Trip Itinerary

Itinerary for the Hautes Pyrenees Trip - Last Updated September 4, 2012

The following itinerary is for the Hautes Pyrenees bicycle trip in 2012.  The hotel links are the hotel's own websites.  There is additional travel information on this website's page "Transportation in and Out of Toulouse". 

The linked maps are lower resolution copies of the trip map, intended for viewing online.  Higher resolution copies will be provided for printing.  The routes on the maps are differentiated by color.  The magenta colored route is the main, or first route.  The blue colored route is the second available route when there is a second option available.  The orange colored route is the third available route when there is a third option available.

Friday, 21 Sep – Toulouse

ibis Toulouse Gare Matabiau
14 Boulevard Bonrepos
31000- Toulouse
05 61 62 50 90

Hotel ibis Toulouse GareMatabiau

Land at Toulouse Airport in Blagnac (TLS).  Embark on the Gare Navette (Airport / Train Station Bus) just outside terminal C and ride to the final stop, Gare Matabiau.  If you arriving by train, the Gare Matabiau should be your terminal.  The hotel is across the divided main street.  There are no activities or meals scheduled for Friday.  Arrive as early or late as is practical for your travel plans.  Your name will be on the BAC check-in list.

Saturday, 22 Sep – Toulouse                  

ibis Toulouse Gare Matabiau
14 Boulevard Bonrepos
31000- Toulouse
05 61 62 50 90

Hotel ibis Toulouse GareMatabiau

After breakfast we have a guided walking tour of Toulouse scheduled.  We will leave from the hotel lobby at 9:00 to walk to the tour.  You can use the afternoon to assemble and test you bicycle, do a little exploring on your own, or recover from jet lag with a nice long lunch and a nap.  Please have your bike boxes empty and ready to put in the van by 2:00pm / 14:00.  Gilbert will be taking them to his house for storage during the trip. Our welcome dinner is on Saturday night.

Toulouse Michelin Guide
Toulouse WikiTravel

Sunday, 23 Sep – Toulouse to Mirepoix

Hôtel restaurant Les Minotiers
Avenue du Maréchal Foch
09500 Mirepoix
05 61 69 37 36

Hotel Restaurant Les Minotiers

Following a bike tour of Toulouse, ride out of town on the historic Canal du Midi Canal du Midi to the Town of Gardouch.  Follow D625 through the country and small towns such as Salles-sur-l’Hers to Mirepoix (2).  The hotel is through the town on the South Side of town.

Today’s ride starts in the Haute Garonne Department, passes through the Aude Department, and ends in the Ariege Department.  The Haute Garonne and Ariege departments are in the Midi Pyrenees Region where we will do most of our riding, the Aude is in the Languedoc-Roussillon Region.

In Mirepoix we intersect one of the routes in the "Way of Saint James - Le Chemin de Saint Jacques - "El Camino de Santiago".  We will intersect the route again in Le Mas d'Azil, Saint-Lizier, and St Bertrand de Comminges.

Map Page 1   Map Page 2     MapMyRide

Monday, 24 Sep – Mirepoix to Tarascon-sur-Ariege

Hostellerie de la Poste
16, avenue Victor – Pilhes
Tarascon sur Ariège
05 61 05 60 41

Hostellerie De La Poste Tarascon-Sur-Ariege

We head South from Mirepoix on D625.  We travel through the towns of Lagarde with its castle ruins, Camon (list - most beautiful villages), Chalabre, Laroque d’Olms, Lavelanet, and Foix.  You should definitely spend some time exploring historic Foix.  The castle is closed for lunch from noon until 14:00 (2pm), but you are relatively close to Tarascon at this point so you might want to take a break, have lunch, check out the cathedral and explore the town until it opens for the afternoon. The Ariege Regional Museum is also in the castle.  From Foix, we head south to our hotel in Tarascon-sur-Ariege.

Here is an additional link to an article about Gaston Phoebus, one of the most colorful rulers of this area.

Map Page 1   Map Page 2    MapMyRide

 Tuesday, 25 Sep – Tarascon to St Girons

Hotel-restaurant Eychenne
8 av Paul Laffont
09200 Saint-Girons
05 61 04 04 50

Hotel Eychenne

We begin our day by riding to the Prehistoric Parc just a few km outside of Tarascon and stopping for a visit.  After an early lunch we head north through Foix, Vernajoul, and then north west to Le-Mas d’Azil. Our road goes through the prehistoric cave.  We then turn south west and arrive in St Girons.

Map Page 1   Map Page 2  MapMyRide

Wednesday, 26 Sep – St Girons to Bagneres-de-Luchon

Clarion Suites Luchon Corneille
5, rue Alexandre Dumas
31110 Bagneres-de-Luchon (Luchon)
05 61 79 36 22

Clarion Suites Corneille Luchon

We head north out of St Girons, and then turn West toward Luchon.  We will pass through the towns of St Lizier (you might want to stop to see the Cathedral(Beautiful Villages), Mercenac, Prat-Bonrepaux, Mauvezin-de-Prat, Aspet, and Antichan-de-Frontignes.  We cross the Garonne and turn south to Luchon.

