the fumes of the hot water vapor with the view of the snow-capped peaks of the peak of Hourgade (2,964 m) and from the peak of Estos (2,803 m), or in the evening, in the silence of the night, under a starry sky.

Balnea in Loudenvielle (Hautes-Pyrénées). Open every day, hours vary depending on the period. Adult entry € 20, children € 4 to € 14.50. Phone. : 05-62-49-19-19.

At the end of the world, in Spain

Frozen lake at Panticosa in the Spanish Pyrenees.

Located at 1,636 meters in the wonderful Tena Valley, Spain, the thermal baths of Panticosa are located at the end of a road, in the middle of a rugged and mineral landscape with the highest peaks exceeding 3,000 meters. Designed by the Spanish architect Rafael Moneo (Pritzker Prize in 1996), the building blends harmoniously into the landscape. Its facade made up of glass bricks makes you think to a foliage, we are both inside and outside. The first to benefit from the benefits of these sulphurous waters were the Romans. Then there was the prosperous period of the XIXe century when beautiful people came to take the waters in Panticosa. Witness of this popular destination, the old casino converted into a restaurant. The spa town is also the starting point for many snowshoeing and hiking tours. Skiing enthusiasts can ski down the slopes of the nearby Formigal-Panticosa resort.

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Five open-air baths where you can recharge your batteries in the heart of winter