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Bagneres-de-Bigorre

Bagneres de Bigorre, France

Bagneres de Bigorre Holiday Homes and Apartments to Rent

The town of Bagnères-de-Bigorre (or Bagneres de Bigorre) is found in the south-west of France, only about 20km from the Spanish border as the crow flies. It has a population of around 8500 people, which continues to grow each year due to a steady influx of property buyers from other parts of Europe and the UK. It's a popular tourist location all year round - in the winter for skiers and winter sports enthusiasts and, during the summer, for a whole host of leisure pursuiters including hikers, cyclists, climbers, fishermen, canoeists and horse riders.

Bagneres de Bigorre is set in a stunning location, amidst the sometimes lush and stunningly beautiful scenery of the Haute-Pyrénées. Originally  a  traditional 19th Century spar and market town, nestling in the northern foothills of the Pic du Midi, it was famous, back in the late 19th century, for its spar baths (Les Thermes) . The town’s glory days have somewhat faded, from the grand era of thermalism, when everyone who was anyone in Europe would come to Bagnères-de-Bigorre to be pampered and to “take the waters”. However, when you rent a holiday apartment in Bagneres de Bigorre you can't fail to notice its forward-looking attitude has resulted in a town with a lively atmosphere and a good clutch of modern amenities. Today it is one of the most-visited French towns by the annual cycling extravaganza, the Tour de France. The Pic du Midi (peak) which dominates the landscape, is snow-capped for 8 months of the year and is a popular ski resort. Perched on the top of this imposing 3000m mountain, there is a large observatory where you can view the stars and planets and learn about the night sky. There has been an observatory here since 1880! It is widely renowned for its almost completely un-poluted air so is an ideal locaction astronomy lovers.

There are a number of good restaurants and shops to see when you stay in a Holiday Home in Bagnères-de-Bigorre, with all the usual boulangeries, boucheries, gift shops and banks. There may be a slight feeling of fading grandeur about Bagnères-de-Bigorre, but it only adds to its charm. Many of the buildings also hark back to the past, with the stone and timbered houses, wooden shutters and ancient narrow streets. 
 
If you need something to do on  a wet summer afternoon or a snowy winter one, try the Aquensis Centre a spectacular spar baths and fitness centre - which has now replaced the traditional thermal baths in popularity. Here you can indulge in any treatment that takes your fancy, and benefit from the pure healing qualities of the mineral waters for which Bagnères-de-Bigorre has long been famed. 

If you decide to drive up to the ski station at La Mongie and take the cable car up to the top of the Pic ddu Midi to visit the observatory, don't spend all your time looking up at the stars, as there are some amazing sights to be seen a little closer to earth. It goes without saying that the views from the pic are without peer, as you gaze out across one of Europe's most beautiful mountain ranges. Close to the town is the Pyrenees National Park which abounds with unique and fascinating flora and fauna, including bears, marmots and birds of prey. Travelling just a little further afield, you can easily make it to Spain and discover a different culture entirely.
 
Being right in the heart of the Pyrénées means that you have access to some amazing sporting pursuits. You can make for the mountains and the traditional winter sports of skiing or snow boarding  in resorts such as La Mongie, Bareges or Cauterets. The latter was featured in a recent Channel Four programme about a couple who moved from England to run a holiday business in the resort! Recently 8 of the local ski stations formed an alliance called N-Py and now offer a ski pass which offers discounts on common lift passes.

If you fancy something a little different, you can try the white water sports in the rushing rivers of the canyons or stick to an old favourite or play golf on the excellent Country Club Golf de Bigorre eighteen-hole championship course which is up on the hill just a couple of miles from the centre of the town.
 
To get to your Bagnères-de-Bigorre Holiday Accommodation you can fly to one of several airports that are within easy reach of the town. Of these, Pau is the closest, with direct flights from the UK with budget airlines Ryanair and Easyjet. Rail travel is also possible and the TGV takes you to either Toulouse or to Tarbes, from where you can access local services (bus or train) to your destination. If you are driving, you can find the town from the A64 auto route, where you exit at junctions 14, 15 or 16, depending on which direction you are approaching the town from. From London and several other UK  airports there are 1, 2 or sometimes 3 flights per day to Toulouse with BA, Air France and EasyJet. The flight time is only 1hr 15 mins. From Toulouse, you take the A-64 autoroute westwards and exit at Tournay, junction 14. From Biarritz airport the jouney is a similar distance and you would exit at junction 16, signposted to Tarbes. There is also an international airport at Tarbes-Lourdes but this doesn't have any scheduled flights from the UK, although there are some chartered services.

Tarbes, a large commercial town of 40,000 inhabitants, is only 20 mins drive from Bagneres and has many shops, restaurants and bars.

Being close to the Atlantic (only 150km or so) determines the climate around Bagneres. There is a high annual rain fall, which is good for the winter sports enthusiasts. In the summer months the weather is much more settled and can reach daytime temperatures in the high 30s or low 40s, although the mountains ensure that the night-time temperatures are cool enough to sleep comfortably! The snow is usually all but melted by mid-may and cyclists are able to cycle over the many Cols during May to October.

 
Bagnères-de-Bigorre benefits from lower housing prices and cheaper living costs than many other towns in the south of France. It is cheaper to buy property there than on the Atlantic or Mediterranean coasts, and also property there is considerably better value for money than on the other side of the border in northern Spain. Property is, however, increasing in value in this area, so don't wait too long before making a decision to buy here. It is still possible to pick up the odd bargain stone-built rural house or barn to renovate.