The Pyrenees mountains are only a short drive from the Gite and on a clear day you can see the Pyrenees from the Gite, but normally because of the heat haze in the hot summer months, you can only see the Pyrenees from the Gite early in the morning. Lourdes and the Pyrenees lie to the south of the Gite, in the south-west of the Midi-Pyrenees region of France in the department of Hautes-Pyrenees.


  Lourdes is the 2nd most visited tourist destination in France (the Eiffel Tower in Paris is the most visited).  Lourdes is also the gateway to the Pyrenees National Park which is a protected sanctuary and habitat to wild fauna such as izards (mountain goat), birds of prey, marmots and over 1000 types of Pyrenean flora. Created in 1967, the Pyrenees National Park spreads from the Aspe valley to the west to the Néouvielle massif in the east, and stops at the Spanish border, covering an area of over 500 square kilometres.. It contains some of the most beautiful scenery in the Pyrenean mountain range, such as the Midi d’Ossau peak, Balaïtous, Vignemale, Marboré, the cirques of Lys, Troumouse, Estaubé, Barroude and most famously Gavarnie, with its wall rising to 3,248 m (the Marboré peak) and its waterfall which is the highest in Europe. The walk from the car park upto the waterfall is one of my favourite walks anywhere.


Pont d’Espagne
Pont d’Espagne

Other natural sights in the Pyrenees include, among many others, the famous Pont d’Espagne which is a protected natural area where you can walk or take ski lifts to lake Gaube and discover the most beautiful lakes and impressive waterfalls in the Hautes-Pyrénées, and indeed all of France. During August this area is a magnet to the French who come on holiday here from all over France – they know a good thing when they see it!


Other tourist attractions in the Pyrenees include:

  • Pyrenees National Park
    Pyrenees National Park

    The little train at Artouste, it is the highest tourist train in Europe and goes round the pyrenees mountains at 2,000 metres on a 10-km narrow-gauge track. The trip lasts over 3 hours and it includes the cable-car and the train return trip with a stop at the lake of Artouste. During the journey, you can admire the panoramic Pyrenean views over the Ossau mountains and the valley of Soussouéou.

  • The Médous caves, 23 km from Lourdes, on the road leading to the Tourmalet and Aspin Pyrenean passes. There is a 1km tour of which 200 metres is done on a barge on the underground Adour river which flows down through the Midi-Pyrenees including Riscle in Gers before reaching the Atlantic coast near Bayonne and Biarritz.

There are many more attractions too numerous to mention and the Pyrenees are still my favourite day trip destination from our Gite.

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