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Lac d’Oô - Bagnères de Luchon

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Lunch stop on the road to Garin

11.08.2013 : Arreau - Granges d’Astau (1139 m): 40 km

Today Sunday is the first sunny day since we arrived. Volker got some nice croissants from the bakery which we already knew from 2 years ago and then we hit the train  “Chemin de Barrancoueu par Sarthol (11,3 km, 2,5 hours) which we had got from the Tourist Office yesterday afternoon (0,50€/sheet). Unfortunately it was not accurate and we did’nt find our way very easily on the way back. Drive to Loudenvielle which is a very nice place at a glacier lake, but it was so crowded, we couldn’t get a space for our camper. We then continued in directon of Bagnères de Luchon, often only called Luchon. Lunch and siesta on a nice meadow at N42º48.4734’ - E0º30.5266’ . Volker had a citron pressé in the nice bar/restaurant Le Mailh d’Astau. Overnight on the parking area at Granges d’Astau N42º45.798’ - E0º30.004’

12.08.2013 : Granges d’Astau - Lac d’Oô (1504m)

When we got up the weather was fantastic. We hit the trail up to Ld c’Oô at 9:30 am and walked up further to the Col d’Espingo and had a delicious lunch (pizza bleue and daube for 21€) at the Refuge d’Espingo (1967m). This was a hike of 6 hours with 900m elevation. Volker continued to the Refuge du Portillon at 2570m (8,25 hours, with 1500m elevation). Julia returned and had a break at the Refuge du Lac d’Oô (1504m) before going home and having a coffee at the Auberge d’Astau. A thunderstorm started just after I, Julia, left the Refuge du Lac d’Oô, but I was lucky because I managed to arrive pretty safe and dry in our camper. Whereas Volker, who got a super-duper rain jacket yesterday got a whole lot of rain. Overnight at the same place as yesterday.

13.08.2013 : Granges d’Astau - Bagnères de Luchon : 40 km

We left pretty early Granges d’Astau and drove to Bagnères de Luchon. Before settling on the motor caravan area in Bagnères de Luchon (2€/12hours), we did some grocery shopping at Lidl. We then took our bicycles and drove into town visiting the tourist information centre and checking our emails next door where the municipality has a room with free (but slow) wifi. Lunch home with delicious grilled lamb. In the afternoon we strolled through the main shopping and restaurant street -Allée d’Etigny-, having a “noisette” (small white coffee) and a basque kir at Café de la Paix.  N42º47’42” - E0º35’54”

14.08.2013 : Bagnères de Luchon

We started the day with a good breakfast,  as there is a rolling bakery that comes to the motor caravan area with good croissants. Then we drove to Intermarché where we had our laundry done on self-service washing machines that are outside the building (2€/washing machine, 1€/10 min. drying machine). In the meatime Volker went to Bricomarché and Julia to the supermarket to get AGAIN some pâté basque which we, especially Volker, loves so much. Our laundry was done in less than 1 hour! As we were leaving we notice we had a flat tyre on the outer tyre in the back on the passenger side. In Luchon there are only two places where you can get tyre services. The first one we went to said he had too much to do and sent us to the Citroen garage. They told us to come back in the afternoon at 14:00. We then parked next to the airfield and made a bike tour with a lunch stop at La Crémaillère where we had very tasteful food: Volker had a confit de canard with 3 delicious sauces and I had a galette campagnarde (28€). After having our tyre repaired we got back to our motor caravan area and took our bikes again. We drove the way along the river La Pique which is right next to our place and stopped at the La Guinguette de Luchon for 2 good Belgian beers. Then we drove to the airflield and book a sailing plane and an airplane flight for tomorrow. After watching for some time all the activity on the airfield we drove to town centre (Julia got a nice blue polar jacket in one of the shops!). Coming back we discovered another motor caravan area in St. Mamet. Overnight in Bagnères de Luchon at the same place as yesterday.

15.08.2013 : Superbagnères (1800 m)

We took the cable car to Superbagnères at 9:30 am and started our hike from Superbagnères to the Col de Coume de Bourg at 2272m having a lovely view over to our previous place “Granges d’Astau”, and the Refuge du Maupas with the highest mountains in the Pyrenees: Maladeta 3312m and Aneto 3404 m (

3h20’, 10km). We had lovely views over the Vallée du Lys which is partly closed because of great destruction by floodings that took place in June 2013. Lunch at La Luge (not exciting,17€ for a cheeseburger and a salad). Back with the cable car at 14:00 (working hours from 9:30-12:30, closed until 14:00 and then up to 18:00). Back home we drove to the airfield where we have booked an glider tour for Volker at Aeroclub de Luchon at 15:30 (90€). He didn’t feel so well during the flight so he called it a day whereas Julia walked into town and had an ice cream while Volker was resting.

Lac d’Oô

Restaurant Mailh d’Astau in Granges d’Astau

Having a delicious lunch at the Refuge du Lac d’Espingo at 1955m

Granges d’Astau where we are standing with our camper

High above at Refuge du Portillon at 2570m

A well earned beer at the Auberge du Lad d’Oô

Left: Luchon’s Casino

Right: thermal baths built in 1848 on the former Roman thermal baths site

Watching the aeronautic activity on the Aérogare de Luchon across the Lac de Badech while enjoying a cool beer at La Guinguette de Luchon.

Télécabine (cable car) up to Superbagnères offering fantastic views over the highest mountains in the Pyrenees

Walking a stretch of GR10 to the Col de Coume de Bourg and further overlooking the Vallée du Lys

Volker after hin glider tour at the Aeroclube de Luchon

Ladies: this picture is about the Col du Portillon ;o)Border between France and Spain

Pyrenean Iris