Indroducing the Pyrenees
The starkly beautiful French Pyrenees, one of the last wilderness areas of Europe, alternates between lush valleys with forests of pine and beech, to higher, wilder areas of open ridges, high cirques and deep blue glacial lakes – perfect for hiking or mountain biking.
What to do and see in the Pyrenees
Walk a portion (or all) of the Grand Randonee (GR10), a 800km-long trail that runs from Hendaye on the Atlantic coast to Banyuls on the Mediterranean. Or choose from a range of shorter walks to suit all abilities.
Watch pelota, the world’s fastest ball game, in the pretty seaside town of St-Jean-de-Luz, then sunbathe on the beach.
Catch a wave at trendy Biarritz, stroll the medieval streets of Bayonne or revitalise at one of numerous alpine spa resorts such as Cauterets, Luz-St-Sauveur, Barèges and Ax-les-Thermes.
Must-see sightseeing attractions in the French Pyrenees include:
Cirque de Gavarnie
Hike along rocky, pine-shaded slopes into open meadow and a vast alpine amphitheatre. Watch rainbows in the wind-teased plumes of the Grande Cascade, Europe’s highest waterfall at 423m, then refresh at the scenic Hôtel du Cirque et de la Cascade.
Grotte de Niaux
Explore a cluster of prehistoric caves that are home to vivid images painted by Cro-Magnon humans more than 10,000 years ago. Take a guided tour along a slippery subterranean riverbed into a 4km-long gallery inside the Niaux Cave, one of the best-preserved caves.
See vivid images of bison, horses, ibex and stags, all drawn with a dark outline and shaded using a crayon of bison fat and manganese oxide. Located 2km south of Tarascon-sur-Ariège.