The Hautes Pyrenees region of France has a superb network of minor roads and minimal traffic outside the towns and off the major routes. The range of landscapes is immense from leafy and domestic to glacier-topped high mountains. The routes that you will have access to from La Joie de Vivre are unashamedly rural, and will not only offer you rides from easy to strenuous but will also introduce you to some of the immense variety of the areas landscape and its people.
For those who would like to venture out further, the nearby Pyrenees are truly a road cyclists dream, offering low-level rides through sleepy traditional villages on almost traffic-free roads and climbs winding their way up the mountain sides, to Tour de France-famous cols giving you never-ending, spectacular scenery.
Col du Tourmalet
1 hr drive
Possibly one of the most famous climbs in all of France, the Col Du Tourmalet is the highest of the French Pyrenean road cols and features frequently on the route of the Tour de France. The road over the Col du Tourmalet presents two very distinct aspects: the Eastern approach, with it’s early wooded sections and it’s spectacular open views, and the Western approach, which is much wilder, with deep rocky ravines and reputedly the fastest descent in the whole of France.
1hr 15 min drive
Local knowledge means that instead of you taking the main route to the top of this most famous of climbs, we will direct you via the ‘ Hourquette d’Ancizan‘. One of the lesser known central Pyrenean cols, it is a little higher than the Aspin and combines a whole variety of aspects. Climbing the side of a glacial valley through mixed forest the road emerges to extensive views backwards towards the peaks on the Spanish border. The descent is through broad meadows and the shade of Beechwood with the clamour of cowbells ringing in your ears.
For those guests that would like to bring their mountain bikes, we can access many heart-stopping descents and some heart thumping climbs following old shepherds’ roads, challenging single-track and twisting forestry trails.