This summer you can experience an even bigger range of outdoor activities in South Western France. The Hautes-Pyrénées is in the Midi-Pyrénées region of south western France. The southern border is mountainous and adjoins Spain, whereas the northern part is flat and has miles of fields and rolling countryside.
Find out why the entire area is a favourite destination for hikers and mountain enthusiasts.
Experience the Dark Skies of the Pic du Midi or a Mountain Refuge
No visit to the Hautes-Pyrenees is complete without a visit to the Pic du Midi – the 1st International Dark Sky Reserve in Western Europe (RICE) at 2877m. Experience the dark sky this summer at one of their many astronomical events involving observation and gastronomy throughout the summer months.
- At Hautacam, a new observation point has been installed : an ancient dome of 4.5 m in diameter
- Refuge Oulettes de Gaube in Cauterets, holds dark sky observation evenings
- Refuge du Clot above Cauterets- free observation with a 253m Newton telescope.
- Refuge Espuguettes, Gavarnie offers night observations with a park ranger measuring the quality of the sky.
- NEW refuge in the Néouvielle Reserve, ‘Orédon’, overlooking the lake and accessible by car in summer
- Aulon, a model village of RICE, with less than 400 people, it has reduced its street lighting from March to August with an 85% reduction in light output and 35% in energy savings.
New Orienteering Routes and Bird of Prey Trail For The Family In St Lary
New for Summer 15, St Lary launches fun orienteering trails on which to find riddles and tags to plot your way through the mountains. These trails vary in difficulty and cater for all ages and abilities. Discover the heritage of the valley and more. Maps and road maps are available at the Tourist Office.
The Bird of Prey Trail to Col du Soulor is an exceptional place of observation with more than 60,000 birds of prey spotted over the summer months. View the most emblematic Pyrenean raptors, the bearded, griffon vulture, the Egyptian vulture, golden eagles and more.
New Segway at Hautacam
Hautacam Leisure Park now offers Segway biking as well as mountain luge, mountain scooters and mountain boards. Segway is a bike with two fat wheels, a standing platform and handlebars which you just push to move the Segway forward. Travel up to 9 km per hour over Hautacam mountain terrain. Also available are fat bikes, e bikes or you can stick to a road bike for the traditional Hautacam time trial route used during the Tour du France*.
Beach in the City of Lourdes
Lourdes, the 2nd most visited city in France, and famous for its pilgrims, launches a new city beach this summer. At Lac du Lourdes, a floating pool will offer swimming (supervised by lifeguards), a huge sand-box for children to play in, plus a whole range of fun activities: pedalos, kayaks, stand-up paddle-boards, three mountain bike trails (green, red and black), 18 hole golf course, fishing and walking – an easy 6km trail circles the lake. Free access – open daily July & August 11am-7pm.
Yoga News- Abeilles® of Bees
Catherine Ballot Flurin, a pioneer of organic beekeeping, for over 40 years in the French Pyrenees, near Cauterets, has over 1.6 million bees –she has invented bee yoga.
Simply sit with your hands smeared in honey, let yourself go while the bees forage for nectar.
Listen, learn and focus on your breathing, feeling the vibrations of bees – a form of mediation. This unique relaxation is open to everyone, adults and children.
Take Part In A Hike or Ultra-Trail
The Grand Raid des Pyrénées takes place in the Hautes-Pyrenees from 20-23 August 2015. 2800 runners from 22 countries take part – from 80km race to the Ultra 160km race which covers the maximum 10,000 m of elevation gain including 10 mountain passes and the 2877m Pic du Midi.
Less hardcore, the Patou Trail in St Lary from June 26-28 2015 offers hiking/trail running courses for all levels: The 18km Trail Mouscades, the Vertical KM at dusk, the Sky team or Marathon Race solo or relay 45 km and new for 2015 a 10km route and for children, the ‘P’ tit Patou.
*On your Bike!
Choose from Peyresourde, Aspin, Tourmalet, Soulor, Ausbique – a total of 14 climbs/mountain passes used by the Tour de France ; a unique playground that attracts cyclists from around the world. The Tour de France 2015 spends four days in the Pyrenees this summer :
- Monday 13 July Pau rest day
- Tuesday 14 July- Tarbes / La Pierre-Saint-Martin – 167 km
- Wednesday 15 July – Pau / Cauterets – Vallée de Saint-Savin – 188 km
- Thursday 16 July – Lannemezan / Plateau de Beille – 195 km
Or try one of the timed ascent routes: at Tourmalet, Luz-Ardiden, Hautacam and Soulor and capture yourself at one of the photo points at the top of these Cols! There are also night riding events at Luz Ardiden and Hautacam.
New to the Pyrenees in Summer – Pyrenees Collection
Tour Operator, Pyrenees Collection, launches online this summer with packages to the Hautes-Pyrenees from as little as £108 per person including 7 nights accommodation and mid-week ferry tickets. Pyrenees Collection are able to book Pic du Midi visits on top of their selection of apartments and boutique hotels throughout the region including Cauterets, St Lary, Luz St Saveur, Lourdes, Grand Tourmalet and the Louron Valley .