Aure and Louron valleys, a cyclists' paradise
Portet, Peyresourde, Azet... cycling and Tour de France enthusiasts know these passes by heart and climb them with passion every summer. These mythical slopes are also an exceptional natural environment for walks and hikes in the Pyrenees.
The Aspin Pass, as beautiful as it is demanding
Aspin is 12km of pure happiness at an average of 6.5%. This climb is a must for the Tour de France, with more than 50 climbs in 72 years! The ascent by Arreau is the most difficult with passages approaching 10%. On the rest of the course, the percentages are quite regular (between 6 and 8%). At the top: a magnificent view of the medieval village of Arreau and the peaks of the Aure Valley. In summer, the many cyclists and hikers who come to challenge these steep slopes mingle with cattle and sheep grazing at high altitudes. If you are cycling, why not continue to Le Tourmalet? The summit of this mythical pass of the Pyrenees is only 17km away (but with 800m of positive altitude difference!). Leaving from the west side, you will see the charming Payolle plateau and in the distance the majestic Pic du Midi de Bigorre (image).
Live the pastoral tradition at the Hourquette d'Ancizan
Less well known than the Aspin Pass but just as impressive, the Hourquette d'Ancizan invites you to enjoy exceptional mountain landscapes. Only 10km of climb between the trees from Guchen and you are there. At the top at 1564m, breathe, enjoy the pure mountain air. In front of you, a magnificent panorama on the peaks of Pyrénées2vallées and the Aure valley. The region is certified as an International Dark Sky Reserve (IDSR): the place is ideal for observing the stars without any light pollution. You are here in the middle of pastoral territory, where you can freely approach donkeys, cows and horses. La Hourquette d'Ancizan is a family walk in itself, but it is also the starting point for other hikes at altitude: towards the Col d'Aspin, Lake Arou,... Ideal for a sporting weekend in the mountains!
In the footsteps of the cycling champions at the Col de Portet
Nicknamed the "Tourmalet-bis" by the Tour de France director himself, the Col de Portet (6km at 8.7% average) is a hell of a place challenge for cyclists... but a real treat for hikers. The Col de Portet is very demanding and now the highest pass in the Pyrenees crossed by the climbers of the Tour de France. Part of the road to the summit was paved for the Tour in 2018. A breathtaking view of the Pyrenees National Park is available to you at 2215m: the Néouvielle national nature reserve and its sublime mountain lakes to the west, the stone villages of the Aure Valley to the east: Saint-Lary-Soulan, Tramezaïgues, Vignec, Sailhan... Surely the highlight of your stay in the Pyrenees!
Discover the Louron valley with the Col de Peyresourde
On the border with the Haute-Garonne, between the Louron valley and the summits of the Luchonnais, the Col de Peyresourde awaits you for a 6km ascent from Loudenvielle to its summit at 1569m. When you reach the summit, fill up on energy at the creperie! If you wish to extend your hike by bike or on foot, head for the resort of Peyragudes with the Louron valley as the setting. When you return to the valley, rest from all these efforts in one of the Pyrénées2vallées thermal leisure centres. Spa, hammam, sauna, your desire for relaxation has no limit!
The Col d'Azet, the union of the 2 valleys
With its route from Saint-Lary-Soulan to Genos, the Col d'Azet links the Aure Valley in the west and the Louron Valley in the east. Skiers enjoy its peak at 1580m in winter in the Val Louron resort, while cyclists try their hand at cycling in the high mountains during the summer season. At the top, make a stop at the Pyrenean House of Pastoralism. The shepherds will tell you the story of this thousand-year-old tradition, a pillar of human activity in the 2 valleys. A visit not to be missed! Whether you climb the Col d'Azet via the Aure side from Bourisp or via the Louron side from Génos, you cross the Lake Road, synonymous with a superb view over the valley, its sparkling hills and charming villages. Don't forget to look at the road!
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