We will be staying 3 nights in Luchon, so you can unpack and settle in a bit more.  Even though there are rides scheduled for the days we are returning to Luchon, you could take an unofficial rest day if you wish.

Map Page 1   Map Page 2   MapMyRide

Luchon Weather Forecast

Thursday, 27 Sep – Luchon - Salardu – Luchon

Clarion Suites Luchon Corneille
5, rue Alexandre Dumas
31110 Bagneres-de-Luchon (Luchon)
05 61 79 36 22

Clarion Suites Corneille Luchon

The ride today starts and ends in Luchon, so you can do all or part of the ride (or rest / go for a hike if you wish).  We ride from Luchon across the border of Spain to Bossost.  Although it is not one of the ‘Cols’, the climb from Luchon to the Col du Portillon is our first crack at a “Category 1” climb.  We descend into Bossost which has the "Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary" "Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary". We are now riding in the Val d'Aran Val d'Aran (2) toward Vielha Vielha which has the 12th Century Church of Sant Miquel Church of Sant Miquel We continue through the Val D'Aran by turning east on C28  and do a more gradual climb into Escunhau (Sant Pèir Church Escunhau), Arties and finally Salardu which is near the headwaters of the Garonne.  At Salardu we turn around and return along the same route.

Map Page    MapMyRide

Friday, 28 Sep – Luchon - St Bertrand – Luchon

Clarion Suites Luchon Corneille
5, rue Alexandre Dumas
31110 Bagneres-de-Luchon (Luchon)
05 61 79 36 22

Clarion Suites Corneille Luchon

The ride today again starts and ends in Luchon, but it is fairly flat.  It should leave us limber but with some energy for some climbing the next day.  We will ride north along the Garonne from Luchon to the historic cathedrals on St Just and St Bertrand-de-Comminges (Beautiful villages), and then return to Luchon.

Map Page     MapMyRide

 Saturday, 29 Sep – Luchon to Aste

Hostellerie d' Asté
51 Route Cols
65200 Asté
05 62 91 74 27

Hotellerie d'Aste

Today is the first day where the legendary Cols featured in the Tour de France are an option.  We have three possible routes to get from Luchon to Asté.

1.       The shortest of the routes is to go over the ‘Category 1’ Col de Peyresourde to Arreau, then over the ‘Category 1’ Col d’Aspin*** (2), decending into Asté.  The Peyresourde and the Aspin are legendary Cols which are featured in many editions of the Tour de France including this year.

2.       The second option is to ascend the Col de Peyresourde, to Arreau but then ride through the Vallee D’Aurre to La Barthe-de-Neste.  The route continues through Capvern, Mauvezin, Escaladieu, and Bagneres-de-Biggore to Asté.

3.       The third option heads north from Luchon along the route we explored the previous day and heads to St Bertrand-de-Comminges, following near the route of the river Garrone.  We follow D26 along the river Neste through St-Paul Aventignan and Aneres to La-Barthe-de-Neste.  We then follow the same route as the second option through Capvern, Mauvezin, Escaladieu, and Bagneres-de-Biggore to Asté.

The Abbaye de l'Escaladieu is near Escaladieu.  It is a Cistercian Abbey founded in 1142.

No matter which route you take for today’s ride, you will be riding from the Haute Garonne department and into the Haute Pyrenees department from which our ride takes its name.  Both departments are in the Midi Pyrenees region.

Map Page 1   Map Page 2   MapMyRideRoute1  Route2  Route3 )

Sunday, 30 Sep – Aste to Cauterets

Hotel du Lion d'Or
12 Rue Richelieu
65110 Cauterets
06 17 78 07 20

Hotel Du Lion D'or, Cauterets

Today we have two options to get to our destination in Cauterets.

1.       The first option takes us over one of the best known Tour de France Cols, the 'Category HC' or 'beyond categorization' Col DuTourmalet (2).  The Tourmalet is in this year’s Tour as well.  Just before the top we pass though the ski resort La Mongie where we will have a close and unobstructed view of Pic du Midi de Bigorre***.  After summiting we descend through Bareges and Luz-St Sauveur to Soulom.  At Soulom we turn South and follow the Cauterets Valley to the town of Cauterets.

2.       The second option takes us North through Bagneres-de-Bigorre to Highway D26 which we follow through Neuilh, Juncalas.  We then turn South on D13 and follow along ‘Le Gave de Pau to Boo-Silhen, and Prechac until we arrive in Soulom.  There we will join the first option on a gentle climb to Cauterets through the Cauterets Valley.

We spend two nights in Cauterets where we have our official rest day.  Our rides to and stay in the towns of Cauterets and Gavarnie as well as their surrounding areas will be in the ParcNational de Pyrenees***  (2 - set your browser to translate).

