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The chromatic explosion that occurs in Aranese forests with the arrival of autumn gives us some of the most magnificent and idyllic landscapes that can be enjoyed in the Valley. The environment becomes reddish, scarlet, ochre and gold because of the abundant deciduous species such as beech and oak trees, while the peaks of the mountains begin to dye white with the first snows.
Clear and sunny days are especially nice to enjoy nature in the autumn light and the picturesque Aran villages and churches of Romanesque Route de l’Aran. For more chilly moments we suggest visit museums, go the shopping route from the Val d’Aran and, of course, taste the comforting native cuisine.
It’s worth taking the opportunity to profit the last months of Aran Park, open until November. In this wildlife park you can observe the animals of the Pyrenees in their natural habitat and in semi freedom. Autumn is the rutting of deer, indicating the start of the breeding period. Males scratching and digging the ground, rubbed with trees and emit a short, hoarse cry and repetitive. Its horns reach the maximum size and some, such as chamois or roe deer, change the color of their coats.
Walks and mushrooms
It is also a good time for some walking or cycling excursions, too long for a hot summer day. You’ll find a wide variety of itineraries for all levels in our websites hiking and cycling. In addition, fans of mushrooms have a paradise in our forests, but you have to remember that you need the passport issued by the Conselh Generau free for residents, owners of second homes and people overnight in tourist establishments in the Val d ‘Aran and that has a term of four years.
Horse outputs are also highly recommended. There are two beautiful equestrian routes with different difficulty levels that will delight lovers of racing: Vielha to Montgarri; and Renclusa Vielha to the slopes of Aneto.
And the adventure continues, as at this time you can still continue practicing climbing on the various climbing walls or three iron roads: Les, Unha and Cledes, the latest one opened last spring.
Festivals and traditions
Coinciding with the arrival of autumn, Val d’Aran celebrates a new edition of animals and trade fairs, during which you may know one of the Aran traditions such as the cattle industry, main sector some decades ago, and the various native breeds. They take place in Bossòst, Les, Salardú and Vielha and all kind of activities are organized: animal exhibitions, popular lunch and craft markets.
Equally entertaining are the major festivals that take place these months in various towns.If you visit them, take advantage to take the tour of the Val d’Aran shopping route, where you will find an attractive assortment of local products, either in the main areas of Vielha, Bossòst i Les, as in the irresistible and quaint shops of smaller towns.
At this season we get good fresh new ingredients like mushrooms or beans, which are incorporated in the Aran restaurants menu. Foie gras, duck breast and confit, the typical Olha aranesa, boar civet and the bolhs and pates are just a small example of the cuisine that can be tasted at this time.
During the months of September and October mushroom enters its peak season, an increasingly present product in the recipes of local dishes of the Val d’Aran, accompanying newly introduced products such as sturgeon and caviar, or strengthening the special flavor and texture of game meat in dishes like Wild boar stew.
We cannot forget Era Mongetada, the great gastronomic and cultural festival that is celebrated in the towns of Bossòst and Garòs to worship to one of the main products of the Valley gastronomy.
and little by little the snow with its white mantle puts an end to the autumn to give way to the winter season: Baqueira in all its glory … but we’ll tell you this in another post!
Fresh meat from Aranese cattle, and other indigenous products such as sturgeon, trout, sausages and pâtés are also present in many restaurant menus. A wide variety of dishes with French influences, such as raclettes and fondues de queso and crespèths (crêpes). And all this is crowned by the routes of Pintxo Pote, which have already found a niche in the gastronomy of the Valley.
The most traditional dishes of Aranese cuisine are a good restorative to recover from the icy winter days or snow sports days. Among them, the symbol par excellence of the traditional gastronomy of Val d’ Aran is the Olha Aranesa, a powerful and tasty soup of great energy value. Simpler, but equally comforting is the Patarnes, bread soup and potatoes of very easy elaboration.
Among the meats, hunting is also very present in winter, with dishes such as wild boar cannelloni or civet de senglar, a tasty stew. Also, in the valley’s many braziers we find an excellent fresh meat from Aranese cattle, roasted on a wood fire.
Val d’ Aran’s guarantee brand products also allow the signature cuisine restaurants to innovate with their own preparation of winter dishes. In the valley we can taste specialities as suggestive as the candied sturgeon, a trout with fine herbs, the carpaccio of deer, cabbages stuffed with meat or goose cannelloni. And even modern versions of traditional dishes such as deconstructed Aranese Olha or the stew of deer with vanilla tubers.
