Guided butterfly, botanical & birdwatching holidays
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Butterflies & Botany of The French Pyrenees


Dates & Prices


Dates: 24 –  31 May 2018

Price: £1,245

Single Room Supplement: £100

Deposit: £150 per person

Price Includes: Accommodation, all meals, ground transport, services of guides, holiday report & a donation to Butterfly Conservation

Not Included: Flights, travel insurance, drinks and any other personal items

Conservation Donation: 10% of profits donated to Butterfly Conservation

Leader: David Moore & Yiannis Christofides

Group Size & Travel: Minimum of 4 and a maximum of 12 guests plus 2-3 leaders. Comfortable vehicles will be used for all travel

Grade: Gentle pace in meadows and mountain terrain, ideally suited to photography

Holiday Highlights

  • Visit one of the best areas in the whole of France (and indeed Europe!) for butterflies & flowers
  • See 75+ species of spring butterflies (98 recorded in 2017!)
  • Special species – Spanish Fritillary, Provencal Fritillary, Spanish Festoon, Apollo, Chequered Blue, Violet Copper, Spanish Swallowtail and lots more!
  • Flowers included too. Our expert botanist Yiannis Christofides will delight in showing you many special species!
  • Natural rock gardens festooned with Saxifrages, Sempervivums, Globularias, Saponaria ocymoides, Dianthus, Gentians, rampions, Aster alpinus, Rhododendron ferrugineum etc!
  • Relaxed pace ideally suited to photography & full enjoyment of the wildlife & scenery
  • Contribute to Butterfly Conservation

Join us in the eastern French Pyrenees for a feast of spring butterflies & flowers!


Join us in the eastern French Pyrenees for a feast of spring butterflies & flowers!


The eastern French Pyrénées (Les Pyrénées Orientales in French) lie along the French border with Spain and Andorra. They are the eastern part of the chain of mountains linking the Atlantic coast to the Mediterranean Sea and were once part of Spain. The area is often referred to as ‘French Catalonia’; indeed a minority of the population still speak the Catalan dialect. The dominant climatic influence of the Eastern Pyrenees is the Mediterranean; the climate is warmer and the days sunnier than elsewhere in the Pyrenees.

The Pyrénées National Park was created in 1967 and its mountains made from crystalline and sedimentary rocks are a national heritage without barriers or fences providing a sanctuary where wildlife are totally free to move around without human exploitation. Today, the park rangers do much to monitor, protect and enhance the wildlife which lives there. There is breathtaking variety in the fauna and flora occupying the very different ecosystems found in alpine, sub alpine and montane forest zones, river valleys and escarpments. Golden Eagles, Bearded, Griffon and Egyptian Vultures soar effortlessly on the updraughts. Butterflies flutter all over the mountains and foothills adorned with gorgeous wild flowers like beautiful Pyreneen Lillies, Gentians and Irises. Mammals such as Red Squirrel, Wild Boar, Chamois and even Brown Bear can be found here.

Our base for the week will be on the slopes of Mt Canigou, the sacred mountain for Catalonians on both sides of the French-Spanish border. Rising to 2784 metres it dominates the eastern end of the  Pyrenees. We’ll stay in a charming village hotel with a family atmosphere, nestled within a sheltered green valley in the foothills of Mt Canigou. All the rooms have large balconies and most come with inspiring mountain views. The area boasts a wide variety of habitats, from Mediterranean garigue and maquis, through holm (Quercus ilex) and downy oak (Q. pubescens), beech woods, calcareous grasslands and alpine screes. The Mediterranean area will host orchids and other typical plants such as Galactites tomentosa, Aphyllanthes monspeliensis, Helianthemum, Salvia and other Labiates. The woods higher up host a different set of orchids such as Epipactis, Limodorum abortivum, Cephalanthera longifolia, Corallorhiza trifida, Platanthera and Orchis militaris. The subalpine areas are natural rock gardens festooned with Saxifrages, Sempervivums, Globularias, Saponaria ocymoides, Dianthus, Gentians, rampions, Aster alpinus and  Rhododendron ferrugineu.

The butterflies that we can find are a beautiful mix of interesting and colourful species. Because of the proximity to Spain, we will find many of the species more commonly associated there like Spanish Fritillary and Spanish Festoon, Spanish Gatekeeper and Spanish Marbled White and many spring time butterflies. Others such as Apollo, Clouded Apollo, Southern Scarce Swallowtail, Marsh Fritillary (large reddish subspecies), Provençal Fritillary, Weaver’s Fritillary, Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary, False Heath Fritillary, Provence Orange Tip, Moroccan Orange Tip, Mountain Small White, Western Dappled White, Mountain Dappled White, Map Butterfly, Duke of Burgundy Fritillary, Cardinal, Southern White Admiral, Chequered Blue, Osiris Blue, Chapman’s Blue, Amanda’s Blue, Provençal Short-tailed Blue, Provence Chalkhill Blue, Green Underside Blue, Turquoise Blue,Geranium Argus, Sooty Copper, Pearly Heath, De Prunner’s Ringlet, Bright-eyed Ringlet, Red-underwing Skipper and Olive Skipper, are just a few of the other butterflies we will see. We will also be searching for the rare and beautiful Violet Copper.

Because of our love of butterflies and commitment to conserving them 10% of profits from the holiday will be donated to Butterfly Conservation.

We hope to welcome you on what promises to be a fantastic tour which combines vital ingredients for making your holiday special and memorable – a bonanza of butterflies, beautiful flowers and stunning landscapes!

Day 1: Arrival in Perpignan. Transfer hotel.

Day 2: Sournia: Flowery meadows for Spanish Fritillary, Spanish Festoon, Osiris Blue and many others.

Day 3: Nohèdes: Valley and woodlands, dry slopes, cliffs and stream.

Day 4: Towards Andorra & Llivia: higher up in a valley in damp meadows at 1400-1600 m + possibly to Andorra for Apollo, Mountain Dappled White, de Prunner’s Ringlet in meadows with gorgeous mountain flowers.

Day 5: Upper Aude and Rebenty in beautiful wooded valleys.

Day 6: Lower Corbières: close to the Mediterranean Sea, the limestone hillsides offer dry grasslands and stony slopes with small streams for Mediterranean butterflies.

Day 7: Foothills of Mt Canigou or around Llo to find spring or mountain butterflies.

Day 8: Transfer to airport.

z Spanish Fritillaryz Spanish Festoonz Provencal Orange-tipz-Violet-Copper-crop

Michael…Great butterflies, great scenery, great food, great driver! The French Pyrenees trip was well planned to visit all butterfly sites at optimal times. A great holiday with dramatic scenery and a profusion of butterflies and flowers. A very enjoyable trip.

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