Towns and villages
On the plain, in the middle of the Baronnies or on the hills, the villages of the Tourmalet Pic du Midi have a crazy charm and treasures to offer…
Bagnères de Bigorre
A preserved tourist and thermal resort
The village of Campan is divided into three parts: Campan-Bourg, Sainte-Marie-de-Campan and La Séoube. These three parts are several kilometres away from each other, with 1,338 inhabitants split between them.
It is a pleasure to wander through Campan-Bourg, the village centre, starting at the stunning 16th-century covered market and continuing all the way to the church with its Renaissance gate, cloister and war memorial.
Many of the fountains, wash houses, half-timbered facades and enclosed courtyards with carriage doors date from the 16th and 17th centuries.
In summer, the Mounaques, dolls made of straw and rags, are brought out to line the road and greet the countless cyclists who come to tackle the region’s passes.
Campan and its valley, a region of culture, history and pastoralism, also provide visitors with the ideal place for walking and hiking. There are routes of varying difficulties that everyone can enjoy all year round.
Located between Ordizan and Montgaillard, on the banks of Canal de L’Alaric, Antist, a small village with a population of 171 along the L’Alaric canal.
The church, at the entrance to the village, is crowned with a rectangular steeple. Its Baroque-style tabernacle and altarpiece are outstanding and were sculpted by the Ferrère brothers.
If you take a walk in the Antist hills, which enjoy a lovely view from the top, you can reach the neighbouring village of Ordizan.
The village of Argelès-Bagnères stands on a small motte, surrounded by tree-covered hills, and enjoys an outstanding view of the Pic du Midi.
As an aside, the inhabitants of the village had to confirm the name of their village in the 2000s by referendum.
You can visit its Gothic church, the Eglise de l’Assomption.
Asté honours heritage related to water, as demonstrated by the large wash house, numerous fountains, washing places and channels.
No trip to Asté is complete without a visit to the Maison des Frères Ferrère et du Baroque Pyrénéen (a museum about Pyrenees Baroque art and the Ferrère Brothers, famous sculptors of many altarpieces), nor without taking a look at the Grottes de Médous caves, their magnificent concretions and underground river ! The unmissable walk to the Crastes fountain allows you to enjoy the famous healing properties of its water.
Asté is also known for the production of its famous “Carottes d’Asté” (Asté carrots) which owe their colour and taste to their terroir.
Boasting a population of 265,is located at an altitude of 700 m on a motte at the edge. The name of the village is thought to come from the patois word “Astugayos”, meaning fern.
More than rolling agricultural landscapes and stunning panoramic views of the Pyrenees mountain range, Astugue is the site of a former preventorium which is now a hospital, a little-known fact even in such a small village !
A modern and imposing building, the “Le Montaigu” hospital presides over the Astugue region, surrounded by ferns in a calming setting.
Located on a hillside in the Baronnies region, Banios is a dispersed settlement made up of ten or so hamlets and has a population of 51.
Surrounded by tree-covered hills, with a stunning view of the Pyrenees, the surroundings of Banios are ideal for farming. A range of organic farms have been set up there, and tourists and locals alike buy their produce, especially during the market on Saturday mornings in Bagnères.
The Eglise de la Nativité de la Sainte Vierge church is outstanding, as is the war memorial which pays tribute to World War II resistance fighters and Eugène Sarrat, the Mayor who was deported.
Beaudéan has all the characteristics of a “gateway” to the mountains, with typical housing and a listed church.
The village has preserved its traditional housing. The two-storey houses feature slate roofs and a gallery on the south facades.
The listed church preserves a wealth of Baroque furniture, including a gorgeous altarpiece by Marc Ferrère, a sculptor from the valley who worked at Versailles. The cone-shaped steeple is embellished with four small towers.
With its imposing stature, the Château des Seigneurs de Beaudéan dominates the village.
Beaudéan offers a lovely circular walk in the Vallon de Serris, where you may encounter the shepherds from the “Vie d’Estive”, a recreational and educational sheepfold. The village also has a fish farm, in a natural setting, where kids and grown-ups can learn about fishing for river trout.
Hydroelectric power is prominent in Beaudéan, and its power station is open and offers tours.
Boasting the “Maisons des lllustres” label for buildings. The Musée Larrey reminds us that Baron Dominique Larrey, Surgeon-in-Chief in Napoleon I’s Grande Armée, was born in the village!
The village of Bettes, in the Baronnies region, gets its name from the patois word “Bet-ha”, which means beautiful beech trees. The monks of the Abbaye de l’Escaladieu were the first to make use of these forests circa 1450.
In the heart of stunning green landscapes and boasting a panoramic view of the mountains, is on the route of the GR 78 hiking trail (Chemin du Piémont Pyrénéen) which leads many pilgrims to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. You can visit the Eglise St Pierre de Bettes church.
