Changed: 11/01/2006 - 15:24:50
Tour Guide
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France tour provided by: Andreas Lienhardt

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You can go from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean without touching (crossing) the Pyrenees. On the N 117 from BAYONNE, through PAU to ST. GAUDENS. Then to TOULOSE and on the N 113 to CARCASSONNE and NARBONNE to PERPIGNAN, or on the D 117 through FOIX to PERPIGNAN.

But is this fun? No, more fun is to go right through. So...

Start at BIARITZ or BAYONNE and take the D 932 to CAMBO-LES-BAINES. Then the D 10 to HASPARREN and the D 14 to ST. PALAIS. On that way you reach the OXOCELHAYA national park which includes nice waterfalls. Then go on, take the D 11 to MAULEON and the D 918 to ARAMITS. Before you arrive ARAMITS turn right to ARETTE and then on the D 918 to the N 134. Take a little the way in direction SPAIN (COL DU SOMPORT) and near ESCOT left to the COL DE MARIE BLANQUE (1035 m) and arrive at BIELLE on the other side. On the D 934 to LARUNS. Here is the beginning of the highest part of the French Pyrenees.

In the middle of a curve right behind LARUNS the street splits off. The right one goes to SPAIN by crossing the COL DE PORTALET (1794 m), the left one is ours and takes us up to the COL Dí AUBISQUE (1709 m). A little part of a TOUR DE FRANCE feeling. Then the road hits direct the next one, the COL DE SOULOR (1709 m) which road comes up direct from PAU. Then go down to ARGELES-GAZOST, 13 km away from LOURDES the world-wide known place of pilgrimage. Then on the D 920 to PIERREFITTE-NESTAIAS. Here you can drive to the PARC NATIONAL DES PYRENEES. The road ends beyond CAUTERETS in PONT DE ESPANGNE. If you wonít take a look take the D 921 to LUZ-ST.-SAUVEUR. Here is another one-way-road to GAVARNIE and HEAS at the CIRQUE DE GAVARNIE, the French part of the PARQUE NATIONAL DE ORDESSA. (see Spaintour). At LUZ-ST.-SAUVEUR the king-size-tour of the Pyrenees begins, up to the COL DE TOURMALET (2115 m). At the top with a little luck and a little payment you can go higher to the PIC DU MIDI (2872 m) (last time I was there the road was closed). Down from the TOURMALET the D 918 goes right, behind LA MONGIE, up to the COL D' ASPIN (1489 m). After a great road down you arrive at ARREU.
From ARREAU you should start a little excursion. Take the way to Spain, direction TUNNEL DE BIELSA. At FABIAN you have to go right and a funny little road, with very nice curves takes you up to 5 nice little lakes (LAC DE OREDON) in near 2 300 m. Three of the five lakes you only can reach by bus in summer, because there is a national park and rare animals are protected.

Otherwise take the D 618 from ARREAU to the COL DE PEYRESOURDE (1569 m) and down to BAGNERES-DE-LUCHON. Another excursion in direction SUPERBAGNERES, a ski station is possible. Then from LUCHON over the COL DE PORTILLON (1293 m) [the end of my ´97 holidays ] to BOSSOST in SPAIN and on the N 230 and N 125, or direct from LUCHON on the N 125 to the COL DES ARES (725 m). Then on the D 618 to the COL DE PORTET DE ASPET (1069 m) to ST GIRONS. Arrive at TARASCON by taking the D 618 with an excursion to GUZET-NEIGE to the COL DE PORT (1249 m) or take the D 117 to FOIX and the N 20 to TARASCON. 26 km later on the N 20 you arrive at AX-LES-THERMES.
Now you can go on to the COL DE PUYMORENS (1915 m) and if you want on to ANDORRA or to the next little village UR and at the D 618 through BOURG-MADAME and the N 116 to MONT LOUIS.
Or at AX-LES-THERMES up to the COL DE CHIOULA (1431 m) and on to the COL DU PRADEL (1679 m) to the D 118 and over the COL DE LA QUILLANE (1713 m) to MONT LOUIS.
Finally the N 116 goes down the next 72 km, through a nice valley with nice and fast curves to PERPIGNAN.

No special tips, because the long distance. But it is never a problem to find a camping in FRANCE.
Sights in the area
  • DUNE DE PILAT near ARCACHON (Europeís highest Sand-dune near BORDEAUX, see the two photos !)
  • BEACHES at the Atlantic-coast.
  • LAC DE OREDON with a lot of luck you can watch the night active DESMAN (little animals)
  • Eagle show near ARREAU
  • Europe's biggest solar power station near ODEILLO near FONT-ROMEU
  • Mediterranean coast (Pyrenees fall into the sea)

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Pictures France

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build: 6. November 2002

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