The Pyrenees trace a high and vigorous skyline South of Toulouse. Stretching for over 400 kilometres between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, the Pyrenees chain of mountains draws a natural border between France and Spain.

Nature expresses itself with power and singularity, hiking is the preferred form of transportation and the villages, as well as their pastoral traditions, are authentic.

Bigger, higher, stronger!

The setting of the Parc National des Pyrénées

Created in 1967 to protect landscapes, fauna and flora in the Pyrenees, the Parc National des Pyrénées imposes specific rules and regulations so as to manage visits to the zone at its heart. It is easy to observe marmots, izards, eagles and vultures there during one of the numerous walking tours possible! An excursion for instance to the valley of the Luze by the Chemin de Saint-Saud which leads to the plateau Bellevue and affords a superb view of the cirque of Gavarnie. Since 2015 the Iberian ibex, which had disappeared from the Pyrenees by the year 2000, made its great comeback thanks to several reintroductions, notably above Cauterets. It should not be slow to finally reach Gavarnie…

Pic du Midi of Bigorre, The “vaisseau des étoiles”

As its name indicates, situated well forward, in the south, the Pic du Midi of Bigorre in the High Pyrenees is an extraordinary viewpoint. From its summit at 2,877 metres you can take in the whole chain of the Pyrenees from Catalonia to the Basque Country over more than 400 kilometres of mountains. It is on this terrace that, for more than 140 years, researchers and space technicians have been observing, decrypting and photographing the sky and all its planets as far as the furthest galaxies. Astronomy is the main subject for this site in the Pyrenees, with the study of the sun in particular and of the moon for the Apollo missions and planets. What make it different is its special light and the stability of its atmosphere, linked with its position. The purity of the air allows for a rare quality of observation of the sky and of the panorama around. Since June 2000 the site has been open to the general public and was classified in 2003 as a national nature site by reason of the beauty of its landscape.

Canigou, the Catalan sacred mountain

The dolmens and megaliths of Prehistory, the buildings constructed during the Early Middle Ages, the narratives and legends of which it is the hero reveal the sacred dimension of the Canigou. Is the force that issues forth from its imposing outline and is present at the often snow-capped summit which faces the sea and dominates the plain of Roussillon enough to explain the bewitchment exercised by this mass whose peak was for a long time considered to be the highest in the Pyrenees? A land of gods, of giants, of fairies, but also of witches and dragons, celebrated by poets, exploited for its iron up until the end of the 20th century, the sacred mountain of the Catalans also makes the tourists dream who undertake its ascent like an initiation ceremony. Numerous hiking paths reveal the poetry and the magic of these iconic landscapes. Rock climbing, canyoning are also available.

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This regional express doubles up as a tourist vocation. The sixty-three kilometres of track covered by the Train Jaune accounts for 650 engineering works including the Séjourné viaduct with its sumptuous stone arches and the Gisclard bridge, the only railway suspension bridge still in service. An exploit which is worth the journey in itself. From Villefranche-de-Conflent to Latour-de-Carol the yellow train goes through the Regional Nature Park of the Catalan Pyrenees. Seen from the open carriages the magnificent landscapes parade past and arouse emotion when the train overhangs the gorges of the Têt, grips narrow cornices, crosses rocky narrow passes, goes along valleys and climbs up the sides of mountains. The Yellow Train is a unique and fun way to travel in order to discover in a novel way the Conflent and the Cerdagne, summer as well as winter.

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