Ready for a real-life journey, as a couple or with friends? This itinerary is ideal for a first road trip in the mountains! With just a few miles to cover, well sign-posted roads, breathtaking panoramas of the Pyrenees National Park and outdoor activities galore: shores of emerald lakes, bubbling chasms and hikes suitable for most people. Your stay takes you from Bagnères-de-Bigorre to Lourdes, passing the legendary col du Tourmalet and the grandiose cirque de Gavarnie – among other wonders.
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Begin with a stroll to Bagnères-de-Bigorre, the main spa resort in the Hautes-Pyrénées, to explore its 12th century cloister and drop by Halles to sample regional produce. Next, take the road to lac de Payolle for lunch and a paddle and to perhaps enjoy activities at the water sports centre: pedalos, canoes, kayaks… It’s also a fisherman’s paradise! Head next to la Mongie to enjoy the majestic panorama of le Pic de Midi… which you will climb the following morning!
From La Mongie, a cable car will take you directly to the summit of Pic du Midi and an exceptional panorama over the Pyrenees from the lanscape terraces. Allow a good half day to relax and enjoy the numerous surrounding walks. Returning to la Mongie, take the road to le col du Tourmalet. Numerous walks await such as the hike to lac d’Oncet. Finally, head down the gentle slope to Luz-Saint-Sauveur, possibly making the detour to lac de la Glère, or for a stroll through the site of l’Agnouede.
A large bowl of greenery awaits at cirque de Gavarnie, « the colosseum of nature », wrote Victor Hugo. This protected site, rich in fauna and flora, offers superb walks in stunning landscapes. Leave le cirque by following la gave (« rivière ») of Gavarnie and head up by following the Cauterets. This small, lively mountain village is renowned for its spas, which will reward your hiking exertions. Head to the Bains du Rocher to recuperate before your final stage.
Before reaching the legendary town of Lourdes, make a detour to the Pont d’Espagne, a historic piece of work on the country border. Enjoy a walk around the lac de Gaube and admire the surrounding waterfalls. Recuperated, and breathing in the fresh air, head down to Lourdes: this sanctuary is without doubt an unmissable visit, but you can also keep with the “nature” theme by walking along the berges du gave or by cycling along the green lanes.
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