The Hautes-Pyrénées Department has 4 EXCEPTIONAL IMPORTANT NATURAL SITES, acknowledged as Grands Sites Occitanie (Great Sites of Occitania). On any such initial journey you have to pass them, one after the other, to reconstruct the treasure of our Haut-Pyrénéen region. The order does not matter. The most important thing is to discover them all to see what the Hautes Pyrénées have to offer.
Discover the Important Natural Sites
The Pic du Midi de Bigorre
Renowned for the beauty of its countryside and its astronomical observatory, it is one of the most majestic summits in the Hautes-Pyrénées.
The Pic du Midi cable car welcomes its passengers for a spectacular voyage up to summit at 2,877 metres in height, where the 600 m² of landscaped terraces offer them a 360° view across the range of the Pyrenees, the vast plains of the South West, and the buttresses of the Massif Central.
The view is unique, the panorama is exceptional.
But the Pic du Midi also boasts an observatory that is of great importance to scientists, and the highest museographical space in Europe, which retraces, with passion, the human story of the site’s exceptional site.
Information : www.picdumidi.com
Gavarnie and the great glacial cirques
Around fifty million years ago, river and glacial erosion has dug a range of natural cirques of a rare perfection into the Pyrenees.
Gavarnie is the most famous, and also the most spectacular.
This natural colossus, surrounded by sixteen summits of over 3,000 metres and home to the highest cascade in Europe, is of dazzling beauty. The view is entrancing, and emotion guaranteed.
These vast arenas leaning into the Spanish canyons of Anisclo and Pineta, and over the mythical Ordesa, are part of the “Pyrénées Mont-Perdu, country of cirques and canyons” region, named a UNESCO world heritage site and also known as a landscape of natural and cultural importance.
Information : www.gavarnie.com
The Pont d’Espagne (Bridge of Spain), Cauterets
At the heart of the National Park of the Pyrenees, the Bridge of Spain is located in an exceptional natural setting and allows access to the Cayan Plateau and the Marcadau Valley. Accessible on foot, by cable car, and chairlift. Numerous paths allow visitors the chance to escape to magnificent landscapes, where green and dense forests compete with bubbling torrents, waterfalls, lakes, and mountainside prairies covered in wild flowers.
Far from the Spanish border, the bridge owes its name to the fact that, several centuries ago, it was part of a mule driver route to Spain.
Prestigious site of great natural beauty, it is one of the most visited locations in the Pyrenees.
Information : www.cauterets.com
Lourdes, cosmopolitan and spiritual
Cosmopolitan, magical, mythical… Lourdes is one of those locations detached from daily life and of a timeless beauty.
Every year almost 6 million visitors from over 140 countries come to share stories and hopes in this small mountain town where, in 1858, a young woman called Bernadette say the Virgin Mary appear eighteen times in a grotto near to the river.
The most visited French town after Paris, Lourdes has nevertheless been able to preserve a certain tranquillity and a sacred, welcoming character to offer a site of reverence, charm, and legend by which no person can fail to be moved.
Click for more information : Lourdes.
Other Important Natural Sites
The Department has 4 important sites of the Midi Pyrénées but also numerous other sites known for their unique panoramas and for their exceptional flora and fauna. They also deserve a visit!
- The PYRENEES NATIONAL PARK
This is the special home to the Pyrenean chamois, the woodchuck, the desman, the vulture, a universe of majestic landscapes, and botany like that you will only have encountered in books. It is an exceptional place of natural history without barriers or enclosures, where a walk in full freedom will do you good.
- The NEOUVIELLE NATURE RESERVE
The Néouvielle Nature Reserve invites you to travel through lake country! Exceptional vegetation, incomparable views across the mountains and granite ridges, and a well-preserved biodiversity…
Access by car via the Aure Valley and the Orédon site, and on foot via the Aygues-Cluses Valley (Grand Tourmalet – Barèges side).
Information : Parc House in Saint-Lary : +33(0)184.108.40.206.91 / Tourist Office of Piau-Engaly : +33(0)220.127.116.11.69