From Luz-Saint-Sauveur, the Pyrenees Mountains are all yours. All the best hiking sites, peaks and highlands are easily accessible. Here, you will find the freedom to breathe freely, move, broaden your horizon and enjoy!
Luz-Saint-Sauveur was a thermal hub for the noble and wealthy throughout the 18th century: the medicinal bathing sites attracted emperors, artists, intellectuals and more. Amongst the historical figures that often-visited Luz was French emperor Napoleon III (grandson of Napoleon the Ist). Fallen in love with the town in the mountains, he encouraged its development throughout the 1860s. Today Luz is perhaps the best-conserved heritage from that era in France and elsewhere. French emperor Napoleon III facilitated the construction of a monumental bridge over the Gave Canyon that splits the town in two quarters. To thank the emperor the people of Luz erected a gigantic column in his honor: the “Napoleon Column”.
You will work on the square where the Column is placed, overviewing the deep canyon. Nowadays the bridge is used for bungee jumping, rafting, and other adventure sports, and the square has been damaged. You will replace the old pavement with more old-style cobbles, and hence make the square and the column a landmark in Luz once again.
Logement et nourriture
You will be accommodated in a local apartment building with shared rooms – bring your warm sleeping bag and a camping mat - with showers and toilets. The group will share the cleaning tasks and prepare meals together. You will prepare the meals in shifts and participate in the organization of the collective life (planning, cleaning, shopping, etc.). We will encourage the purchase of local and seasonal products.
The great writer Victor Hugo described Luz as a “charming old town… beautifully situated in a deep triangular valley… When the miquelets (Catalan militia men) and Spanish smugglers arrived from Aragon … they saw a great light… They named this town light, or Luz.”
Luz Saint Sauveur is in the Hautes-Pyrenees County, south-west of France near the pilgrimage city of Lourdes. It is close to the most beautiful natural sites of the Pyrenees Mountains:
• Midi Peak,
• Gavarnie valley,
• Bridge of Spain,
• Neouvielle natural park,
• Pyrenees National Park (with many highland lakes).
The beauty and diversity of this county presents a great historical, architectural and environmental interest.
The municipality has been developing a large project to restore its local heritage, especially through international workcamps. For over 5 years we have been renovating old streets, washhouses, fountains, and hiking trails. This year you will redecorate the “Napoleon Column”, one of the town’s landmarks.
Point de rendez-vous
Luz Saint Sauveur bus station (first reach Lourdes Train Station then take a bus until Luz Saint Sauveur, about 30 minutes)
Bring working clothes, gloves, and closed shoes. Bring a warm sleeping bag, as nights might be cold due to the altitude and we may also sleep in the mountains. To enjoy the mountains, bring your trekking shoes. For the brave ones who want to take a dip in the river, bring your swimming suit. Feel free to bring activities from home such as photos, games, musical instruments, etc.
Foreigners from the European Union must bring their personal EHIC (European Health Insurance Card), and all participants must bring their insurance certificate. If health issues arise during the program, volunteers will need to cover all costs; they will be reimbursed upon their return to their home country.