Great sites Occitanie south of France
Grands Sites Occitanie are special sites that have been listed for their outstanding landscape, cultural heritage or history. In a nutshell, they are a must on your itinerary!
The Pic du Midi is obviously one, but there are 3 other such landmarks in the Hautes-Pyrénées too:
Lourdes, Cauterets-Pont d’Espagne, Gavarnie Cirque and Aure and Louron Valley.
And the good news is that, by coming to Tourmalet-Pic du Midi, you couldn’t be better placed for setting off in discovery of these Grands Sites. It’s the ideal base camp !
Pic du Midi de Bigorre, majestic and instructive !
Sweeping terraces at nearly 2900 metres above sea level, with a stunning panoramic view not just over the Pyrenees but also a good stretch of the South-West – right the way over to the foothills of the Massif Central ! A “canopy of stars” and a longstanding research site for astronomers which welcomes the general public to Europe’s highest planetarium and museum.
Lourdes, the world’s spiritual capital
This quaint mountain town – the most popular destination in France after Paris – is steeped in an altogether unique air. Millions of visitors flock here from all over the world to meditate and share their hopes. The fortified castle around which this charming mountain town has been built houses a fascinating museum showcasing the traditional arts. At the Pic du Jer, which is truly like a window opening out over the Pyrenees, there is an ideal walking trail for all those who have come to Lourdes to re-energise and recharge their batteries. This welcoming and cosmopolitan town will delight you in more ways than one.
Gavarnie-Cauterets — Pont d’Espagne
Gavarnie and the great corries
Geology forges wonders… for proof, you need look no further than the Gavarnie Cirque! Shaped by fluvial and glacial erosion fifty million years ago, the series of natural corries that formed in the Pyrenees is truly breathtaking. Gavarnie is the best known and the most spectacular – indeed, this vast arena, surrounded by sixteen summits more than 3000 metres high, where Europe’s highest waterfall descends, is quite simply a wonder to behold ! Gavarnie is part of the “Pyrenees Mont-Perdu, land of cirques and canyons” site, which straddles the border between France and Spain and has been inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List as a natural and cultural landscape.
Cauterets — Pont d’Espagne
The beauty in its purest state
Bountiful nature, mountain springs hurtling down the slope and breaking the silence, a magnificent mountain lake with calmer waters… You can only be at the heart of Pyrenees National Park, on an old mule track which, long before roads were built and tunnels hollowed out, once connected France and Spain. The Pont d’Espagne can be reached on foot or by cable car or chairlift. Will you choose to venture out along a hiking trail in search of dazzling landscapes, or put your feet up with a glass in hand and look on as the sky and lake change colour? This is beauty in its purest state !
A region of art and history boasting natural wealth, outstanding heritage and age-old know-how. Néouvielle Nature Reserve is sure to captivate mountain lovers with its myriad lakes, each more beautiful than the last. Jézeau’s wall paintings, which date back to the 16th century, and Aragnouet’s Chapel of the Templars, listed by UNESCO, will amaze art and historical architecture enthusiasts. And a visit to the museums in Arixo and Aure Valley, the centre for Pyrenean Pastoralism and Saoussas Mill will give you a complete insight into the world of silvopasture!
Find these magical places captured on video
Discover the Grands Sites Occitanie
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