Where: Luz St Sauveur

When Pyrenean Mountain Tours, our predecessors, chose to make Luz St Sauveur their base for summer activities they did so for two reasons.  First, the setting is quite breath-taking. Above the old slate roofs of Luz, the skyline is one of the most dramatic you could hope for. The town is encircled by mountain peaks so high that, even in the heat of the summer, you can still see traces of snow. Secondly, the town is well positioned for all kinds of summer activities.  Two rivers meet here, one valley leading to Gavarnie with its famous cirque and footpaths to Spain, the other up the winding Tour de France route to Barèges and the Col du Tourmalet.  Luz is half way between Lourdes and Gavarnie, and at the cross roads of Gavarnie and the Pic du Midi de Bigorre, with Cauteret and the Pont d’Espagne easily accessible.  So Luz is the best base from which to see all four Midi-Pyrenees “Grand Sites” in the Haute-Pyrenees department.

Click on the map to see exactly where we are, and where Luz is.

The charming stone villages around Luz are all built on the hillsides above the valley floor which was originally reserved as prime farmland and often flooded (now hydro-electricity dams control the flood waters).  Between villages there is a network of well worn footpaths which make this area a great pleasure for walkers.  Even we have not finished exploring them all.  The GR10 footpath runs past the back of the town on its way between Cauteret and Barèges, and on the longer trip from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean.  The SNCF bus network connects Barèges, Luz St Sauveur, Cauteret and Argelès-Gazost with Lourdes, and a separate bus service connects Luz with Gèdre and Gavarnie, making Luz an excellent car free base.

Luz is also great if you want a less active holiday as there’s plenty to do just in the town. There are several small bars and restaurants, a big, colourful market on Mondays and a popular open air swimming pool. Ten minutes walk away is the linked village of St Sauveur, where you’ll find the Napoleonic thermal baths. It’s not difficult to imagine rich Edwardian women parading these marble corridors in their long skirts, although now its visitors go wrapped in white towelling robes moving from treatment room to treatment room. The baths are open to the public and you can try any number of different ways of taking the waters, from a thermal power shower to an aromatherapy massage in thermal steam.  We recommend the two evening package, but many other options are available, from single treatments to 5 day packages.

Protected by mountains to the east, west and south, and separated from the plain to the north by the Pierrefitte gorge, Luz feels like it is cut off from the outside world even though it is only a 1/2 hour drive from Lourdes.  You can’t find a better place to take a breather from the day to day modern world .