Influenced by the neighbouring country, the winter cuisine of Val d’ Aran has incorporated specialities typical of French cuisine interpreted, albeit with the special Aranese style. The crespèth, is the typical Aranese variety of the popular sweet crêpe. It is usually eaten in breakfasts and snacks, although some restaurants also include it in their menu.
Other references to alpine cuisine are fondues, raclettes and soufflés, with cheese as the star ingredient. And, precisely, artisan cheese boards or the varieties of fresh cheese with honey from Arana are also present in dessert menus.
The tradition of the pincho landed in the Val d’ Aran from northern Spain, mainly through the hands of Basque chefs living in Aranese lands. It has its origin in the tapas served by the bars of the villages: the typical corns, salad, wild potatoes or Spanish omelette that, with daring, imagination and culinary creativity have become authentic delicacies and have managed to establish the fashion of snacking in the Valley.
The Pintxo Pote consists of a tapas of the day, the “pintxo”, served with a drink -usually a house wine or beer zurito-, the “pote”, on Tuesdays in Vielha, Thursdays in Bossòst and Fridays in Les. The routes of the Pintxo Pote usually coincide with the snow season and are a good opportunity for a pleasant meeting between locals and seasonal workers.
The Musèu dera Nhèu is a harmonious combination of audiovisual and interactive resources and graphics and written historical documents, can address the phenomenon of snow from the scientific perspective, ethnographic and sport, with the help of an extensive collection of testimonials items ranging from a mockup of Baqueira Beret until the first models of skis.
Coto Çò Baile an eighteenth century building, hosts this centre created in 2006, with 500 m2 of permanent exhibition on three floors and four sections on meteorological phenomenon; the harshness of life in these areas; snow sports; and ski resorts. The centre is complemented by another 150 m2 in the building of Social Casal intended for exhibitions and conferences. During the winter there ara guided visits that it is necessary to arrange in the municipality of Naut Aran.
Crystals and snow of the cohesion, avalanches, glaciers or the animals adaptation to the snow are some of the topics covered on the first floor, with a scientific vision and displayed via touch screens and audiovisual media. This section has been made with the cooperation of the Val d’Aran Prediction Center of Avalanches, under the Conselh Generau d’Aran , which participated in developing of the content.
The second thematic section focuses on the lifestyle of some territories conditioned by a certain geography and meteorology. Hardness winters, architecture adapted, clothing, legends and beliefs, popular sayings … With the old fire place of the house as part of the scenery, it is recreated a traditional kitchen with utensils from contributions from individuals and the Museum of Vielha, including old sleds and vintage clothing.
The beginnings of skiing and the different types of sports and snow activities, winter fashion and ski equipment are part of this third section which shows how the Val d’Aran has become a winter tourist destination unique for its conditions, with heavy snow and of very good quality, which has been the cradle of outstanding athletes. It also includes an audiovisual and a permanent exhibition of materials given in part by Baqueira Beret.
The final section gives an overview of the history and present of the main ski resorts in the world and in Catalonia, with special mention of Baqueira, consolidated as one of the best ski resorts in the Pyrenees in terms of services, facilities and ski area and on which you can see an interesting audio-visual.
The Val d’Aran offers an attractive and unique commercial offering from which tourists can, from finding necessities, to browse among an assortment of unique details to take as a souvenir of their stay.
The route of the Aran stores depends critically on three main areas: Vielha, Bossòst and Les, but should not forget the vintage shops that have survived in each of the picturesque villages. Some of them, roadside, flaunt their affability for the traveller. Other, more hidden, will be sought between the streets under roofs of stone, wood and slate.
Among them, stand out the establishments specializing in meat products, sausages and pates, handcrafted made according to the recipes inherited from grandparents and great-grandparents butchers. And, of course, there are the traditional “Horns” baking bread to firewood and traditional pastries made with the classical conquilhons and tronquets between them.
In many localities there are also inherited businesses where the family tradition is maintained. Era Bordeta and Bagergue surprise visitors with excellent artisan cheeses, Garòs and Bausen with a limited production and high quality honey and Casarilh with the first craft Aranese beer, incorporating the natural resources of the valley.
Excellent souvenirs are also the pieces manually woven in wool of Val d’Aran native sheep, wicker baskets handmade and unique pieces of Aranese pottery that you can find in some of the many smalls shops of the villages.