Cirque de Garvanie, Cauterets, Pont d’Espagne (F)


27/08/2011:  Arreau - Col du Tourmalet - Gavarnies (1500 m): 82 km

Today we woke up with the sun in the sky. We visited the info centre and the Cagots’ Museum -with the world games’ Museum. Stroll through town, we bought 2 times (because it was soooo good) croissant and pain au chocolat. The little town of Arreau is authentic and not yet turisty. Drive up to Col de Aspin and then to the famous Col de Tourmalet where the Tour de France goes through. We finished our driving in Gavarnies where we could park the camper on a special area with beautiful views on the Cirque de Gavarnie (5€ for 24 hours, water and sewage on site). We walked down to the village of Gavarnie, bought a hiking map of the area and walked back up to our camper.It was so cold today, 14ºC max. and in the evening it got down to 10ºC.  N 42º44.109´ - W 0º00.621´

28/08/2011:  Gavarnies - Cauterets (930 m): 43 km

Hike to the Cirque de Garvanies through the west and east flank -avoiding the main path (5 hours, 400 m elevation)- up to Hôtel du Cirque where Julia had a coffee while Volker walked up to the “Grande Cascade”. On our way back we discovered the Chalet de Pailla (1800 m) in an idyllic spot on top of the mountains. At 16h30 we drove to Cauterets. Dinner in town with an excellent pierrade (meat on hot stone) with at the Restaurant A la Bonne Franquette. We stayed ovenight at the motor caravan area (10€ with electricity, water and sewage per 24 hrs). N 42º 53.536’ W 0º 06.791’)

29/08/2011:  Cauterets - Pont d’Espagne (1500 m): 23 km

Drive up to the parking lot of Pont d’Espagne (5,50 € for 1 day, overnight stay forbidden) and hike on the old pass road to Refuge Wallon-Marcadau (6 hours, 15 km, 350 m elevation). Volker continued and made the loop to the lakes’ circuit (+ 600 m elevation and +2 hours), Julia took the (ski)lift (8€ return) up to the Lake Gaube. Back to our overnight place in Cauterets (10€ with electricity, water and sewage per 24 hrs). N 42º 53.536’ W 0º 06.791’)

30/08/2011:  Cauterets - Saint Gaudens (1500 m): 23 km

Laundry in the morning at a “laverie” and then Julia went to Les Bains du Rocher. These are -since 2010- a modern and fancy wellness centre for “normal” people. It has a superb hammam and a good sauna with relaxing room, completely different from what I experienced in Eaux Chaudes. Right next door is the Thermes de César, owned by the same people, but still used for curing purposes. In the evening we drove first to Tarbes where we looked for a Decathlon store and bought some things, then we continued to St. Gaudens where we spent the night on the parking “Jean Pégot” (N 32º 6.628’ E (!) 0º 43.694’)

The cute little town of Arreau settled on the river Nestes.

Left: old market hall. Down: Fleur de Lys house.

Col du Tourmalet where the Tour de France goes through each year.

Can someone explain to me how these trousers manage not to fall down?

View on the east part of the Cirque de Gavarnie from our overnight spot.

What a luxury to have a mobile bakery that delivers fresh baguettes, croissants and pains au chocolat direct on our site!

Cirque de Gavarnie,
Parc National des Pyrénées

“La Grande Cascade du Cirque”

with its 422 m the highest in Europe

On our way back we were surprised and happy to find a “Jausenstation” (small mountain restaurant) -for the first time in the Pyrénées!

We really like drinking the Kerisac sidre brut - Restaurant à la Bonne Franquette, Cauterets.

Marmots greeting us with their whisle call

The old pass track to Spain

Lac Gaube with the Glacier in the back

Bye bye Cauterets...