Here, you don’t have to choose between nature and culture. So between two great inspirations in the middle of nature, take a breath of the cultural heritage of the Hautes-Pyrénées! You are spoiled for choice …
Somewhat of an artist?
Not to be missed: magnificent pieces of Baroque artwork and collections of iconic paintings from the first half of the 19th century.
A hotspot for Pyrenees Baroque art
Did you know that the Haute-Bigorre region played a part in the resurgence of religious art in the 17th and 18th centuries ? And would you believe that the small village of Asté was a thriving artistic centre for 150 years, that had an influence throughout the western and central Pyrenees ?
It was in Asté that the talented “dynasty” of Ferrère sculptors had their workshop. Now, you will find an exhibition centre there and an excellent introduction to Pyrenees Baroque art. If you aren’t afraid of gilding and if you’re friends with angels, head into the churches, you will be surprised by their incredibly beautiful religious furniture – including altarpieces, tabernacles and baptism fonts.
Brief history of landscape painting in the West, through the collections of the Salies museum
Dive into the art movements of the first half of the 19th century with a visit to the Musée Salies in Bagnères.
Established in 1852 by MP Achille Jubinal, it displays part of his collection and a whole host of canvases from the leading Parisian salons of the era.
Come and discover, through this collection, the evolution of landscape painting.
Science buff ?
Budding scientists also have plenty to do ! Follow in the footsteps of Dominique Larrey, a pioneer in emergency medicine, and go on an unforgettable journey: underground in the chambers of the Grottes de Médous, or else into the sky, just short of the stars, at the Pic du Midi.
Curious about history ?
Treat yourself to a journey through time at the Abbaye de l’Escaladieu and the medieval Mauvezin Castle , or in the streets of the town of Bagnères-de-Bigorre, which has been inhabited since Antiquity. These sites bear witness to the rich cultural heritage of the Hautes-Pyrénées.
On the trail of knights and monks
Put on your best knight or princess outfit for a journey to the Middle Ages : the Château de Mauvezin, built by Gaston Fébus on an original wooden château, is extremely well preserved. Don’t linger in the keep for too long; you never know what might happen !
Nearby, the Abbaye Cistercienne de l’Escaladieu
Founded circa 1140, boasts clean lines and architectural simplicity. Add to this the incredibly beautiful hundred-year-old trees, and you have an invitation to enjoy some peace and quiet. Quality art or themed exhibitions are hosted there all year round.
Historic trails in Bagnères
Are you someone who wants to understand the place they are in ? If you want to understand a town, then nothing beats knowing its history. Explore the old town of Bagnères-de-Bigorre by following the “découverte patrimoniale” (heritage discovery) trail to soak in the atmosphere of this atypical spa resort established by the Romans – you’ll know the town inside and out !
Discovery of marble and its quarries
You can learn everything there is to know about marble, from the quarry right to the finished piece. Discover an incredible collection of Pyrenees and European marbles.
You won’t remain stony-faced in Bagnères-de-Bigorre… Because here, marble is omnipresent, in the former quarries around the town, as well as in the architecture of the buildings. Visit the Espiadet marble quarry in Payolle. Pride of the cultural heritage of the Hautes-Pyrénées.
It was his marble that was used for to build Versailles, the Louvre, and the Opéra in Paris. And discover the only collection in France of over 400 different marbles exhibited in the former thermal baths of Salut, a genuine palace of marble.
Interested in how people used to live in the olden days ?
Are you wondering how people could live here without electricity before the Industrial Revolution ? You will find practical answers to all your questions and discover everyday objects and the craftsmanship that went with them, like the know-how needed to make the Mounaques de Campan dolls.
The Carrefour des Patrimoines in Campan aims to share the local mountain knowledge, by exhibiting a whole host of old photographs and providing guided tours of their exhibition. More than enough to help you visualise the life of the valley’s inhabitants at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century!
Pop over to the Moulin de Mendagne, which, in 2006, resumed its ancestral work of milling cereals using only the force of the water, in an unspoilt natural environment. To experience the traditional craftsmanship of these mountains first-hand, visit the Musée de la Vie Quotidienne des Pyrénées where a stunning and comprehensive collection of folk art objects is on display. You can see that in this traditional agropastoral society, the mountain community had all the know-how needed to be self-sufficient.
The hard work was interspersed with games, songs and festivals. And alongside them, highly localised traditions, like the Mounaques de Campan, dolls mocking newlyweds that accompanied the serenades… and which still brighten up the village of Campan. Keep an eye out for them; they are everywhere!
3 allée Tournefort 65200
05 62 95 50 71