Discover the charm of Argeles Gazost: Your complete travel guide
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On my very first cycling holiday to France in 2013, I stumbled across Argelès-Gazost by accident as a place to base ourselves in the Pyrénées. We both immediately fell in love with the town and the area generally and returned on numerous occasions for subsequent holidays. In 2021 we were finally able to call this part of the world home and we are now based in a small village a short distance from Argelès-Gazost. As such I are in the town at least once or twice a week and still love it the way we did on my first visit.
If you are looking for places to stay while visiting the Pyrénées then read on. We have put this guide together to take you through all the practical information about basing yourself in Argelès-Gazost. The town sits in the Lavedan Valley a short distance to the south of Lourdes. It is a popular summer holiday destination for both French and international visitors and has all the facilities you need for a great holiday. So whether you are coming to cycle, hike, sightsee, relax, or soak in the summer sun, Argelès-Gazost will provide a great base.
While reading through this,I also recommend that you give some consideration to one of the many smaller villages in the valley. They offer a real taste of quaint small French village life and the furthest is only 6km from Argelès-Gazost. Some names to consider include Lau-Balagnas (1km), Saint-Savin (3km), Ayzac-Ost (3km), Pierrefitte-Nestalis (6km), Beaucens (6km), and Agos-Vidalos (6km).
Argelès Gazost as a base for cycling
I think Argelès-Gazost is a great base if you are planning a cycling holiday in the Pyrénées. There are no less than 8 famous Tour de France cols within easy reach, plus a host of other cycling routes to consider. You are truly spoiled for choice and could easily spend a few weeks here exploring the cycling that is available. The town has plenty of places to choose from for accommodation and is a short distance from both an airport and train station in Lourdes.
Now that I live in this area I can attest to the fact that there are so many different cycling routes for you to ride while you stay in Argelés Gazost. It would be easy to spend multiple weeks based here and not ride the same route twice. If you are a mountain biker then you can head to the nearby mountain bike parks in Cauterets or Lourdes or a little further away in Baregés.
Information about getting to Argeles Gazost
Argelès-Gazost is located 16km south of Lourdes in the Haute Pyrénées in the Lavedan Valley. It is easy to get to if you are planning on driving and also connects well via a bus service to Lourdes if you wish to travel by public transport. You can have a look at the Seek Travel Ride How to Get to the Pyrénées article if you need some information about travelling to the Pyrénées in a broader sense.
If you are travelling to Argeles Gazost by road you will most likely come via Lourdes and the D821. Even if you are arriving from a different part of the Pyrénées it is quite often quicker to travel on the A64 autoroute rather than navigating the smaller mountain roads. Argeles Gazost is a short 15-minute drive from Lourdes and the main road bypasses the centre of Lourdes making the journey nice and easy.
Lourdes is the closest train station to Argeles Gazost and is 16km in distance. From the train station, you can catch the 965 bus or a taxi to your final destination in Argeles Gazost. The buses run regularly throughout the day and there are usually plenty of taxis waiting outside the station when trains arrive.
Lourdes-Tarbes airport is 28km from Argeles Gazost and the closest if you are looking for flights to this area. Volotea and Ryanair operate from the airport offering flights to a range of destinations including Paris Orly and London Stanstead. Toulouse Blagnac is the closest major airport and is 195km in distance, from here there are 28 airlines servicing 60 destinations. Pau airport is 78km from Argeles Gazost and is serviced by Air France and Transavia offering flights to both Paris Charles de Gaulle and Paris Orly airports.
Argeles Gazost is connected to Lourdes via the 965 liO bus service. The bus runs from the train station in Lourdes to Argeles Gazost and on to other destinations further up the valley. The liO website has all the timetable information that you will need. The bus can also be handy to get you to other destinations such as Cauterets, Gavarnie, and Luz Saint Savuer if you don’t plan on bringing a car or don’t want to drive much while visiting.
Getting around Argeles Gazost
The great thing I have always loved about Argeles Gazost is that once we are there it is nice and easy to walk everywhere in the village. Everything you need is located within the town centre and nowhere is too far to get to. There is even a lift (elevator) to take you up into the town centre if you don’t feel like climbing the stairs. Given the compact nature of the town, there are no buses or other forms of public transport within the town itself.
Places to stay in Argeles Gazost
Argeles Gazost has a range of accommodation options to suit everyone. You can choose from hotels, self-contained apartments and houses, and camping sites for your stay. Most of the hotels here are smaller family-run properties that provide simple but comfortable accommodation at a reasonable price. Many offer half-board options that include dinner, bed, and breakfast which is something we have always chosen on our visits. You will also find some hotels in the smaller villages surrounding Argeles Gazost that you could also consider. We recommend using Trip Advisor to source hotels in this area as many do not list on the larger booking sites.
For those that prefer self-catered accommodation, Argeles Gazost has plenty of apartments and houses to choose from. The surrounding villages are also a great option with this style of accommodation. Check sites such as Gites de France and Gites.fr to see what is on offer, there are lots of different types and styles available for everyone.
