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The most beautiful places to visit in French Pyrenees

The most beautiful places to visit in French Pyrenees

Oloron Sainte-Marie

This elegant riverside town (35 kilometers from Pau) is renowned for its UNESCO-indexed cathedral. Courting to the twelfth-century, the Cathédrale Sainte-Marie was a prevent at the medieval pilgrimage to Santiago de l.  A. Compostela in Spain. This surprising Romanesque portal (doorway) of the cathedral depicts charming, ornately sculpted figures, such as the remember of Béarn in Jerusalem. Upon entering the entrance, traffic are taken aback via the fantastic jewel field of a sanctuary, featuring colorful intricately painted columns and frescoes that glint with gilded info.

The yearly Foire du 1er Mai (fair of may additionally 1st) is a traditional event that brings many nearby farmers, food producers, and flower carriers to Oloron Sainte-Marie. Travelers will experience sampling the regionally made cheeses and nearby gastronomic specialties.


With its pure alpine air and pampering thermal baths, this fashionable spa city lives up to its name. Eaux-Bonnes method "proper Waters," in connection with the therapeutic mineral waters that go with the flow thru the metropolis. Empress Eugénie (spouse of Napoleon III) frequently visited the Eaux-Bonnes spa and made the city a resort vacation spot for socialites in the nineteenth century. Part of this prestigious beyond, the Valvital Thermes des Eaux-Bonnes (thermal spa) is housed in a renovated second Empire constructing featuring thermal swimming pools, saunas, and steam rooms, all designed with the latest technology. The waters are said to assist cure rheumatology and respiratory situations.

Another attraction of Eaux-Bonnes is the natural placing within the Gourzy woodland of the top Ossau Valley, encircled by means of the Pyrenees Mountains. For the duration of summer, shepherds take their flocks out to the valley's green pastures and meadows, even as picnickers, hikers, and cyclists enjoy the surroundings. For the duration of iciness, skiers flock to the snow-protected slopes. Gourette ski hotel, the oldest ski region of the Pyrenees, is 9 kilometers faraway from Eaux-Bonnes.


On the Nive River, the tranquil little metropolis of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port (approximately 26 kilometers from Sauveterre-de-Béarn) become a medieval pilgrimage forestall on the street to Santiago de Compostela. The historic upper town is enclosed through ancient fortifications. To enter the vintage city, traffic ought to skip thru a gate beneath the tower of the Eglise Notre-Dame-du-Pont, a somber church that blends Romanesque and Gothic elements. Every other need to-see sight, the town's castle changed into rebuilt with the aid of Vauban in 1688 and gives panoramic views.

Different sights nearby consist of the prehistoric caves (30 kilometers away), the Grotte d'Isturitz and the Grotte d'Oxocelhaya, which feature Paleolithic cave art work, and the Forêt d'Iraty (35 kilometers away), one in every of maximum stunning forests inside the region.


Moumour (six kilometers from Oloron Sainte-Marie) is a tiny village with panoramic perspectives of the nation-state and the Pyrenees Mountains within the distance. The principle enchantment is the Château de Lamothe, the summer season house of the évêques d'Oloron (Bishops of Oloron) from the 13th century via the 18th century, for nearly 600 years. This assets has been absolutely renovated, while preserving the man or woman of the unique building. The Château de Lamothe is now a costly small motel and offers visitors get entry to to the expansive lawn with a swimming pool. There also are gourmet eating alternatives.

Jurançon Countryside and Montagnes Béarnaises

The historic Béarn area is an idyllic landscape of gently rolling hills and storybook towns. An in particular picturesque vicinity of Béarn is the Jurançon, the solar-dappled foothills which might be blessed with a moderate climate yr-round. Springtime is nice, and autumn brings heat days of Indian summer. There are numerous trekking trails via the verdant vine-included fields.

By means of persevering with farther south and better up into the Montagnes Béarnaises (Béarn Mountains), the surroundings turns into extra wild and faraway. Alongside the unmarried-lane country roads, vacationers will observe a patchwork of small farms and animals grazing at the hillside pastures. It's far feasible to discover circle of relatives-owned farms that produce goat cheese and other artisanal merchandise. This alpine vicinity has many peaceful nature paths, via wooded regions and past rushing waterfalls.

Cirque de Gavarnie

Nature's version of a cathedral, the Cirque de Gavarnie is a round ring of mountainous granite walls that enclose the valley as though it were the colossal nave of a church. The sheer rock walls of the Cirque were formed by means of the erosion of glaciers millions of years ago. The very best summits are the photos du Marboré au Taillon, growing to over three,000 meters. Adding to the tranquility is a gurgling flow that rushes down the valley, crossed by means of small footbridges, and numerous waterfalls. The Grande Cascade is the very best waterfall in Europe, with a drop of 422 meters.