Map Page    MapMyRideRoute1 Route2 )

 Monday, 1 Oct – Cauterets, Rest Day Hiking

Hotel du Lion d'Or
12 Rue Richelieu
65110 Cauterets
06 17 78 07 20

Hotel Du Lion D'or, Cauterets

Today is our official Rest Day in the resort town of Cauterets, with hiking possibilities to Pont d’Espagne***, Valde Jeret, Lac de Gaube, Vallee de Lutour.  The Vignemale Peak, the highest in the French Pyrenees can be seen from Gaube Lake.

Map Page    MapMyRide

 Tuesday, 2 Oct – Cauterets to Gavarnie

Hotel le Marbore
Le village de Gavarnie
65120 Gavarnie
05 62 92 40 40

Hotel Le Marbore

Our route from Cauterets to Gavarnie is a shorter ride which should allow us time to walk up and explore the Cirque de Gavarnie after we arrive at our destination.  We descend to Soulom and turn up the Luz-Gavarnie Valley passing by Luz-Saint-Sauveur and crossing the Gave de Pau on Pont Napoleon.  We take D921 through Gedre to Gavarnie which at an elevation of 1372m is our highest overnight stay.  We can walk to see the Cirque de Gavarnie ***, a natural wonder whose walls rise to the ridge-line that is the border with Spain.

Map Page    MapMyRide

Wednesday, 3 Oct – Gavarnie to Argelès-Gazost

Hotel les Cimes
1 Place d'Ourout
65400 Argelès-Gazost
05 62 97 00 10

Hotel Restaurant Les Cimes

From Gavarnie, Argeles is a short distance away and all downhill so we will take a side trip to another magnificent Cirque, the Cirque de Troumouse, a ‘Category 1’ climb.  We descend to Gedre and then take a rugged road, D922, along the Gave de Heas up to the Cirque de Troumouse.  Troumouse is less famous than Gavarnie but it is a spectacular and quieter destination.  We will then return to Gedre and head to Luz-Saint-Sauveur.  Either of these towns would make a great spot to find a restaurant and stop for lunch.  We continue down river through Soulom to our destination at Argelès-Gazost.

Anyone deciding to bypass the Cirque de Troumouse will need to find a way to spend a some time on the way to the destination.  Possibilities include exploring Luz St Sauveur and Argeles-Gazost, climbing up to Luz Ardiden, or riding up the other side of the Col du Tourmalet.

Map Page   MapMyRide

Thursday, 4 Oct – Argeles to Oloron-Sainte-Marie

Alysson Hôtel
24 Boulevard Pyrénées
64400 Oloron-Sainte-Marie
05 59 39 70 70

Alysson Hotel Oloron Sainte Marie

This is our final opportunity to climb the Cols of the Tour de France on our route to Oloron-Sainte-Marie.  We have three possible options for today’s route going over 2 Cols, 1 Col, or none to get to our destination.  All three routes should have great scenery.

1.       The First Route is to leave Argeles on Route D918 and summit the ‘Category 1’ Col du Soulor at 1474m elevation.  After a slight decent there is a ‘Category 2’ climb to the top of the Col d’Aubisque (2) at 1709m elevation (the Aubisque is an HC Climb in the other direction).  We then descend to Beost and travel North through Aste-Beon, Beon, Caset, and Louvie-Juzon.  We head West and North on D920, then D918, then D33B, to Oloron-Sainte-Marie.

2.       The Second Route climbs the Col du Soulor along the same route as the first route, but then turns to the North for a long downhill on D126 to D35.  Both D126 and D35 are marked as scenic routes on the Michelin map.  We take D35 through Bruges-Capbis-Mifaget to Louve-Juzon where we rejoin the first route.

3.       The Third Route heads North out of Argeles turning West before reaching Lourdes. We take a forest road on the South side of the Gave de Pau heading west.  We intersect D126 joining the Second Route, and in Jouve-Juzon we rejoin the First Route into Oloron.

Today’s ride will take us out of the Hautes-Pyrenees Department, and into the Pyrenees Atlantiques Department which is in the Aquitaine Region.  Oloron is at the base of the Aspe Valley.

Map Page 1   Map Page 2  MapMyRide ( Route1  Route 2 Route3 )

Friday, 5 Oct – Oloron to Lourdes

Hôtel Majestic
9, avenue Maransin
65100 Lourdes
05 62 94 27 23

Hotel Majestic, Lourdes

We leave Oloron taking a fairly flat route back to Louvie-Juzon.  We then take D35 to a forest road that will lead us into Lourdes.  We will be staying close to the middle of town and within walking distance of both the Basilica and the Fort.

Map Page 1   Map Page 2   MapMyRide

Saturday, 6 Oct – Lourdes to Toulouse

Ibis Toulouse Gare Matabiau
14 Boulevard Bonrepos
31000- Toulouse
05 61 62 50 90

Hotel ibis Toulouse GareMatabiau.

From Lourdes we will travel by bus back to Toulouse. We will arrive where we began our journey in Toulouse early this afternoon.  We will pack our bikes and bags, and in the evening have our farewell dinner as our last official function for the trip.

Sunday, 7 Oct – Toulouse to Home

Have breakfast (time permitting) and check out of the hotel.  Catch the Gare Navette to the Airport and have a safe trip home.