If you wish to stay in a tent, a camping car (RV or campervan), or rent a cabin in a campsite, then there are plenty to choose from in and around Argeles Gazost. Many of these campsites are more akin to mini resorts, with pools, water slides, restaurants, and bars to keep everyone entertained without having to leave the site.
My top tip for booking accommodation in Argeles Gazost is to get in early, especially if you plan to visit in July or August. It is a very popular holiday destination for domestic and international visitors alike and will be booked out at times. The Tour de France often visits this area in July and there are other cycling events and tour groups that use Argeles Gazost as a base. I always secured our accommodation by November for stays in the following July.
August is by far the busiest month in Argeles Gazost and my recommendation would be to avoid the month if you have the flexibility. Traditionally, August is when everyone in France takes their summer holidays and the Pyrenees is a very popular destination.
Eating and drinking in Argeles Gazost
One of my favourite things to do after an active day is to sit at one of Argeles Gazost’s outdoor cafés and enjoy a cool drink or coffee while watching the world go by. In the town centre, there are plenty of different cafés to choose from and enjoy surrounded by the mountains. The town centre also has an array of restaurants if you are looking for a nice lunch or evening meal. If you enjoy fine dining, head to the nearby village of Saint-Savin and try Le Viscos, a Michelin-hatted restaurant.
I highly recommend a visit to the local market that is held on a Tuesday morning each week. You will be able to sample some of the fresh local produce and stock up for your stay or simply grab some food for a picnic. The market is held in the town centre from 8 am and you can’t miss it. There are also plenty of shops that offer local cheeses, meats, and other products that are open most days if you can’t make the markets.
There are 4 supermarkets in town if you are self-catering or wish to purchase supplies, the largest of which is the Carrefour market on the eastern side of town. You will also find Aldi, Netto, and Casino supermarkets located in and around the town. As with every Fench town, there are numerous boulangeries located in town to keep you supplied with baguettes and delicious French pastries and treats. While they are all great my favourite is Le Puits d’Amour located a few hundred meters down the road from the Carrefour Market.
When to visit Argeles Gazost
Argeles Gazost is very much a summer destination. As the weather cools and the snow starts appearing on the mountains the town gets much quieter. Many of the hotels and camping grounds close until the spring and some businesses operate on reduced hours. The best time to visit Argeles Gazost is either spring or autumn (fall) when the weather is still mild but the town is not quite as busy. August is by far the busiest month as many French people take their annual summer holidays during the month. Summer can be quite hot with temperatures reaching as high as 38 degrees (100 F) on some days.
Activities and things to do in Argeles Gazost
The range of things to do and see in and around Argeles Gazost is many and varied. Within the town itself, you can visit the Parc Animalier des Pyrénées, a zoo housing a range of animals from the region; relax in the thermal spa, explore the weekly market, swim in the river, or simply take a walk around town and enjoy some shopping or a coffee. Further afield you can visit Lourdes, visit the Pic du Midi, go hiking in the national park and the list goes on. To see what else is available have a look at the Seek Travel Ride Things to Do in the Pyrénées, Things to Do Lourdes, and Day Trips from Lourdes pages. I promise you will not be bored staying in Argeles Gazost.
Cycling is what attracts many visitors to Argeles Gazost from all around the world each year. The town is surrounded by no less than 8 famous Tour de France climbs and the race often passes through or near Argeles Gazost. There is some great cycling to be experienced in and around Argeles Gazost regardless of your ability or age. I have a separate article about Why we think you will love Cycling in the Pyrénées with additional information to show you what you can expect.
The weekly market
A visit to the weekly market is a must-do activity when you visit Argelès-Gazost. You will be able to wander through the many stalls that sell everything from local cheeses to handmade brooms. The markets are held every Tuesday morning from 8 am to 12 pm. Get in early to ensure you do not miss out on the best of what is on offer.
How many days do you need in Argeles Gazost?
There is no easy answer to this question as it really depends on what you want to see and do while you are visiting and how long you have available. Most of our cycling holidays to Argeles Gazost were for 7 nights. This gave us plenty of time to experience the climbs and cycling routes we wanted to and allowed for an easier day. Whether you are coming to experience the cycling the area is famous for, or just as a getaway or family holiday, we recommend at least 7 nights. This will give you plenty of scope to enjoy what is on offer and try a range of different activities.
Amenities and services
While Argeles Gazost is not a large town you will find most things you need while on a holiday. This includes chemists, doctors, dentists, petrol stations, mechanics, outdoor shops, and hardware stores. If there is something you need that you cannot find in Argeles Gazost, Lourdes is only a 15-minute drive away. Lourdes is the closest hospital if the need should arise.
I hope that gives you all the information you need to continue to plan your holiday to Argeles Gazost. If you have any questions please contact me at [email protected] or consider our travel advisor service.