The streams that run through Bettes serve as boundaries with the neighbouring villages (Uzer and Castillon).
The long village of Cieutat (population: 590), which stretches across the hill between Bagnères-de-Bigorre and Tournay, takes its name from the word “Civitas”, Latin for City.
On the Chemin de l’Abbaye de l’Escaladieu, dating from the end of the 12th century, the Chapelle de Roumé is the oldest chapel on the Way of Saint James, and the only one that remains of all those that used to line this route in the region.
Because of its location, it boasts a unique panoramic view of the Pyrenees mountain range and the Baronnies region !
The village of Gerde (population: 1,165) is the homeland of Philadelphe de Gerde, a famous poet.
The richness of its community life and its focus on environmental and heritage protection make the village a place where both life and the walks are good.
The church has an altarpiece sculpted by the Ferrère brothers.
Gerde boasts a large playground for kids and lovely walks, by going up through the forest you can reach the Col des Palomières which is popular in autumn with wood pigeon hunters, as its name indicates (palombe means wood pigeon in French).
It provides a spectacular view, and, as a reward for their efforts, walkers can enjoy the traditional garbure soup at Chez Loulou at the Auberge des Taillats – Loulou is a historical figure in the region.
The village of Hauban gets its name from “ets haubas”, which supposedly means “serfs”.
On a hill between Bagnères and Orignac, this village is a dispersed settlement featuring beautiful houses with slate roofs that are typical of the Bigorre region. Hauban’s special feature is that it does not have a traditional church in the centre, unlike all the neighbouring villages.
It is an agricultural area, and livestock farming is widespread throughout the village.
The village of Hiis due to the position on the plains and the hills that surround it, you can enjoy a view of all the mountains from its traditional farms, which are indicative of a past and present marked by livestock farming and agriculture.
Stop at the Neo-Classical church which features a steeple-wall that is typical of the Bigorre region. If you are a walker, take a stroll along the Adour to understand how the river changes from its source to here.
Hiis is the “border-village” between the Haute-Bigorre region and the rest of the world !
Perched at an altitude of 765 m, the village of Labassère and its imposing Neo-Gothic church are unmissable from Bagnères and its surroundings.
The slate covering the roofs of the Château de Pau, Amiens Cathedral and the city of Carcassonne came from Labassère, whose name in Occitan (abasse) means slate. This slate industry made the village famous.
A ruined keep, the remains of a 12th-century château, still overlooks the old town of Labassère Débat.
The surroundings of the village are a paradise for walkers and cyclists seeking quiet and untamed paths.
Flax (“li” in patois) used to be grown here, hence the name of the village. It is an “espariqué” or dispersed settlement. Sheep and cattle farming is prevalent, and there are two mills.
With wild and unspoilt nature, rolling landscapes, forests and views of the mountains, Lies, a tiny village with a population of 67, is the ideal place for walking, hunting (very well-known for falconry hunting of wood pigeons in the Col du Bernadaous and Col des Tailhats) or gathering mushrooms and chestnuts.
The inhabitants used to be nicknamed “las castanhos”, which means the chestnuts.
In the centre of the Baronnies region, the village of Marsas can be reached from the Col des Palomières via a lovely winding road that snakes its way through woods of beech and sweet chestnut trees.
The classic church, traditional houses and farms on both sides of the small road that goes right down to the Moulin de l’Esqueda (the stream that emerges above neighbouring Banios and joins the Arros in Bourg-de-Bigorre) provide Marsas with the charm and serenity specific to Baronnies villages.
As a nod to the famous Palais des Sports in Paris, Marsas’ village hall is called “Lou Zénith”!
This little village (population: 249). It seems to regard the Pyrenees mountains and the Baronnies region in a reserved manner, with a sense of distance.
Mérilheu, located in a superb setting of chestnut tree forests, with farms typical of the Bigorre region and a 19th-century church, provides a unique view of the Pic du Midi.
Mixed farming of cereals, livestock and vines can be found throughout the village, and, if they pay attention, walkers will be able to indulge in gathering mushrooms or chestnuts in the autumn.
A gateway to the Haute-Bigorre region, Montgaillard provides a breath-taking viewpoint of the mountain range and the Pic du Midi.
Dating from the middle of the 18th century, the Eglise St Hilaire church stands atop a small hill called the “château”,
A stone’s throw from Bagnères and equidistant from Lourdes and Tarbes, the village still runs on farming. After taking a stroll along the Adour, enjoying natural thrills on the “barefoot trail” you can explore the Biscuiterie Védère (where biscuit are made and sold in a railway setting, tastings are also held here). The hiking trails around the ponds of the Cap de la Serre and the wash houses, and a visit to the Eglise St Hilaire church round off the village of Montgaillard’s offering. You can’t talk about the village without mentioning the “Truca Taoules” contemporary music festival. It is popular in the region and beyond, has been livening up the village for over twenty years, and takes place on the last weekend in August!
