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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, emblematic summit of the Val d’Azun “it’s a magical moment, when the snow has just fallen. Everything is muffled…“. Hadrian takes us to “his temple” as he calls it: his fir or fir forest, a natural habitat for many animal species in winter, such as foxes, chamois, tits and passerines…a breeding ground for inspiration for our artist .

With Sophie, Hadrien treads the snow to take us to one of his favorite places: Lac d’Estaing. There, with his camera, he tracks down a very special bird: the dipper, also called the water robin. This small, stocky brown bird with a white throat and chest is the only one of its kind that can dive to survey the depths of icy waters. Its wings then become fins, while its anatomy allows it to walk underwater, even against the current. A feat! Near waterways, waterfalls or high altitude lakes, it can be seen skimming the water with its outstretched wings to land on a rock. Then, see it dive to feed, come back up to catch its breath, before taking a dip again. Our photographer can stay on the lookout for hours to be able to capture the moment and offer us the exceptional shot! “For me it’s a moment when I forget everything. It’s a moment out of time” entrusts the photographer to Sophie.

A little further down in Lau-Balagnas, following 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 native valley to manage the family business.Pyrenean trout“. Our young breeder is a committed man. He claims to be a farmer, sentinel of the rivers and heir to a 70-year tradition. It must be said that in order to flourish, our precious fish requires 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, great chefs are starting to swap Nordic salmon for the beautiful local trout.

Salty, peppery, embellished with thyme and rosemary from the garden, beautiful pink fillets are about to go through the smokehouse before being tasted “The trout, the older it gets, the more it marks in color (…). It’s the shrimp“says Franck to Sophie.

the pink flamingo is pink because it eats shrimp.

Franck Pomarez, farmer, trout breeder

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 having made the school of arts of Tarbes, he became an animal sculptor “I am also a part-time shepherd” he 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, ibexes, the artist also knows how to venture outside the bestiary to work on contemporary works. A moment when he can work more “by instinct”, as he explains to Sophie.

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

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

The company performs all over France and Europe even if it remains based in this corner of the Pyrenees. Today, the troupe is preparing a show in Soulom near Arras-en-Lavedan. At nightfall, rehearsal time is approaching and our acrobat friends are counting on setting the fire.

“O the beautiful life”: “Val d’Azun: in the heart of the elements” to be seen on Sunday May 8, 2022, at 12:55 p.m.

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

To be found on our replay site

On DTT: channel 3

Reception via ADSL from Orange, SFR, Free, Bouygues Télécom, Numéricable and Darty

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Orange SD: 317 and 314
SFR HD: 444 and 447
Free HD: 315 and 318
Bouygues Telecom Bbox: 483 and 486
Numericable LaBox: 444 and 447
Darty Box: 305 and 310

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