In the Hautes-Pyrenees winding mountain roads take you pass pretty farms, lush green fields, and picturesque villages.
Tourism in this beautiful area of the French Pyrenees mostly comes from those seeking excellent outdoor sports, like trekking, cycling, and rafting, as well those who look for relaxing holidays in the numerous gites, health spas and hot springs.
This stunning area of France has numerous natural wonders like caves, canyons and chasms. This area is also home to a big part of theNational Park of the Pyrenees – Parc National des Pyrénées, including the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Cirque de Gavarnie.
Hikers and outdoor enthusiasts flock to this area of the French Pyrenees mountains every year.
In summer, many people also come specifically to this area in order to watch the famous Tour de France, while in winter, tourists come to enjoy the marvellous snow.
The rich heritage of the Hautes-Pyrenees provides for plenty of historical, and even world-famous landmarks.
Culture in this region of the Pyrenees mountains can be found throughout the various valleys in the form of many museums, ancient Abbeys, cathedrals, chateaus, castles and fortified Medieval towns.
The old fortress town of Lourdes is the second biggest city in the department, and also happens to be one of the most important pilgrimage sites in the world, second only to Rome.
This cultural landmark is the area’s most famous destination and attracts over six million tourists every year.
Another big draw to the Pyrenees mountains, and especially to this region of France, is the abundant supply natural of Hot Springs and Thermal Spas.
Some favourite spots amongst French tourists are the village of Cauteretsand the historic spa town of Bagnères-de-Bigorre, which has a modern day spa and natural health and beauty resort named Aquensis.
It goes without saying of course, that gastronomy in the Hautes-Pyrenees, and the rural French Pyrenees in general, is outstanding; not to mention authentic and amazingly, affordable.
Typical dishes to be found on quaint French Pyrenees restaurant menus include dishes like; Duck Confit, Garbure (thick vegetable and bacon soup) Cassoulet (a rich, slow-cooked bean stew) and of course, Foie gras.
Tarbes is the capital of this Pyrenees department, and one of the three ‘Arrondissements’, similar to a city, district, or parish in English.
The other two Arrondissements, or main towns of the Hautes-Pyrénées, are; Argelès-Gazost and Bagnères-de-Bigorre
Other large and popular districts include,Vic-en-Bigorre, Rabastens-de-Bigorre, Maubourguet, and Lannemezan.