Gavarnie, Pic du Midi de Bigorre, Lourdes: 3 sites to discover
Beyond Pyrénées2vallées, the Hautes-Pyrénées department has many natural and cultural wonders to offer you. Enjoy a magical family hike to the Gavarnie circus and its large waterfall, admire an incredible panoramic view of the entire Pyrenean mountain range at the top of the Pic de Midi de Bigorre and make a pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of Lourdes and its internationally renowned cave. Let's discover together these 3 exceptional sites labelled "Occitania Grand Sites".
Le Cirque de Gavarnie, natural Coliseum
It is a mountain and a wall at the same time; it is the most mysterious building of the most mysterious of architects; it is the colosseum of nature; it is Gavarnie." This is how the famous writer Victor Hugo talks about Gavarnie. Located in the Pyrenees National Park on the border between Spain and France, this sublime natural circus has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997, just like Monte Perdido. Come and admire this natural wonder by parking in the village of Gavarnie, "cradle of Pyreneism". Let's go for 2 hours of very easy hiking to the circus. Leave GPS, maps and compasses in the car, here you can see the destination just by looking up. Although the village of Gavarnie is 4km from the circus, in the distance you can see the majestic waterfall and its 422 metres high, 100 metres higher than the Eiffel Tower! Shortly before arrival, you will see the Hotel du Cirque on your left. Ideal for a well-deserved break before or after approaching the waterfall. Gavarnie is also a first choice winter destination. Enjoy downhill, snowboard and cross-country skiing with your family in the resort of Gavarnie-Gèdre, only 10 minutes by car from the village.
Touch the stars at the Pic du Midi de Bigorre
You have probably admired it from the Aspin pass or hiking in Néouvielle, the Pic du Midi de Bigorre is a lighthouse that illuminates the entire Pyrenean range. To reach its astronomical observatory at the top, take the cable car from La Mongie. It takes only 15 minutes to reach an altitude of 2880m. You discover an almost unreal setting, between science, nature and dreams. In front of you, a 360° view of all the Hautes-Pyrénées and far beyond. Without getting too wet, we can say that it is the most beautiful panorama of the Pyrenees chain. Discover the feeling of walking in the void with the "pontoon in the sky", a 12-metre long walkway that ends with a glass floor. The Pic du Midi de Bigorre also houses a museum dedicated to astronomical studies, which is still active today. Thanks to the Histopad, go back in time to discover the summit of the Pic du Midi as it existed 70 years ago! If you want to admire the stars and the Milky Way, spend a magical night at the top. You are here at the perfect place, in an International Dark Sky Reserve (IDSR).
Be careful, come with warm clothes, sunglasses maximum protection and sun cream.
Sanctuary of Lourdes, a high place of Catholic pilgrimage
The largest pilgrimage site in France and known throughout the world, the Sanctuary of Lourdes invites all believers to live their faith on the banks of the river Pau. This site became famous in the second half of the 19th century when in 1858, the young Bernadette Soubirous claimed to have seen a total of 18 apparitions of the Immaculate Conception in the Massabielle cave. This cave can still be visited today, where Catholics come to pray silently by touching the wall. Then visit the other wonders of the Sanctuary: the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception of 1871 and its superb stained glass windows, the large mosaic complex of the Basilica Notre-Dame-de-Rosaire located at the esplanade and the underground basilica of Saint Pius X. Inaugurated in 1958 for the centenary of the apparitions, this unique place, 200 metres long and 80 metres wide, can accommodate up to 25,000 people. A great moment of culture and history awaits you in Lourdes, a must see!
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Let yourself be tempted by the suggestions of Pyrénées2vallées and enjoy a life-size experience in our destination.