By Chris Smith

Tuesday 13th February 2018

Argelès-Gazost, Hautes-Pyrénées

If you want somewhere to really relax between rides, Argelès-Gazost lies in the heart of the Pyrenees. With flower-covered streets, panoramic terraces looking out across the mountains and fountains dotted all over the town, Argelès-Gazost is a Pyrenean idyll.

Where to Ride?

Argelès-Gazost lies within the “Circle of Death”. While that may not sound like the name of a place you’d like to take a holiday, it takes its name from the tenth stage of the 1910 Tour de France. While the trend in Grand Tours of recent years has been to shorten the stages further and further to try and spark aggressive racing, the stage from Luchon to Bayonne was a long way from those ideas. The monster 312km stage took in the Peyresourde, the Col d’Aspin, hit its highest point at the top of the Tourmalet at 2,098m before the Soulor, Aubisque and the Col d’Osquich. The journalists of L’Auto (the promoters of the early Tour de France and the newspaper whose yellow pages were the inspiration for the famous yellow jersey) dubbed the route from Col de Peyresourde to Col d’Aubisque “The Circle of Death”.

Of course, you don’t have to do the Circle of Death yourself, but within a 15km radius of Argelès-Gazost there are more than 30 categorised climbs including the Tourmalet, Aubisque, Luz Ardiden and the Hautacam. 

Where to Stay?

Argelès-Gazost has plenty of hotels available depending on your price point, including the bike-friendly Hotel au Primrose and L’Arrieulat. Contact us for our personal recommendations.

What to Eat?

Argelès-Gazost has a wide range of restaurants available, but almost universally French and of the region. Des Petits Pois Sont Rouges is a relaxed place to eat in the middle of town.

What to do, other than ride?

Every Tuesday morning there is a farmers’ market which has been running since 1292 – the perfect opportunity to sample some of the great food of the region, including the local cheeses, honey and the local Gabure.

What Climb not to miss?

The Aubisque is the quintessential Pyrenean climb, winding up to 1,473 metres through verdant countryside.


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