Visit the 'Grand Sites' and the hidden gems
READY TO WALK ?
Discover the best of the Pyrenees in a flexible and relaxed manner. Walking (at your own pace), excursions to the market and villages, a day trip to Pic du Midi, great food and wonderful scenery. At the end of the week you will have visited three of the four Grand Sites of the Hautes-Pyrenees: Gavarnie, the Pont d’Espagne and the Pic du Midi. The fourth, Lourdes, can be visited either on your way in or out of the valley.
975€pp (twin share Hotel)
880€pp (2p self-catering)
650€pp (4p self-catering)
This price includes :
• 4 days walking
(< 3p = 2 days guided & 2 days independent)
(> 3p = 4 days guided walking)
• Accompanied day excursion to Pic du Midi
• Day excursion to Argeles market + historic village walk
• All self catering apartments include provision of linen & cleaning at the end of the week
• Transport for guided walks & excursions
Arrive in Luz St Sauveur and settle into Hotel Les Templiers or your self catering accommodation. Once you’ve settled in come and have a chat at reception about the weather conditions and your plan for the week.
The Gavarnie Cirque is the jewel in the crown of the Pyrenees, part of the Pyrenees National Park, the Mont Perdu World Heritage Area and a Midi-Pyrenees “Grand Site”. Walking into the cirque via the Espugettes Refuge and the spectacular balcony path, even in the height of summer, you’ll cross very few people. Those wanting a gentler walk begin at the church and walk along a valley path to the centre of the cirque. The Gavarnie waterfall has the highest vertical drop of any in Europe (426m) and the cirque offers some of the most spectacular views in the Pyrenees, whether it is multiple waterfalls and snow covered peaks in spring, or changing autumn colours in October. Independent if 2-3P.
Today you head high with a walk up into the Cirque de Troumouse, also part of the Mont Perdu World Heritage Area and the largest glacial cirque in the Pyrenees. Those wanting a full day walk start from Héas and walk up onto the central plateau, whereas those wanting a more relaxed walk can drive all the way to the top and walk around the plateau from there. With its 6000 year pastoral heritage, Troumouse showcases the capacity of ancient shepherding cultures to manage equitably common grazing resources. In all cases, the largest glacial cirque in the Pyrenees (14kms across) is an impressive site, one that will not leave you untouched. Guided.
In May/June and October a visit to the large and varied Argeles market is a wonderful way to spend the morning. Buy bits and pieces for a lunchtime picnic – dried sausage, cheese, organic bread, tomatoes and whatever else is on offer than looks appetising. Plenty of time to admire the local produce and the centre of town. Then head up to the viewpoint at the Pietat Chapel for a picnic before a short walk to the beautiful little village of St Savin for a coffee and to visit its church and admire the lovely houses and gardens. From July-Sept visit the Luz market in all its summer splendour, followed by a picnic on a hillside around town. An evening stroll around the historic buildings and sites of Luz completes the day. Independent if 2-3P.
The waterfalls of the Pont d’Espagne are spectacular. Depending on the group and the season you might stay low and walk up alongside them all, or start higher and head for the Lac de Gaube and the Refuge des Oulettes for a view onto the north face of the Vignemale, the highest mountain in the French Pyrenees (3298m), and the Oulettes de Gaube. A different landscape to that of Gavarnie and Troumouse – filled with pines and granite boulders and water. Wonderful scenery all around and your second “Grand Site”. Finish the day with a stroll around the pretty town of Cauterets, buy some wonderful organic honey and the cosmetics made with it, and perhaps even spend an hour or two in the thermal baths there. Highly recommended… Guided.
A day trip to the Pic du Midi observatory at 2877m for big views over the mountains and your third “Grand Site”. To get there we drive over the ‘Col du Tourmalet‘ of Tour de France fame, and either walk from here for the sunrise walk in October, or we ride the impressive cable car to the top for panoramic views and a visit to the observatory itself. We visit the neighbouring Campan Valley and return to Luz via a scenic foothill drive. Guided unless you have your own transport.
The last walk day is flexible. If independent you may choose a walk straight out the door of the hotel from Luz to Barèges on the GR10, or choose one of the many other walks around the valley. If guided you will be offered suggestions and the group can decide: perhaps the Bergons summit, the wilder and less-known Bernatoire valley or a walk towards a lake for a swim. It could also be an afternoon walk up to the Plateau de Lumière and then on to dinner at the Auberge du Lienz with a torchlight descent after dinner.
Leave Luz on the SNCF bus and visit Lourdes independently (your fourth Grand Site) before you head onwards.
Weather conditions, snow conditions early in the season and group members can influence itinerary choices and we will assess these each day when choosing your walk.
(2_3P) For two or three people this week will have two guided day walks, two independent walks, you visit the market and villages independently and are accompanied for the excursion to Pic du Midi.
(4P+): For four or more people all four walks are guided and the excursion to the market and visit of the villages is also accompanied.
Wellbeing Package at the Luzéa thermal baths for total relaxation and to ease away any walking aches and pains.
Only in October: Option to walk up and view the sunrise from the Pic du Midi de Bigorre. In October sunrise is relatively late (~7am) and the Pic du Midi is the perfect place to view it from. We leave from Hotel Les Templiers at 4:15am, arrive at Col du Tourmalet before 5am and are up the top of Pic du Midi around 7am to see the sunrise. Walk back down for breakfast on the Col du Tourmalet and watch the valley wake up.