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Phespirit goes to France
French Pyrenees     June/July 2003

Whilst staying in Arinsal, Phespirit made two forays by coach from Andorra into the French Pyrenees:

  1. Foray the first - a journey along the subterranean river at Labouiche.

    Out of Andorra and headed towards Foix on the N20, Phespirit stopped first at Ax-les-Thermes to dip his feet in the theraputic foot-dipping spring by the 13th century crusader hospital. The pool is slightly slippery underfoot, possibly owing to its popularity with lepers. Foix next, where Phespirit wandered the old streets and visited the château, and then a couple of kilometres further to reach Labouiche. The site has 1500m of underground rivers, tiered upon three levels. Visitors tour these rivers in motorless boats which guides haul along using metal bars suspended from the cave roof. The navigable part of this subterranean waterway is the longest in Europe; ergo, worth seeing.

  2. Foray the second - a journey on the little yellow train from Villefranche de Conflent to Mont Louis.

    Out of Andorra, following the N116 to Villefranche de Conflent, pausing to admire the Four Solaire d'Odeillo (the largest solar energy plant in the world) along the way. Villefranche de Conflent is an extremely pretty fortified town, from where Phespirit bought a nice fresh cooked pizza and caught Le Train Jeune (so-called for obvious reasons) to Mont Louis. The journey took about an hour and a quarter, hugging the sides of a valley. Somewhere near the halfway point the train crossed from the left side, over a viaduct, to the right. Thereafter Phespirit - sitting on a low carriage door which until then had faced sheer rock - was able to fully appreciate the lush Pyrenean scenery.

So those were the French forays of Phespirit. Having forayed, he returned to little Andorra.

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