Our location

The Capcir Nature Retreat is located in Odeillo de Réal, a small hamlet in the Capcir Valley of the Pyrénées-Orientales. Two well known hiking trails, the GR 10 and the GR de Pays Tour de Capcir, pass right through the village.

At 5,000 ft (1500 m) altitude, the Capcir Nature Retreat features spectacular mountainside views, looking westward over Lac Puyvalador and the mountain peaks of Les Camporells as well as to the south over the expansive Capcir Valley – the highest plateau in all of the Pyrénées!

Nature trails for hiking and mountain biking are accessible on-site, in addition to skiing, horseback riding, and fishing in the area. Several hot springs and thermal spas are located throughout the area, with Angleo Balneo & Spa just 15 minutes away in Les Angles.

The town of Formiguères is a quick 8-minute drive across the valley, where you can find a variety of local shops, such as grocery stores, bakery, post office and several restaurants. There’s a Farmer’s Market every Saturday morning in front of the old Church in Formiguères, featuring local products from around the region.

A bit of history

The Capcir Nature Retreat was originally two sheep barns located in the heart of Odeillo de Réal. These barns were constructed in the mid-1800’s, as agricultural production increased in the Capcir region.  We purchased these barns from the last remaining farming family in the village. In the 1950s, there were ten family farms operating in Odeillo de Réal. By the 1970s and 1980s, many of the family farms disappeared. The remaining farmers had to adapt to new farming techniques which required bigger, modernized buildings to accommodate the larger cow herds and farming machines. These original sheep barns became obsolete and were left unused and abandoned.

The traditional barn structures were quite simple, featuring granite stone walls 50-60 cm wide, wooden carpentry and slate roofs – all made by hand. These buildings rarely exceed 6 meters in width and average 10 to 15 meters in length. The original barns were extremely vulnerable to water infiltration as the mortar for the stone masonry didn’t contain lime, only clay. As the roofs eventually became damaged over time, water from rain, snow and ice quickly penetrated the stone walls causing them to erode, crumble and become unstable. In a short span of a decade or two, these traditional sheep barns became ruins.

Have a look through our photo gallery to see what the barns looked like when we first bought them…