a trip to the heart of the elements

It is in Val d’Azun that we find Sophie Jovillard in “Ô la belle vie”. The opportunity to take advantage of the last snow and to discover the “Eden of the Pyrenees”, this nature in its raw state, which has some great surprises in store for us during our journey, in the heart of the elements.

Sophie finds Hadrien Brasseur, guide and wildlife photographer. In front of them, the Pic du Midi d’Arrens, the emblematic peak of the Val d’Azun “it’s a magical moment where the snow has just fallen. Everything is subdued …Hadrian takes us to “his temple”, as he calls it: his spruce or spruce forest, a natural habitat for many species of animals in winter, such as foxes, chamois, titmice and sparrows … a breeding ground for inspiration for our artist. .

Together with Sophie, Hadrien treads the snow to take us to one of his favorite places: Lac d’Estaing. There he tracks with his camera a very special bird: the Dipper, also called the water robin. This small, dense brown bird with a white neck and chest is the only one of its kind that can dive to see the depth of icy water. Its wings then become fins, while its anatomy allows it to go underwater, even against the current. A business! Near waterways, waterfalls or high-lying lakes, it can be seen frothing the water with its outstretched wings to land on a rock. Watch it then dive to eat, get up again to catch your breath before taking a dip again. Our photographer can be on the lookout for hours to be able to capture the moment and offer us that unique image! “For me, it’s a moment where I forget everything. It’s a moment out of time “ leaves the photographer to Sophie.

A little further down in Lau-Balagnas, after the flow of the water, Sophie goes to a fish farm to meet another fish lover. This time it is a former high-level rugby player, Frank Pomarez, who has returned to live in his birth valley to run the family business.Pyrenean trout“. Our young breeder is a committed man. He claims to be a farmer, the guardian of the rivers and heir to a 70-year-old tradition. It must be said that in order to flourish, our precious fish require fresh, well-oxygenated and low-polluted.

From the breeding of the eggs it takes three years to obtain a good trout. Today, at a time when we tend to want to live closer to nature and consume differently, good chefs are starting to replace Nordic salmon with the beautiful local trout.

Salt, peppery, garnished with thyme and rosemary from the garden, beautiful pink fillets are about to go through the smokehouse before they are tasted “The trout, the older it gets, the more it feels in the color (…). It’s the shrimpSays Franck to Sophie.

the pink flamingo is pink because it eats shrimp.

Franck Pomarez, farmer, trout grower

A little further in Arras-en-Lavedan we join another animal and mountain lover. Jean-Jacques Abdallah was born here in the Hautes-Pyrénées. After making art school in Tarbes, he became an animal sculptor. “I am also a part-time shepherdhe says to Sophie, showing us his son’s flock of sheep.

Although the artist works in marble and granite, his favorite material is Arudy stone, a veritable Pyrenean treasure mined since antiquity. Bears from Val d’Azun, eagles from Cauterets, ibex, the artist also knows how to go outside the bestiary to work on contemporary works. A moment where he can work more “out of instinct,” as he explains to Sophie.

Today, the artist is working on a work commissioned by an entrepreneur: a shepherd who weighs more than 4 tons and measures almost two meters high …

This troupe is, above all, a story about friends. They are originally from Val d’Azun and all have one thing in common: the art of knowing how to play with fire. Some were percussionists in associations, or musicians, other dancers or pyrotechnicians. Until the day they decide to combine their skills to form a troop. A good idea that in 2007 gave birth to the company Akouma (little demon in Japanese). Today, fire is the basis of their shows “It is beautiful surroundings, the snow and the fireSays one of them.

The company operates throughout France and Europe, although it remains based in this corner of the Pyrenees. Today, the troupe is preparing a show in Soulom near Arras-en-Lavedan. At dusk, rehearsal time is approaching, and our acrobat friends expect to set the fire.

“O the beautiful life”: “Val d’Azun: in the heart of the elements” seen on Sunday, May 8, 2022 at. 12.55.

Program presented by Sophie Jovillard. Directed by Laurent Desvaux. A France 3 Occitanie / Grand Angle Productions co-production.

Available on our replay page Francetv.fr

On DTT: channel 3

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