The name Neuilh comes from the patois word “nu” meaning “bow”.
This mountain village with a population of 99, was home to rural craftsmen, weavers and clog makers during the 18th century.
Its beautiful view of the surrounding area, untamed and diverse setting, small 19th-century church and location on a lovely little-used tourist road, mean that those who make a detour via Neuilh on their way from Bagnères to the city of Marian devotion, Lourdes, will be enchanted by the quiet and the unspoilt nature of this village.
Ordizan (population: 532) is a village on the piedmont with the Adour, the Canal de l’Alaric and the Ruisseau de l’Arrêt-Darré running through it. The village owes its name to the presence, in olden times, of workshops specialising in producing ourdis, a mix of thread, linen and tow, used by the weavers in Bagnères-de-Bigorre since the 15th century.
You can discover the Pyrenees mountain range as well as the Vallée de l’Adour all the way to Tarbes by taking a walk in the hills. You can also take a water-themed walk, an element found everywhere in Ordizan, on the “Au gré de l’Adour” (Along the Adour) walk.
During the walk, you have the opportunity to stop at the corner of Rue de l’Alaric and Rue du Moulin to admire the old dovecote.
Far from the major tourist routes, the small village is worth the detour.
The Orignac church, designated as heritage, has a listed altarpiece and baldachin.This church, which has enjoyed its current form since the 14th century, a real gem of religious art, is an essential place to visit (contact the town hall).
A whole host of paths offer beautiful walks, and if you are lucky, you may see a Pyrenees orchid (Lady’s-slipper orchid) on the moor.
Throughout the year, concerts are held at the Eglise St Martin church showcasing traditional singing, opera, classical music and gospel.
You can also visit Sylvia Hansen and Alain Bagues’ sculpture workshop, located at 18 Cami de Mousturo. The village inn, boasting traditional menus, is an unmissable gourmet experience, so make sure to stop there.
What makes Pouzac unique is that it has two steeples, one on the church, outside the centre, and one on the school in the centre of the village.
Dating from 1300, the Eglise St Sernin (St Saturnin) church was destroyed in 1556 and rebuilt two years later in a Gothic style. You can admire its choir, tabernacle and altarpiece, the sculptures were made by Jean Férrère and Elie Courau, and the paintings are by Jean Catau, all artists from the valley.
In Pouzac, you can enjoy a communal garden in the middle of the village, work up a sweat on the fitness trail or hiking trails at the Camp de César, play golf at Bigorre golf course with a unique view of the Pyrenees throughout the course, or take a stroll down by the water between the Adour, Anou and Gailleste. The village is peppered with wash houses and fountains, supplying an abundance of fresh drinking water.
The Canal de l’Anou runs through this village at the foot of hills bordering the Adour. Trébons is known for its long-standing cultivation of a variety of onions with a sweet taste and an elongated bulb, the famous “oignon de Trébons”. It owes its characteristic flavour to the rich silt of the Vallée de l’Adour. The inhabitants were previously nicknamed the “cébassés”, onion cultivators or eaters.
Trébons is also home to the Chapelle de Notre Dame de la Hourcadère (hourque means fork, an intersection between 2 roads), which, built in 1693, houses the tomb of Maréchal de Ségur, who was none other than the great uncle of the famous author, the Comtesse de Ségur! A long epitaph is inscribed on a headstone made of local marble.
Trébons offers the quiet and beauty of the countryside a stone’s throw from the town and the mountain.
The Ruisseau du Luz flows through the village and Uzer offers a wide view of the mountains and the surrounding valleys. This linear village (“carrere grana” meaning main road) has, like neighbouring Bettes, the GR 78 hiking trail, called the Chemin du Piémont Pyrénéen, running through it. This long-distance hiking trail links the city of Carcassonne with St Jean Pied de Port on the Way of St. James.
Sheep and pig farming is common here, and there are a whole host of pastures and herds in the surrounding area. Due to its cultural activities, Uzer is a very dynamic village.
Uzer is a lovely place to stop on the Baronnies tourist road, the D26, which is little-used and unveils new treasures at every bend!
A small village on the Pyrenees piedmont, Hitte is perched on a hill, providing a stunning view of the Pyrenees mountain range. The village enjoys tranquillity, making it the ideal place for contemplation and relaxation.
Hitte offers a whole host of excursions on foot, by bike or mountain bike, and on horseback, thanks to the equestrian centre in neighbouring Orignac. Complete with an altarpiece and a painting by Lataste, the church is remarkable.
Here, the landscape heritage is preserved and shaped by responsible farming (livestock farming and dairy production). It is also a nesting site for birds, and so enjoys a wealth of birdlife including red kites, falcons, hen harriers and great spotted woodpeckers. Flora is respected here, and you can also try farm produce such as the yoghurts from the “Ferme du Tilleul”.
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