Pyrénées Cycl'n'Trip with activities - With a partner
- High Pyrenean passes
On the high passes route
Experience an extraordinary week cycling across the high Pyrenean passes: 5 days - 10 cyclist-only mountain passes - a 108 km climb.
Peyresourde, Aspin, Tourmalet, Aubisque and other passes you have yet to discover. A road trip by bike across passes and through valleys, admiring new landscapes every day.
A whole programme of activities and sites to explore, for added enjoyment.
From 500 € /person Based on 2 persons
- 6 nights in 2, 3 and 4 star hotels and B&B
- 5 half-day excursions across cyclist-only mountain passes
- Technical information on each pass is provided, as well as an itinerary road book
- A practical guide to local tourist activities is also provided
- 1 admission (2 hours) to spa centres of Hautes Pyrénées: Balnéa, Aquensis, Luzéa, and Jardin des Bains
- 1 Pic du Midi cable car trip
- 1 pass for Cauterets - Pont d’Espagne (access to Parking du Puntas and Lac de Gaube cable car and chairlift)
- 1 pass combining Château Fort de Lourdes and the Pic du Jer funicular railway
to book this holiday package or receive informations
- Some beautiful Pyrenean passes reserved for cyclists between 9 am and 12 noon
- Food provided at the top
- Technical information and maps provided
- A programme of activities
From 30 July to 3 August 2018, hot on the wheels of the Tour de France racers, cycle to your heart’s content on cyclist-only Pyrenean passes! Every day, from 9 am to midday, one, two or three mountain passes are closed to motorised vehicles. An extraordinary week to cycle as you like (no registration required and no official departure or stopwatch) with 10 mountain pass possibilities and a total climb of more than 100 km, free from motorised vehicles.
Although the road is reserved for cyclists and closed to vehicles, there are some exceptions (organisers, emergency teams, local inhabitants, etc.) in both directions, so please keep to the right-hand side of the road, be vigilant, control your speed and do not overestimate your strength or capacity.
At the bottom of the pass: welcome, information and encouragement!
At the top: food supplies, a souvenir and a stamped passport before the descent.
Day 0: Sunday 29th July
We meet at your hotel in the town centre of Arreau. We present the itinerary and distribute the documents.
Day 1: Monday 30th July
Peyresourde Altiport 007 - Val Louron Azet - Col du Portet
Today, 3 mountain passes are reserved exclusively for cyclists between 9 am and 12 noon: Col de Peyresourde (1569 m) Col de Val Louron-Azet (1580 m) and Col du Portet (2215 m), which is the finish line for a stage of the 2018 Tour de France. There is also an excellent opportunity for cyclists wishing to attempt the climb to the altiport at Peyragudes, which was the finish line of one of the Tour de France stages in 2017.
You can attempt the whole route or just a part of it.
The afternoon is devoted to relaxation in the warm, health-giving spring waters of Balnéa, the spa centre with indoor and outdoor lagoons, a hammam and sauna and massage jets... Nestling on the lake edge, it offers panoramic view of the peaks that line the valley.
Or you can explore the National Nature Reserve of Néouvielle. You’ll set off on an easy trek to discover this pristine natural site, a peaceful wilderness that will enchant you with its 70 lakes and centuries-old mountain pine forests.
You’ll spend the night at a 4 star hotel in Saint Lary.
Day 2: Tuesday 31st July
Today, a spectacular panorama awaits you on your climb to the Col d’Aspin (1489 m). From 9 am to midday, the road is closed to vehicles. As you cross over to the valley of Grand Tourmalet, the Pic du Midi takes its place in the landscape. You will take pleasure in facing this giant as you pedal.
In the afternoon, off you go on a breathtaking journey!
You’ll take the cable car to the summit of Pic du Midi at an elevation of more than 2800 m. From the terrace at the top, there are incredible views over the entire Pyrenean mountain range! Don’t miss a walk on the pontoon in the sky for a thrilling sensation!
At the end of the day, you can relax at the Aquensis Thermal Spa. Baths and lagoons bubble under a cathedral-like timber structure adjoining an exceptionally good hammam. You can enjoy the pools that bubble into life with jacuzzis, water blades, massage jets and underwater music, not forgetting the outdoor saunas and jacuzzis.
