ECO WALKS LUZ ST SAUVEUR
Iconic sites and hidden gems in the French Pyrenees
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An excellent no car walking holiday! This is our aim. Using Hotel Les Templiers in Luz St Sauveur as your base our walks are designed to take full advantage of the network of walking paths leaving directly from Luz along with the public bus network up and down the valley. Six day walks take you into the mountains around Luz, up to Gavarnie, along the GR10, to churches and hermitages, castles and along little used paths. No driving required! The routes take you from one place to another with no requirement to turn back on yourself or complete a loop to return to your car. If for any reason you miss the bus or the bus misses you we will come to collect you!
If you’d like a day (or two or three) of sight-seeing rather than walking there is plenty to see and do both around Luz and in places accessible via the bus network. Visit Gavarnie and just stroll around. Catch the bus to the Argeles market which has been held every Tuesday morning since the 14th century (or so they say). Visit Gedre and the Millaris museum (geology + local history + Mont Perdu World Heritage area information) and beautiful old mills. Hire bikes and cycle along the old railway line between Pierrefitte and Lourdes (and even up to Cauterets). Visit Lourdes, the Pic du Jer funicular, the medieval castle which holds the Pyrenean museum and ‘la grotte’. We are on hand to ensure your car free holiday is a successful one.
Ascent is 300-700m each day, and more challenging itineraries are possible if desired. The standard walk suggestions are :
Tour of the Luz Valley to get your bearings. Head up to the castle, along old paths to the tiny village of Vizos, then down through Saligos and home via the Sere and Esqueize churches. An introduction to the pastoral and historical aspects of the area.
Catch the bus to Pierrefitte and then climb steeply from there to the historic Poueyaspé Chapel, marking the point of St Savin’s hermitage. Descend via the village of St Savin, named after the saint himself, and a crucial meeting point on the Way of St James. A more gentle option is possible by catching the bus to St Savin and starting from there.
Walk from Luz to Barèges (or the reverse) on the GR10 (the long distance footpath running across the French Pyrenees from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean) via the historic villages bordering the Bastan River. The view from St Justin’s cross is wonderful, all the way up to Col du Tourmalet and down to Luz, as are the crepes at the crêperie. Each village has a restaurant or café so there are plenty of options for pauses along the way. For the energetic there is an extra loop via the Montagne Fleuri.
The Gavarnie Cirque and its balcony paths are difficult to beat. This is a classic and wonderful walk showing you one of the most famous sites in the Pyrenees. Part of both the Pyrenees National Park and the Mont Perdu World Heritage area this is a Midi-Pyrenees Grand Site, and you will quickly see why.
The Barrada Valley heads up behind the largest hydro power station in the Pyrenees. The valley head is the lovely secluded Cirque de Lys, a hidden gem off the beaten track. The Croix de Sia is an excellent alternative to this walk if you are outside the Gavarnie bus season.
The Bergons summit offers fabulous views from the top up and down the valley (see main photo). You may want choose to take a taxi at the start to gain some height. A slightly less challenging alternative to this walk is the path from Soulom to Luz via Viscos and Sazos, which is part of the Way of St James through the valley.
More challenging possibilities are on offer – just ask when you arrive. Easier options are also possible.
Each day you head out with a map and our notes to explore high pastures, wildflowers, old forests and wildlife, and to enjoy the dramatic views offered by the Pyrenees. We have a large number of walks available, and based on your experience of the first day we can suggest appropriate walks for subsequent days. If you’d like a day off then you can explore one of the local markets, visit Lourdes castle and the Pyrenean Museaum or the museum and old mills in Gèdre.