03 October 2010

The Valleys of the Pyrenees in Pictures

A visual guide

An image guide to cycling the valleys of the Pyrenees mountains in France. In August 2010 I wrote a cycling travel blog post describing the valleys of the Pyrenees. Today I offer a pictorial cruise through the same valleys. Perhaps if you can see images grouped by the valleys, it will help you get a feel for where you would want to travel in the Pyrenees. Please read the earlier post at PedalDancer.com: The Valleys of the Pyrenees, for a list of the big bike climbs and Cols in each valley. Now journey from the west to the east through the Pyrenees - enjoy the images here.

*All images by PedalDancer.com from 2001-2010 travels to the Pyrenees and my love of cycling in France.
Description: Pyrenees Atlantique: Beach cities, Basque Country, and the Haute Soule
Valley: Valley du Petit Nive [Pays Basque and Bearn]
Region: Aquitane
Department: Navarra & Pyrénées-Atlantiques
Main Towns: St-Jean-Pied-de-Port, Oloron-Ste-Marie, (Pau)

Description: Central Pyrenees: charm, majestic scenery, wine and farms
Valley: Vallee d’Aspe & Vallee d’Ossau
Region: Aquitane
Department: Pyrénées-Atlantiques
Main Towns: Pau, Gan, Oloron-Ste-Marie, Arudy, Bielle, Laruns
*this is my favorite area because the Basque country is just to the west and the Tourmalet country is just to the east and this valley is in the middle and just right.

Description: Heart of the Pyrenees - big climbs, big roads, lots of cyclists
Valley: Vallee d’Arrens & Vallee Lavanden
Region: Midi-Pyrenees
Department: Hautes-Pyrenees
Main Towns: Lourdes, Argeles-Gazost, Saint Savin, Arrens-Marsous, Cautarets, Luz-Saint-Sauveur
*my best guess is this is what your are going to expect from cycling in the Pyrenees

Description: Midi-Pyrenees: big cities and small towns, road to the Tourmalet
Valley: Vallee Adour & Campan Valley
Region: Midi-Pyrenees
Department: Hautes-Pyrenees
Main Towns: Bagneres-de-Bigorre, Marie-de-Campan, (Tarbes)

Description: Central Mountains and Cols of the Tour de France, & Tourists
Valley: Vallee d’Aure
Region: Midi-Pyrenees
Department: Hautes-Pyrénées
Main Towns: Arreau, St-Lary-Soulan

Description: Eastern Cols: spa tourist area, hard obscure climbs of the TDF
Valley: Vallee Barrouse &Vallee Luchon
Region: Midi-Pyrenees>
Department: Haute-Garonne & Cataluna
Main Towns: Bagneres-de-Luchon, (Saint Gaudens)
*this is by far my least favorite valley

Description: Ariege: green hills, rivers, steep mountains, unpopulated
Valley: [Couserans & Sabarthes]
Region: Midi-Pyrenees
Department: Ariege
Main Towns: St-Girons, Foix, Massat, Tarascon-s-Ariege, Ax-les-Thermes, (Toulouse)

Description:  Peage, dry rolling hills, wine country, castles to the Mediterranean