You’ll spend the night at a 3 star hotel in Bagnères-de-Bigorre.
Day 3: Wednesday 1er August
Toumalet - Luz Ardiden
The day starts with the Tourmalet pass (2215 m) and a climb to Luz Ardiden (1680 m), both reserved for cyclists between 9 am and 12 noon. The legendary Col du Tourmalet is the highest mountain road pass in the Pyrenees. Every year, it is visited by the Tour de France, witnessing some unexpected developments and many moments of glory.
You can attempt the whole route or just a part of it.
In the afternoon you will visit the outstanding site of Cirque de Gavarnie. This listed UNESCO World Heritage of Humanity site is a never-ending spectacle of nature. The walk to the site is an easy and pleasant one.
At the end of the day, Luzéa spa invites you for the ultimate in relaxation with underwater massage jets, neck showers, a counter-current pool, a suspended jacuzzi, heated relaxation beds, a Roman bath with back massage jets, a sauna and oriental hammam.
You’ll spend the night at a 2 star hotel in Luz-Saint-Sauveur.
Day 4: Thursday 2nd August
Hautacam - Couraduque
You now cross to the Vallée des Gaves (valley of mountain streams) where the landscapes are very different. The climb to Hautacam (1520 m) with its panoramic views over the valley, and the less famous Col de Couraduque (1367 m), are both closed to vehicles from 9 am to 12 noon... The diversity of the Pyrenees will strike you during this stage of the tour.
You can attempt the whole route or just a part of it.
In the afternoon, you can visit Cauterets–Pont d’Espagne, the emblematic site of the Pyrenees National Park, which is a true Garden of Eden. The road up is itself a picturesque succession of waterfalls and gushing torrents. The site is easy to reach, thanks to the Puntas cable car and Gaube chairlift.
At the end of the day, you can visit Lourdes where the Sanctuaries provide a unique and often surprising personal experience. The torchlight procession, a moving and fascinating experience, is an absolute must.
You’ll spend the night at a 3 star hotel in Argelès-Gazost.
Day 5: Friday 3rd August
Col des Bordères - Soulor - Aubisque
Today, there are 2 cyclist-only mountain passes, from 9 am to midday. Col des Bordères (1156 m) and Col d’Aubisque (1709) via Col du Soulor. You will cycle through a pristine valley of green landscapes where the corners and climbs are superb. This beautiful road takes you between pastures and granite peaks from a lesser-known mountain pass to a legendary one. A sumptuous final day.
You can attempt the whole route or just a part of it.
You’ll begin the afternoon with a session at Le Jardin des Bains spa centre. Relaxation and wellbeing in different ambiances created with plants and flowers which benefit from the luminosity of the part-glass structure.
You can then explore Lourdes Château Fort and take the funicular railway up to Pic du Jer for a superb view over the town and the mouths of the valleys.
You’ll spend the night at a top hotel in Lourdes.
2, 3 and 4 star hotels and B&B
3 star hotel in Arreau
This hotel has a superb location, where the Aure and Louron valleys meet, it is close to Spain, between the Cols of Peyresourde and Aspin, and close to the Peyragudes ski resort. The building is full of history, a post relay for three centuries, it then became a favoured stop for Count Henry Russell, the famous explorer. Today the hotel has kept all its old-world charm - cosy, with a warm family welcome. In the summer months you can enjoy the swimming pool in the garden, in winter the log fire is a welcome sight. In the restaurant their motto is "the dishes do not have any character unless they are prepared with the best local ingredients..." The chef offers a touch of finesse and quality. In the beautifully decorated dining room you will be swept away in a whirl of flavours, scents and colours.
4 star hotel in Saint Lary
Situated at the heart of the Pyrenees National Park this hotel has an exceptional location, a green and peaceful setting. At just 50 metres from the cable-cars for the Saint Lary ski resort, the hotel has kept its Pyrenean roots and its mountain soul, it offers an ambience of charm and authenticity. The staff are always on hand to offer a high quality of service. The hotel has 65 very comfortable rooms including 5 family rooms, their decoration is both classical and contemporary with fine materials and warm colours. Each room has a clear view over the surrounding mountains or the spa gardens. The bar and the La Mangeoire restaurant are situated around the lounge with its mountain chalet look. The restaurant offers a refined cuisine with a large choice of regional and international dishes based on local seasonal produce. The 'La Cintra' bar is at the heart of the hotel and is a popular meeting place. The hotel is joined directly to the Sensoria by Nuxe spa baths, you can enjoy warm baths, body and facial treatments, Nuxe massages and many other beauty treatments. A lovely moment of relaxation for both body and mind in a warm cosy setting, and at the very heart of the Pyrenees.
3 star hotel in Bagnères de Bigorre
Between the Adour and the Pyrenees... Located opposite the Pic du Midi, in a majestic park with hundred-year-old trees along the Adour, this hotel is located in Bagnères de Bigorre. Cradled by the Adour’s course and the beautiful views, you will appreciate the calm and atmosphere of this hotel, with its ideal situation for all summer and winter activities. Throughout the year, the Pic du Midi de Bigorre offers sumptuous panoramas, and the magnificent Aquensis thermoludic centre invites you to experience intense relaxation. The Haute Bigorre golf course, with its natural beauty, and the Bagnères Casino are additional features. In winter, 20 minute daily shuttles connect this hotel to the La Mongie resort, located in the heart of the most beautiful and largest ski area in the Pyrenees. From spring to autumn, canyoning, rafting, walking, climbing, mountain biking and other mountain activities will satisfy all your desires for the great outdoors.
2 star hotel in Luz-Saint-Sauveur
Hotel in Saint Sauveur, the thermal area of Luz Saint Sauveur, close to the spa baths. The hotel comprises two buildings, one is up against the mountain with the sound of the river ever present, the other building is a little higher and has a lovely garden. Both offer superb views over the surrounding peaks. The welcome is warm, you will love the quiet and the conviviality.
3 star hotel in Argelès-Gazost
The fruit of an architect's competition, this original building has the air of steamer and dates from 1930. Acquired and transformed into a hotel by the Pucheu family in 1960, it invites you for a very special stopover. On board, 1st class service: porter, lift, wifi and satellite channels in the rooms, library lounge, floral and shaded garden ... And what can we say about the food? Between nouvelle cuisine and local gastronomy, its inspiration is found in the colour of the seasons and the scents of the market. Are you coming on board?
Top-of-the-range hotel in Lourdes
The hotel by the Gave benefits from views over the Pyrenees and a welcoming environment within easy access of some MAJOR LISTED SITES, as well as some legendary passes of the PYRENEES. It has 3 air-conditioned restaurants serving local specialities, as well as vast lounges with terraces overlooking the park... Garages and private parking areas are available with secured parking for up to 20 cars and 11 buses.
Your hotel offers 237 modern, air-conditioned rooms with bath or shower, hair-dryer, separate WC and television. 1 bathroom specially equipped for disabled persons requiring assistance (side-opening bath, shower with wheelchair, etc.). 82 rooms adapted to accommodate disabled persons.
Balnea, your spa centre
Immersed in the warm, comforting spring waters, eyes fixed on the mountains set out before you, and lungs filled with the pure mountain-top air, the Pyrenean version of mountains seems different. Making the most of their inimitable natural assets, the Pyrenees have designed a series of spa centres offering pools, Jacuzzis, hammams, saunas, body sculpting with hot stones, beds of bubbles, Ayurvedic massage, a musical bath, and much more. With their eight centres, the High Pyrenees are champions of balneotherapy and Balnéa is their top centre. Nestled in the heart of one of the most beautiful natural areas of the Hautes Pyrenees on the banks of the Genos Loudenvielle Lake, Balnéa is not content with just doing good to body and mind. It offers pleasure to your eyes, which won’t want to close, but would rather stay wide open gazing at the beauty of the Pyrenees.
Aquensis, your spa centre
In the heart of Bagnères-de-Bigorre, the azure façade of a mansion indicates Aquensis, Thermal Spa and architectural jewel. Baths and lagoons bubble under a wooden frame that looks like a cathedral. Upstairs, an exceptional hammam and nineteenth century salons provide an elegant setting for massages and wraps.
Luzea, your spa centre
The well-being and spa centre of Luzea is situated in Luz St Sauveur in the heart of the Pays Toy. It is a magnificent neo-classical building richly decorated with marble, glass, mosaiques of precious stones and superbly located overlooking the river valley. It offers the ideal location for relaxing. The building which cleverly combines neo-classical and modernity offers a haven of well-being.
Water Therapy area: relaxation pool, suspended jaccuzis, heated marble benches, roman baths and oriental hamman.
Personalised treatment area: offering a large range of special treatments including hot stone massage and essential oils massages.
Les Jardins des Bains, your spa centre
Argelès-Gazost, ideally located on the route of the Grand Sites (Lourdes, the Pic du Midi, Gavarnie and Cauterets-Pont d’Espagne), is a renowned spa town, and opened a spa centre, the Jardin des Bains. It is a journey through the gardens and time. Here you will discover all the pleasures of an aquatic garden, a walking circuit, the aroma baths with its mysterious Inca wells… relaxation of the senses is guaranteed in a setting from another world.
The Pic du Midi cable-car, easy access to the highest summits!
The visit starts with a sensational airborne trip in a cable car – 15 minutes’ journey over vertiginous drops with 350m of emptiness under your feet! At the top, there are 750 square metres of landscaped terraces that provide wonderful views of an incredible panorama over the Pyrenean mountain range – more than 300km of peaks. In fine weather, it is even possible to make out the first foothills of the Massif Central! Panoramic maps and explanatory panels help you to decipher the horizon, and there are telescopes to study the sun, because the Pic du Midi also houses an observatory. The night sky seen from the Pic du Midi is unusual, thanks to the purity of the air and the great stability of the atmosphere at 2,877 metres above sea level. This quality meant that it has been listed as an “International Dark Sky Reserve”. Le Pic du Midi can be visited during the day or in the evening, or visitors can stay for the night.
The Cirque de Gavarnie, a World Heritage site
Fifty million years ago, the erosion of rain and ice hollowed out a group of unusually perfect natural cirques in the Pyrenees. Gavarnie is one of them – the best-known, and the most impressive as well. As soon as you get through the village, it jumps out at you, catches you by the throat and steals your heart away. Gavarnie looks invented – an immense invention placed among the Pyrenees. It is more than five kilometres in diameter, with vertical walls 1,500 metres high, and hundreds of waterfalls. Master of words Victor Hugo described it like this: “It is the most mysterious edifice from the most mysterious of architects; it’s the colosseum of nature – it’s Gavarnie”. Looking at this exceptional colossus, it’s hard to believe that it’s not the only one – but Estaubé and Troumouse are there too, just a stone’s throw away. Like Gavarnie, they are real masterpieces. These spectacular cirques are right up against the canyons of Spanish High-Aragon, and together they from the “Gavarnie-Mont Perdu” site, a unique piece of the Pyrenees, a sacred mountain listed by Unesco as a World Heritage site.
Cauterets and Pont d'Espagne : at the heart of the Pyrenees National Park
Here each corner is full of life. The mountain pines grow right out of the rock, the rivers surge forward, brown frogs croak, marmots drowse in the sun, lizards watch you carefully, ibex squabble, the meadows are covered in flowers... In the pure air, there is an odour of resin and wild thyme. The richness and harmony of the life here make you want to jump for joy. But there are still surprises to come – higher up, the splendid Gaube Lake is patiently waiting for you, below fascinating Vignemale, the highest massif in the French Pyrenees. If it’s playing fair, you’ll be able to see your reflection in its turquoise waters – magic. There are lots of facilities and trails, offering several possibilities for hikes, enabling you to make the most of this Pyrenean Garden of Eden with ease. We suggest that you take the two ski lifts that follow one another, the Puntas cable-car and the Gaube chairlift, that take you there directly, after a short extra walk of fifteen minutes to Gaube Lake. You can then cover the site on the way down, on foot or by chairlift.
Lourdes, a centre of spirituality
Relax – you won’t be asked for your Baptism certificate on the way into the site! And you don’t need to revise the doctrine of the Christian Trinity to appreciate the place. So why go to Lourdes? For a mystical experience? Better than that – to discover a place that is unique in the world, that everyone ought to see once in their lives. Each year, millions of visitors from all over the world come to this little town where, in 1858, a young girl called Bernadette met the Virgin Mary in a grotto close to the river. Visitors hurry to touch the rock, shiny from having been touched millions of times, and meditate in front of the spring that Bernadette made to gush out at the exact place where the Virgin appeared. Then they go to the fountains and the pools to touch the spring water before lighting a candle that will continue their prayers after they leave. The atmosphere disarms even the most sceptic. There is something moving and fascinating to see the pilgrims moving forwards in this search for sense and connection. And, it has to be said, in one way or another this visit also feeds the interior journey that we all have to make, whether atheist or believer, and which invites us to reflect on ourselves, on others, and on the meaning of our existence.
Neouvielle National Nature Reserve
How many are there? Several dozen? A hundred? No one has ever been able to count the lakes in this nature reserve. They are scattered throughout the landscape and form a string of pretty blue mirrors that sparkle in the midst of the mountain pines, meadows and rhododendrons. It is an enchanting landscape with its mix of a wide range of green and turquoise-blue shades. But in Néouvielle, the animals also guarantee a show. The most unobtrusive lives in the streams. It is called the Pyrenean brook salamander. This strange animal is a sort of large newt and boasts of being a contemporary of the dinosaurs. More common creatures such as solitary foxes, Pyrenean chamois, marmots, griffon vultures and bearded vultures, common frogs, and common midwife toads inhabit this land of wonders.
The Pic du Jer Finicular Railway
The Pic du Jer towers over Lourdes, it is recognisable by its enormous cross which is illuminated an night. A century old funicular railway takes youp to the summit at 1000m of altitude in just a few minutes, a voyage full of history. Once at the top an easy trail takes you to a look-out point from where there is a 360 degree panorama, over Lourdes, Tarbes, Pau the Argeles-Gazost valley and the Pyrenean peaks.
The Lourdes castle and its Pyrenean museum
The castle is perched on a rocky outcrop overlooking the town, it is a classified historical monument. Within its wall is a museum of the Pyrenees. So do hestitae to making an assault on this impressive fortress, climb the 104 steps which lead to the top of the dungeon tower, at the top the view is superb. You can also discover the famous legend of Charlemagne who is celebrated on the crest of Lourdes.
Col de Peyresourde
Col de Peyresourde, the pass between the Vallée du Louron and Pays de Luchon in Haute-Garonne, is highly familiar with the Tour de France, which has taken this route 47 times since 1947! Little mountain villages are dotted along the way. The climb to the pass offers astounding views over the valleys and surrounding peaks.
Col de Val Louron-Azet
Between the Aure and Louron valleys, the Val Louron-Azet pass offers a striking contrast between the gentle slopes of the grass valleys and the high mountain summits. This is one of the most recent Pyrenean “cyclo” passes and wasn’t even tarmacked or open to vehicles until the 1990s. Yet the Tour de France has climbed it 7 times and was part of the Pau-Bagnères-de-Luchon stage in 2016.
Col du Portet
“The new Tourmalet"
This pass is a novelty, not only for Cycl'n'trip but also for the Tour de France. Having been tarmacked only recently, it features for the first time among the challenges facing competitors in the 2018 edition. With 16 km on an average slope of more than 8%, and an elevation of 2215 m, Col du Portet has all it takes to become another Tourmalet.
This is one of the major Tour de France passes, with fairly gentle slopes both on the way up and at the top. Here, nature reigns with green pastures. There are no villages for approximately 25 km of the route, taking this stage of the tour into the wild, although it doesn’t go as far as including gravel tracks!
Col du Tourmalet
Altitude : 2215 m
A legend! Tourmalet is to cycling what Eden Park is to rugby, or Maracana to football: a temple! The name is mythical in the cycling world! This legendary pass has featured in the Tour de France since 1910. It is quite simply the mountain pass that has been climbed the most by Tour de France racers. At the foot of Pic du Midi, the mountain ambiance is as high as the ambitions of the world’s top cyclists who come in increasing numbers to take on the Tourmalet challenge.
A shady road dotted with viewpoints over the “Pays Toy”
With its succession of 25 hairpin bends, the climb to Luz Ardiden is one of the most technical sections of the Pyrenees. Since 1985, eight Tour de France races have included a stage finishing here, leaving a lasting impression that makes Luz-Ardiden one of the key stages of the event. A shady road dotted with viewpoints over the Pays Toy, a finish line at the foot of the ski slopes, where there is an irresistible temptation to raise the arms in a sign of victory!
