Fill your lungs with clean fresh mountain air and breathe in the fragrance of pine forest. Dive into icy lake water or ease down into a warm thermal bath. Look up to the stars, out across the valleys or down into the depths of the earth. Work up a hearty appetite or savour a chilled glass of crisp white wine. Enjoy the sound of cool jazz on a warm summer evening, the rush of white water into the valley or just enjoy the silence.
The Pyrénées at a Glance
It’s packed full of clean air, warm sun, spectacular scenery and delicious food. What more could you ask for?
This mountainous region, famed for its excellent ski runs, transforms into lush green countryside in the spring and summer. The warm sunny days are ideal for enjoying a range of outdoor activities from country strolls to mountain biking and white water rafting. There are plenty of pretty villages to visit with ancient churches, shops and markets and cafes and restaurants. The Atlantic coast and seaside resorts of Biarritz, Labenne, Messanges and Biscarrosse are a few hours’ drive away, or you can head inland to the Luz St Sauveur gateway to the Pyrénées National Park.
This is Basque country with its own language, delicious cuisine and fascinating culture – look out for Basque strongman events and high speed games of pelota or grande chistera - and join in if you dare!
All that fresh air can work up quite an appetite, so get stuck into some hearty cuisine packed full of fresh locally- grown ingredients. The area is particularly renowned for its rich cassoulet, pâtés, confits of goose or duck, beef and Toulouse sausages.
You’ll come across ‘braserades’, portable charcoal barbecues, in many restaurants. They’ll be brought to your table along with strips of raw meat for you to cook to your taste. There are also some good wines including the white Jurançon Sec, and the Irouléguy rose.
The Pyrénées has miles and miles of dramatic mountainsides, flower strewn valleys, mysterious underground caves and aromatic pine forests just waiting to be explored. So lace up your boots, get on your bike, your raft, your horse - or even your donkey - and get out there!
Dotted around valleys are tiny stone villages with cobbled streets and charming ski-resorts like Luz St Sauveur and Cauterets with thermal spas and lively restaurants and bars.
The amazing views and the observatory, which has one of France’s most powerful telescopes, are your reward for making it to the top of Pic Du Midi. (NB you can take the cable car if you don’t fancy climbing!)
Created by glaciers millions of years ago, this limestone gorge is a great place for those who seriously love the outdoors. Jump in the saddle, on your bike or into your hiking boots and explore the rocky crags, pine forest, mountain lakes and waterfalls.
Drawing pilgrims and tourists from all over the world, Lourdes offers a great deal to see and do but most people come because of the incredible atmosphere of the place – it’s bound to put a smile on your face and spring in your step.
This charming ski-resort is surrounded by snow-topped mountains with walking and cycling trails that take you through beautiful green valleys and tiny stone villages. Treat yourself to a soothing sauna at the thermal baths before hitting the town’s lively restaurants and bars.
Take the train deep into the interior of the mountain to discover these amazing five storey caves.