Image courtesy of Alberto-g-rovi / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)
The town of Bagnères de Luchon, nestled deep in the Pyrenees mountains, is a great place to base yourself for a cycling holiday. Used often as a start or finish location for the Tour de France plenty of epic battles have taken place on the surrounding roads. Indeed, in 1910 Bagneres de Luchon was the host town for the start of the very first mountain stage in the Tour de France. Since that day many cyclists from all over the world travel to this famous town in the Pyrenees to sample the cycling on offer in the Luchon area. The information we have put together below will assist you with planning a cycling holiday here.
This area is home to some great climbs including Col de Peyresourde, Superbagnéres, Port de Balés and Col de Menté. We have put together a list of routes to help with your planning. Each route includes the ability to download files to a range of devices and includes other helpful information. All the cycling routes start and finish in Bagnères de Luchon, but can be easily ridden from other villages along the Luchon valley.
The town of Montrejeau is the transport hub for the region and is located 40km from Bagnères de Luchon. The closest airport is Lourdes but Toulouse is within a reasonable distance also and has a greater range of destinations. Rome2rio.com is an excellent site to help plan your trip to the Pyrenees. Simply enter your start and end points and it will tell you the different options available, cost range and timetable.
If you are flying internationally to the Pyrenees both Bordeaux and Toulouse are the closest international airports to this area. Depending on the airline you fly you may have to fly to Paris and then make your way down by car, train or air. There are two airports to choose from in the Pyrenees, one in Lourdes and one in Pau both offering a range of European destinations. From Pau you can connect to Lourdes via train. See our airports page for further details on these airports.
Montrejeau is on the rail line for trains into Toulouse or Lourdes. From both locations you can connect to the TGV network across France. Our page about the French rail network has more information the French train network and booking tickets.
The main Autoroute to the area is the A64 which runs between Toulouse and Bayonne. It is located 41km north of Bagnères de Luchon. From Bagnères de Luchon Toulouse airport is 2hrs 5min, Bordeaux airport 3hrs 45mins and Paris Charles de Gualle airport 8hrs 35mins.
A bus service runs from the train station in Montrejeau to Bagnères de Luchon on a daily basis.
In the table below we have listed accommodation providers who cater specifically for cyclists and are either based in Bagnères de Luchon itself or within the immediate area.. Each provider at a minimum offers secure storage for bicycles and there are also various packages available as well. These may include self guided or guided cycling tours which can be run as part of your stay.
To help you plan we have provided links to a number of booking sites so you can see what is available. Have a look at our page on French accommodation types if you are not sure what is available.
There are no shortage of places to eat and drink in the area and we generally turn to tripadvisor.com to look at options for restaurants and cafés or just take a punt on a place that looks nice and busy and is open and serving food. We have yet to be disappointed.
There are a number of weekly farmers markets in the region that are worth checking out if you have the time. Here you will find lots of fresh fruit and vegetables as well as local cheeses, small goods, seafood and meats. Times for the markets are:
Bagnéres de Luchon – daily
The markets will typically start between 7am and 8am and run through to lunch time or until sold out.
Every region in France has is culinary specialities and the Pyrenees is no different. Some things to try include:
Gâteau à la broche – a spit fired cake traditionally cooked over an open fire.
Brebis cheese – a cheese traditionally made from sheep’s milk. There can be many variations in flavour and texture from village to village so try a few different ones.
Porc Noir de Bigorre – pork meat from the Gascon Noir De Bigorre pigs, the oldest breed of pig in France. It has been granted Appellation d’origine côntrolée (AOC) status meaning only meat from these specific pigs in the Pyrenees can be called Porc Noir de Bigorre.
Barege-Gavarnie Lamb – meat from sheep that roam the high pastures in the mountains it has also been granted AOC status.
Like the south west of France expect to see plenty of duck and goose on the menu including confit and other dishes as well as plenty of fresh local fruit and vegetables.
The table below lists all bike hire options available to you in the Pyrenees. You can sort the table via location to find the one most suitable for you. Be sure to double check that the store you select is not too far from where you are staying.
If you are looking to hire a bike for your cycling holiday we would recommend getting in touch directly with the hire shop and arranging this well in advance of your holiday. This will avoid the disappointment of missing out on a rental due to popular demand.
Another tip is to make sure the bike you hire is equipped with gearing which will allow you to climb the mountains with a greater level of comfort. Most road bikes for hire will now come with compact gearing to allow for this, but it is best to be certain!
Whether you want to spend some time off the bikes or have family members that are not keen cyclists there are plenty of things to do around this area. Included below are some of our suggestions.
People have been travelling to this area to enjoy the many thermal spas for hundreds of years and you will find spas in many of the towns offering a range of treatments and pools. Also a great idea after a hard day on the bike. We have compiled a list of some of the spas you may wish to visit, click on the name to access their web site.
Luchon Les Thermes – Bagneres de Luchon
Luchon Form & Bien Étre – Bagneres de Luchon
Located 12km from Bagneres de Luchon in Spain is the Aran Park where you will see bears, lynx, wolves, marmots, deer and otters.
There are plenty of things to do and see in and around town here. The Luchon tourist web sites lists 10 natural sites to visit ranging from waterfalls, to mountain lakes and refuges. The ski station of Superbagnères offers a range of summer activities and is the starting point for hikes and walks.
As you can see there is no shortage of other activities in the mountains for your consideration also. Whether it be mountain biking, paragliding, white water rafting or rock climbing there is plenty to see and do.
We have included some useful web sites to help you see what is on offer and plan your trip.
Viator.com – book a range of tours and attractions before you leave home
Luchon tourism site – the official tourist site for the town.
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