The climb to Hautacam is, first and foremost, an incredibly panoramic route over the Vallée des Gaves. From the Pibeste mountain to the 3000 metre summits of the border, including the gentler slopes of Argelès-Gazost and Val d'Azun, the extremely diverse mountain landscapes will regale your eyes.
Along the way, from the valley to the summit, villages, hamlets and isolated barns blend discreetly and harmoniously into the scenery.
The Tour de France has left a palpable impact here too, at every bend. It has come here on only 5 occasions, between 1994 and 2014, but every one was an adventure! Hautacam is beautiful, grandiose and magical... but requires a good technique.
Col de Couraduque
The climb to Col de Couraduque is a picture postcard.
A piece of paradise... the Tour de France hasn’t come here yet, but the climb is beautiful, on one of Val d’Azun’s most splendid south-facing slopes. The blue sky is dotted with the colourful wings of paragliders, high above the harmony of traditional houses and well-kept pastures. With views of the 3000 metre summits which dominate the landscape... the climb to Col de Couraduque is also worthy of a postcard.
Col des Bordères
A bucolic little mountain pass from another world.
Small is beautiful, if this bucolic little pass from another planet is anything to go by. The ideal taster before the challenge of the Aubisque pass via Soulor. From the village of Estaing, the road hugs a pleasant little valley before reaching the wide bench of the pass. From Arrens, the route sticks to the slope and offers a “cinematographic” view of the soaring summits of Pic du Midi d’Arrens or Grang Gabizos. There is a pleasant, pastoral ambiance here.
Col d’Aubisque / Col du Soulor
Acting as bridges between the regions of Bigorre and Béarn, the Soulor and Aubisque passes have been linked since 1860 by an astonishing path which appears to defy the laws of gravity. The itinerary has become a favourite among cyclists from all over the world. In terms of sporting events, the two passes have nothing to envy any others, with 50 Tour de France itineraries having passed Soulor since 1947, and 45 for Aubisque! Again, this is a legendary road that has seen almost more cycle wheels than car tyres. Soulor and Aubisque are like the cake and its icing.
- From 500 € /person -
- Based on 2 persons
The price includes
6 nights in 2, 3 and 4 star hotels and B&B - 5 half-day excursions across cyclist-only mountain passes - Technical information on each pass is provided, as well as an itinerary road book - A practical guide to local tourist activities is also provided - 1 admission (2 hours) to spa centres of Hautes Pyrénées: Balnéa, Aquensis, Luzéa, and Jardin des Bains - 1 Pic du Midi cable car trip - 1 pass for Cauterets - Pont d’Espagne (access to Parking du Puntas and Lac de Gaube cable car and chairlift) - 1 pass combining Château Fort de Lourdes and the Pic du Jer funicular railway - Booking fee.
The price does not include
Site visits (not included in the programme) - Personal expenses - Electric bike rentals - Local taxes - Cancellation insurance.
From 29th July to 4th August
Individual equipment to carry with you:
- A small rucksack for the day - A change of clothes for the evening - a WARM item of clothing for the evening (anorak, mountain jacket, etc.) - Pair of sandals - Towel - Cap - Suncream and sunglasses - First aid kit - Pocket knife, toilet paper, wipes - Food supplies (cereal bars, dried fruit & nuts, etc.) - Some cash (you won’t find dispensers everywhere...).
Specific cycling equipment:
- Suitable attire: cycling shorts, breathable tee-shirts, including one long-sleeved in microfibre - A wind-proof cagoule or Gore-tex-type garment - Cycling gloves - Helmet - 1 or 2 water flasks or, better still, a hydration backpack (for instance, a 2-litre Camel Back) - Inner tubes for traditional tyres (we recommend tubeless tyres), spare spokes... - A repair kit - gear hanger, cable, etc.
Bike rentals available, possibility of being accompanied by a coach throughout the climb, or receive postural advice from a professional (by reservation only).
An elegant alliance of Southern flavours and rich mountain specialities, Haute Pyrénées gastronomy offers a delicious diversity. The Holiday Planners of Boutique des Pyrénées can even reserve a table for you at a top restaurant.