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5 Wonderful Things To Do In The Haute-Pyrenees

by rifadmin on 19-02-2019 in Aritcles1

Since 2016, the "Midi Pyrenees" has been merged with neighbouring Languedoc into a new super-region called "Occitanie"

Unlike many regions of France Midi-Pyrénées is not a historic province.  The modern Midi-Pyrenees region was made up out of all or a large part of different historic areas, including parts of the large former provinces of Guyenne, Gascony, and Languedoc, and smaller areas, within these larger areas, such as Rouergue and Quercy, the Albigeois, and the county of Foix. 

The Midi-Pyrénées incorporates eight departments, which are Ariège, Aveyron , Haute-Garonne, Gers, Lot, Hautes-Pyrénées, Tarn  and Tarn-et-Garonne.The city of Toulouse, lying more or less in the centre of the region, is by far the biggest city. Although this is the largest region in France, over a third of the entire population live in the Toulouse urban area, and the Haute Garonne department, surrounding Toulouse, accounts for well over 40% of the regional population. 

The French Pyrenees are a mountain range unlike any other. Situated along the French-Spanish border, these mountains have a distinct medieval history. Although they are less famous than their eastern sisters the Alps, their relative obscurity gives the Pyrenees a distinct peace.

 

Explore the village of Argelès-Gazost

Vallée du Lavedan is one of the 7 valleys which makeup Vallées des Gaves in the Haute-Pyrenees. It’s the principal town in the valley which extends for 50 km north to south, from Lourdes to the Spanish border. There are several smaller towns and many villages in this valley.  Argeles-Gazost is at 400 metres altitude, well below the snowline (above 1000 metres). The town has plenty of shops and restaurants, beautiful villas and a spa park.

 

Visit the 750 year-old Farmers Market

In Argeles-Gazost every Tuesday morning there is a farmer’s market, which incredibly, has been held here since 1292. Market day is the perfect opportunity to sample locally produced products. Don’t miss a taste of the delicious cheeses, honey, foie gras, charcuterie, gateau a la broche and the local speciality dish “La Garbure”.

 

Mountain Experiences

There’s an endless array of activities to enjoy in the area including canyoning, rafting, climbing, paragliding, mountain top hiking trails and so much more. The mountains house an extremely rich, fragile and well-preserved flora and fauna and have been Heritage Listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

The villages of Gavarnie and Gèdre are located in the heart of the Pyrenees National Park and the two municipalities are emblematic of the region.

From the Brèche de Roland, to the great glacial “cirques” and down to the pasture lands. It is one of the most spectacular landscapes that you will ever see.

Straddling the French-Spanish border and overlooking the Spanish canyons of Añisclo, Pineta and the mythical Ordesa, the territory of Gavarnie is part of the “Pyrénées-Mont Perdu, cirques and canyons” national park, recognized as a World Heritage site by UNESCO.

Grand glacial cirques, crystalline lakes, snow-capped summits, mighty waterfalls, magnificent beech forests. The airy realm of the French Pyrenees is utterly breathtaking. There are many fantastic hiking journeys that bring you along the best trails of the famed GR10. This long-distance footpath that carves a dramatic route among the high peaks of the Pyrenees. Along the way are spectacular views, including the wild Cirque de Gavarnie, a vast stone amphitheatre with dramatic 4,000-foot-high walls, and the enormous Cirque de Troumousep – five miles end to end!

 

Relax and Unwind in a Thermal Spa

Thermal resorts are a plenty around the valleys and they are a great way to enjoy relaxing in true mountain style. The Romans enjoyed the thermal sources on the hillsides of the Pyrenean Mountains. In fact, Emperor Julius Caesar sent his armies to heal their wounds in Barèges (which is also the largest ski resort in the French Pyrenees).

 

Cyclists' Paradise

Cyclists come from all over the world to ride through the Gaves Valley. It’s one of the favourite areas for the Tour de France. Climb the Col du Tourmalet or numerous other cols, such as Aubisque and Soulor.

To really appreciate the real Pyrenees, you need to get off the beaten track. Ride the back-country trails, where the only sound comes from the tinkle of cowbells and the occasional thunder of melting snow tumbling from a distant ridge. Every year shepherds leads their herds up to the summer pastures around the remote amphitheatre of mountains known as the Cirque de Troumouse. Cycle the Cirque de Gavarie, a UNESCO heritage site, and discover heaven on two wheels.

 

 

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