There's a mild strolling route that begins in Gavarnie village, runs past the Hôtel du Cirque, and follows the flow to the top of the valley. The idyllic surroundings is packed with little chirping birds, small alpine chalets, and grazing goats at the inexperienced hills, with the Cirque's soaring snow-dusted peaks within the historical past. Advanced hikers will appreciate the greater tough trail on the Brèche de Roland. The Cirque de Gavarnie is part of the Parc countrywide des Pyrénées (country wide Park of the Pyrenees Mountains), one of France's ten national parks.


For the devoted, Lourdes is an excellent sight. Pilgrims have come to Lourdes for over a century to peer wherein Saint Bernadette obtained her visions of the Virgin Mary and where the city's healing waters reputedly healed ailments. The Catholic Church documents the authentic miracles after an intensive manner of investigation, and thus far, 70 miracles had been confirmed. Every 12 months, millions of visitors come to Lourdes. A few visit to bathe inside the Lourdes waters in hopes of a miracle remedy. Others come to pray or to volunteer to assist the ill and disabled pilgrims.

The sacred waters of Lourdes flow freely from spigots outside the basilica. Traffic can also take the waters domestic in bottles. The holiest web site at Lourdes is the Grotto where Bernadette obtained her visions, and mass is held here. Every other region of worship is the 19th-century Basilique du Rosaire with Marian chapels proposing awesome Venetian-style mosaics. From April via October, candlelit Marian processions take region daily in front of the basilica at 9pm in the evenings.

Every yr, thousands and thousands of pilgrims participate in the spiritual activities at Lourdes, which makes it one of the most critical Catholic pilgrimage destinations in the world.

Saint-Bertrand de Comminges

In a quiet pastoral landscape, this medieval hilltop metropolis stands above the web site of an historic Roman city. Excavations have discovered the forum, a temple, baths, a theater, an amphitheater, and many other buildings. The Musée Archéologique (open may via September) displays artifacts exposed at the nearby archaeological site. During the center a long time, the metropolis's church turned into at the pilgrimage path to Santiago de los angeles Compostela in Spain.

Built among the twelfth and 14th centuries, the UNESCO-listed Cathédrale Sainte-Marie de Saint-Bertrand de Comminges blends Romanesque and Gothic elements and has a serene cloister that overlooks the Pyrenees foothills.

The village hosts a prestigious collection of music concerts, the festival du Comminges, held on Sunday afternoons from July via September. The yearly festival focuses on sacred song together with Baroque, choral songs, organ live shows, and Gregorian chants. Overall performance venues encompass the Cathédrale de Saint-Bertrand de Comminges and the Basilique Saint-simply de Valcabrère, a wonderful twelfth-century Romanesque church, as well as different historic churches in the vicinity.


Saint Savin is a sleepy village (15 kilometers from Lourdes) in the Vallée des Gaves, surrounded via hillside pastures in which sheep graze under the Montagnes de Lavedan. This tiny rural city includes a chief square with a fountain, a few streets of antique houses, a submit workplace, and the Café de l.  A. Poste. The primary attraction is the Eglise Saint-Savin-en-Lavedan, a 12th-century Romanesque church. Open yr-round, the church celebrates the feast of Saint Savin on October 9th. A competition on August 15th entertains crowds with energetic games, dancing, and a banquet.

Every other purpose to go to is to dine at Le Viscos eating place, renowned by way of locals and French vacationers who're inclined to power out in their manner just for a meal right here. The chef Jean-Pierre Saint-Martin is one of the "Maitres Cuisiniers de France" (master cooks of France). He prepares traditional French delicacies of the terroir primarily based on seasonal elements. Within the spring, summer, and early fall, guests can also take a seat out at the eating place terrace that overlooks the Pyrenees Mountains. Le Viscos is likewise a small boutique hotel that has been run by the identical family for generations.


Perched on a formidable crag, an imposing fortress dominates this ancient metropolis at the brink of the Parc Naturel Régional des Pyrénées Ariégeoises. Placed approximately 17 kilometers from Tarascon-sur-Ariège, this city became the capital of the historic County of Foix. There are three remaining towers of the Château de Foix; the unfastened-status round tower now homes the Musée de l'Ariège. An thrilling pilgrimage church, the twelfth- to fifteenth-century Eglise Saint-Volusien has a easy Romanesque facade, intricate carved information, and lovely choir stalls. Close to the church are many good-looking antique half-timbered houses.

The region surrounding Foix has many Romanesque churches of the 11th and 12th centuries, in addition to prehistoric caves with rock drawings, maximum significantly the Grotte de Niaux.

Grand Tourmalet Ski Area

The Grand Tourmalet ski area (25 kilometers from Bagnères-de-Bigorre) is the largest ski hotel of the Pyrenees Mountains in France, with one hundred kilometers of skiable area. The Grand Tourmalet is properly prepared with over 30 lifts supplying get admission to to 70 ski slopes. Lots of accommodation alternatives are available at Barèges, an genuine Pyrenees mountain village, and the greater cutting-edge lodge metropolis of los angeles Mongie.

Northwest of la Mongie is the % du Midi de Bigorre at 2,877 meters, which commands marvelous sweeping perspectives. The % du Midi cable vehicle takes vacationers up to the summit.