Dates & Prices

BOOK HOLIDAY NOW

Dates: May 2015 (dates to be confirmed)

Price: £1,200 (TBC)

Single Room Supplement: £100

Deposit: £150 per person


Price Includes: All meal, accommodation with private facilities and air-con, ground transport, services of guides.

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

Conservation Donation: 10% of profits will be donated to Butterfly Conservation.

Leader: Tristan Lafranchis

Group Size & Travel: Minimum of 4 and a maximum of 12 guests plus 1-2 leaders. Comfortable vehicles will be used for all travel.

Grade 1-2: Gentle pace in meadows and mountain terrain.

Holiday Highlights


  • Visit one of the best butterfly areas in the whole of France, with the best butterfly expert in Europe – Tristan Lafranchis
  • Enjoy 80-100+ species of butterfly
  • Special species – Spanish Fritillary, Provencal Fritillary, Spanish Festoon, Chequered Blue, Spanish Swallowtail and many more!
  • Beautiful mountain scenery adorned by spring flowers & butterflies
  • Relaxed pace ideally suited to photography & full enjoyment of the butterflies
  • Contribute to Butterfly Conservation
  • Photography advice / tuition where desired

Join us in the eastern French Pyrenees for a feast of butterflies with leading expert & author Tristan Lafranchis!

BOOK HOLIDAY NOW

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Holiday Guide

Tristan Lafranchis Tristan is a celebrated expert and author. His published works include the highly acclaimed field guide “Butterflies of Europe” and the wonderfully illustrated two-volumed work “Flora of Greece” in 2009. Tristan’s knowledge of the wilder parts of France and Greece, particularly their butterflies and plants, is second to none. This and his friendly and easy-going manner make him an invaluable and much sought after leader.

Tristan was the 2011 winner of the Marsh European Lepidoptera Award, which recognises the efforts of those whose work has had a major and positive impact on butterfly and moth conservation within Europe. In summarising some of Tristan’s special qualities they said, “Those who have accompanied him in the field are constantly amazed how the combination of botanical and butterfly knowledge produce an insight into a butterfly fauna that is shared by very few. If the food plant is there he will find the egg or the caterpillar. This sort of knowledge is the product of a field season that starts in February and ends in November”.


 

We are very excited to be able to announce this brand new butterfly tour for 2014 with the enigmatic Tristan Lafranchis.

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We are very excited to be able to announce this brand new butterfly tour for 2014 with the enigmatic Tristan Lafranchis. 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 referrred 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.

We of course will be looking mainly for the butterflies that abound throughout this Garden of Eden but will take the time to observe other flora and fauna. 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 supbspecies), 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. 10% of profits from the holiday will be donated to Butterfly Conservation to help with their european programme.

We will fly from the UK to Perpignan and upon arrival take you to the hotel, hopefully stopping en route to sample some of the butterflies. Our home for the week is a charming village hotel with a family atmosphere, nestled within a sheltered green valley in the foothills of Mount Canigou. All the rooms have large balconies and most come with inspiring mountain views.

In addition to the butterflies there are several interesting historical sights, concentrated towards the coast in French Catalonia and along the Tech and Tet valleys. For example, Villefranche du Conflent which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site designed by Vauban is worth a look if you wish to take time off from butterfly watching and explore. This fortified town has ramparts to explore, wonderful flood lit caves to descend into, and perched half way up the valley side is Fort Liberia with 700 steps down to the town.

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 location and the best butterfly guide in Europe!

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: Porté: 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.

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