By Chris Smith

Thursday 5th March 2018

Bagnères-de-Luchon, Haute-Garonne, France


 

Like many of the towns that dot around this part of the Pyrenees, Bagnères-de-Luchon was built on the site of thermal springs, with the town growing as travellers came to bathe in its waters. Just 90 minutes from Toulouse and its well-connected airport, Luchon is a great place to base your cycling holiday in the Pyrenees.


Where to Ride?

Heading in any direction from Bagnères-de-Luchon and you’re faced with some of the great climbs frequently featured in the Tour de France. In one direction you have the Col de Peyresourde and Port de Balès, in the other you can climb the beautiful Superbagnères. Its position doesn’t leave much flat riding, but the climbs are spectacular and the roads quiet.

Where to Stay?

There are a number of bike-friendly hotels to stay in for your visit to Bagnères-de-Luchon.

Where to Eat?

Bagnères-de-Luchon has a wide range of restaurants available, but almost universally French and of the region. The area is strong on game and local mushrooms as well as its local cow and goats cheeses.

What to do, other than ride?

Bagnères-de-Luchon is a family-friendly town, with tennis courts and swimming pools. There are plenty of hiking trails as well as a cable car to Superbagnères.

What Climb not to miss?

Though overshadowed by its more celebrated and feared neighbours, the Aubisque and the Tourmalet, Col de Peyresourde, 1,569 m, is not to be taken lightly. The gradient is irregular, wind gusts, particularly in the open sections after Garin on the eastern side, can be powerful and temperatures can soar under clear skies in high summer.

What you didn't know about Bagnères-de-Luchon?

The playwright Edmond Rostand spent 22 summers in Luchon in his youth where he composed Les Musardises. In Cyrano de Bergerac, Act IV, Scene VI, the author was inspired by the place names in the Luchon Valley, among others, to name his Gascon cadets: there is one called a "Knight of Antignac-Juzet".

 

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