05 September 2010

Recommended Bike Route in Pyrenees, France

Farm & Wine Country in the Foothills of the Pyrenees 

LOOP ride near Pau for cyclists

This is one of my favorite places in France to ride a bike. I have been fortunate to ride in the area for many days in the past years. It is an area of rich farmland, growing in popularity for vineyards and vacation homes. The area is beautiful beyond description and can easily be enjoyed on a bike. Avoid the busy larger roads, and you will find great riding almost everywhere else. You may stop at local bars, bakeries, and cafes in the small towns and enjoy peaceful roads with few cars. This area is down valley (north) from the Col d'Aubisque, between Laruns and Pau, France. An area of spectacular scenery in the foothills of the Pyrenees. 
  • The Tour de France visits this area every year, usually for a couple of days. 
  • My favorite bakery is on a corner in the town square of Gan.
  • There is another great tasting bakery up in the town of Buzy.
  • There is a bar on the corner of the square in Nay with a large screen TV. 
  • There is also a bar at the square in Gan with outside tables.
  • There is a funky place for coffee at La Bastarde in Rebenacq.
  • Photo ops abound on the roads between Nay and Rebenacq.
  • The road to Lasseube has picturesque vineyards.  
  • Lasseube has a bar where the locals hang out in the center of town.
  • Avoid the city of Mourenx (very unattractive).
  • Oloron-Saint-Marie is a large confusing town with huge stores, but has a good morning market.
  • Nay has a morning market as well. 
  • There is a river that runs from Laruns to Arudy through Rebenacq.
  • There is a bike shop on the corner in Jurancon.
  • There is a great restaurant for lunch and dinner by the river in the town of Lastelle-Betharram. 
  • The Gave de Pau (River) runs through Lastelle-Betharram to Pau, and offers rafting. 
  • Major climbs nearby include: Col d'Aubisque, Col du Soulor, Col de la Marie Blanque.
The route above is a 99km loop ride, but you can ride any part of the area. Allow plenty of time, it will take awhile because it is hilly and you will want to stop to take pictures along your ride. I recommend getting out your Local Michelin Map #342. On the map you will find the detailed roads:
Including: D24, D34, D936, D938, D278, D37, D36 (any of the small farm roads between the larger D934, D937/D938). The D934 is okay to ride on although heavier in traffic, I would not recommend riding on the D937/938 due to high speed of the cars and no shoulder/bike lane.

Images from the area taken over the years: