Local Area Information

Maison des Fleurs sits in the Baronnies, a small area in the foothills of the French Pyrenees between Bagnères de Bigorre in the west and Lannemezan in the east. It includes some thirty communes with a little less than 2000 inhabitants spread over about 120 km2.

It is an unspoilt, timeless world of tiny villages with simple baroque churches, ancient lime-plastered farms, green pastures, rolling hills clad with dense forests of beech, ash, oak, chestnut and pine, crystal clear streams, waterfalls, and spectacular caves.

Caves and Prehistory

The area is well known for its prehistoric cave dwellings and paintings and for the beautiful mineral formations of its grottos and underground caverns. A few highlights include:

The Gouffre d'Esparros (Esparros Caves) are our closest caves and contains some of France's most extensive and exquisite aragonite formations which are often described as crystal flowers. The caves are protected and still being studied. As visitor numbers are strictly controlled, it is best to book in advance by phone.

The nearby Grotte de Labastide includes three different caves but for protection only two feature in the guided tour of 60–90 minutes. The tour describes daily prehistoric life (of some 15,000 years ago) and includes a light and sound show and demonstrations of cave painting and fire lighting. 

Snow Sports

There is access to seven ski resorts including Saint Lary, Peyragudes and Piau Engaly all easily reachable in under an hour's drive with Saint Lary 25 minutes away. The ski resorts of Andorra are reachable in around a 2 hour drive. In the local ski resorts the queues are short (if any) and runs quiet. The resorts mentioned are of high quality with good and modern lift systems and well prepared slopes. All accommodate skiing, snowboarding and snow shoeing and there is cross country skiing available too.

Golf

The nearest golf course is at Lannemezan with a course that is lined with over 5000 trees and with views of the Pic du Midi and peaks of the Pyrenees. There are also championship courses at Bagnères de Bigorre and Lourdes. All of the courses mentioned are within a 30 minutes drive and are of a very good standard.

Adrenaline Sports

For the more adventurous there are sports such as paragliding, kayaking, river rafting, and climbing nearby against the wonderful back drop of the Pyrenees.

Outdoor Sports

The hiking and walking in the Pyrenees and local area are superb, whatever your ability, with enormous scope for bird and wildlife watching, or foraging for wild berries, nuts and mushrooms. 

Cycling

The highest Tour de France climbs, the Col de Tourmalet and Col d'Aspin in the Pyrenees are close by and a must for all experienced road cyclists. Slightly further north, the landscape softens and flattens into less challenging but nonetheless breathtaking cycling routes. Mountain bike trails abound throughout the Pyrenees, with some gentle and challenging routes accessible directly from the gites.

Spas

For relaxation, there are spas and thermal treatment centres within easy reach, some nestled within local ski resorts for a relaxing apres-ski spa and massage.

Places to Visit

There are many places to visit but some of particular interest include the Chateau de Mauvezin, the Abbey at Escaladieu and the Chateau de Lourdes. For stunning views, a cable car trip to the top of the Pic du Midi is spectacular, with the option of dinner and stargazing in the summer evenings.

Markets

Local markets take place every day of the week, one of the closest is a weekly food and drink market on a Sunday in La Barthe-De-Neste, and there is a large market every Wednesday in Lannemezan.

Events

The Marciac Jazz festival takes place every year in summer, the Tour de France passes through the Pyrenees for 2 or 3 days in July, the UCI Mountain Bike Cup regularly takes place in Lourdes and Andorra, and various adventure and endurance races take place in both summer and winter across the Pyrenees.

Vineyards

You can visit the vineyard of the most famous wine of the local area, Madiran, or, further north the vineyards of Buzet. Further afield, you could take a day trip to visit the vineyards of Bordeaux.

 

 

 

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Maison des Fleurs
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