Travel guide to Gascony and the Pyrenees (France). Expert advice and travel information covers hotels, cuisine, art havens, beaches, mountains, hiking, cycling, surfing, wellness therapies and cave art. Features Toulouse, Perpignan, Bayonne, Biarritz, Auch, Mimizan, Dune du Pilat, medieval Catalan villages, Niaux, Le Mas-d’Azil and the Landes.
Size: 135 X 216 mm
Number of pages: 392
About this book
Written by expert travel-writers with more than 40 titles to their name, Bradt’s Gascony & the Pyrenees is the only current English-language guide to the entirety of this fascinating, relatively under-visited and consequently affordable region of southwest France. Offering advice on where to stay and eat with what to do and see, this new guide provides everything you need for an enjoyable, fulfilling visit.
In Gascony, everyone can find their own adventure. Surfers can ride Atlantic waves at Hossegor and Mimizan. Sun-seekers can loll on the Landes’ beaches, then stretch their legs by climbing Europe’s tallest sand dune, the Dune du Pilat. Hikers can trek high into the Pyrenees to gawp at majestic cirques, while those less energetic riding a donkey uphill. Families can bike along numerous backways, while cycling buffs cheer on the professionals during the Pyrenees stage of the Tour de France.
Activity enthusiasts aside, the region will delight anyone who craves a slower-paced holiday in beautiful natural landscapes. Culture buffs can linger in the coastal art havens of Collioure, Port Vendres and Céret, or discover Palaeolithic cave art at Niaux and Le Mas-d’Azil. Pilgrims can follow the path to Lourdes. Fans of the bizarre can visit Salvador Dali’s ‘centre of the universe’ (Perpignan train station) or La Pourcailhade, the pig festival of Tri-sur-Baïse.
Urbanites can enjoy the splendours of Perpignan, Bayonne, Biarritz and Auch, or take it down a notch at medieval Catalan villages. For quirky retail therapy, shopaholics can browse the espadrilles for which Mauléon is famed or the berets synonymous with Oloron-Sainte-Marie. Gourmets will delight in the quality of local cuisine, from cèpe mushrooms and poulet au pot to a flock of duck-based dishes. Cocooned within quiet, natural settings, yoga practitioners can calm mind and body with various wellness therapies.
And whatever floats your boat, everyone can relax in some of the hundreds of personally recommended places to stay – from charming inns and spas to restored medieval stables, and even the astronomers’ dormitories at the Pic du Midi. All conveyed through the intimate expert insights that characterise Bradt’s Gascony & the Pyrenees.
About the Author
Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls (facarospauls.com) have lived in France’s Lot Valley since 1989, and over the decades have uncovered all the ins and outs (and quirks) of the region and wider southwest France. Attending school here, their children have even picked up the local twangy accent and know how to make garlic tourain soup, pommes de terre sarladaises and cassoulet with the best of them. Facaros and Pauls have been to nearly all of the festivals at least once, climbed the Dune de Pilat, and poked around every single Romanesque church at least once. After all these years, what they don’t know about the region isn’t worth knowing. Known as the ‘dynamic duo of travel writing’, Facaros and Pauls have been writing guidebooks since 1977, producing more than 40 titles alongside smartphone apps and numerous newspaper articles. Their oeuvre includes four previous Bradt guides, covering destinations in Italy and Greece.
Additional InformationTable of Contents
Chapter 1 Background Information
At a glance, Geography, Climate, Natural history & conservation, History, Government & politics, Economy, People & culture (inc Religion, Language, Education), Sport
Chapter 2 Practical Information
When to visit, Highlights, Suggested itineraries, Tour operators, Red tape, Embassies, Getting there and away, Health, Safety, Women travellers, Gay & lesbian travellers, Travelling with kids, What to take, Money, Budgeting, Getting around, Accommodation, Eating & drinking, Public holidays & festivals, Shopping, Arts & entertainment, Photography, Media & communications, Cultural etiquette, Travelling positively
PART 2 THE GUIDE
Chapter 3 The Landes
Arcachon and its Bassin, Parc Naturel Régional des Landes de Gascogne, Down the Côte d’Argent, Mont de Marsan, Down the Adour, Dax, The Southern Côte d’Argent, Capbreton and Hossegor
Chapter 4 The Gers
Auch, Éauze and Armagnac, Condom and Country, Lectoure and Around, East of Auch: More Bastides, Castles and Foie Gras, South of Auch: the Astarac
Chapter 5 The Pays Basque
Bayonne, Biarritz, St.-Jean-de-Luz and the Côte Basque, The Labourd Interior: Around La Rhune, The Valley of the Nive, St.-Jean-Pied-de-Port, The Haute Soule
Chapter 6 Béarn
Salies-de-Béarn and the Gave de Pau, Orthez Pau, North of Pau: the Vic-Bilh, Oloron-Ste-Marie, The Vallée d’Ossau
Chapter 7 The High Pyrenees
Lourdes, Tarbes, Parc National des Pyrénées, To the Cirque de Gavarnie and Around, Bagnères, the Pic du Midi,and the Baronnies, The Lannemezan Plateau, The Vallée d’Aure and Vallée de Louron, The Comminges: Montréjeau to St.-Béat, The Upper Comminges: Bagnères-de-Luchon
Chapter 8 The Ariège and Andorra
The Western Ariège: the Couserans, The Valleys of the Couserans, East of St-Girons and the Lower Ariège, Foix, East of Foix: Montségur and Mirepoix, Tarascon-sur-Ariège, Up the Ariège: Ax-les-Thermes and Around, Andorra
Chapter 9 Eastern Pyrenees/Roussillon
Perpignan, Northern Roussillon, Down the Coast from Perpignan, Collioure and the Côte Vermeille, Up the Conflent Valley, The Cerdagne, The Vallespir
Chapter 10 Toulouse
History*, Getting there, Getting around, Tourist information, Orientation*, Where to stay, Where to eat, Entertainment & nightlife, Shopping, Sports & activities, Other practicalities, What to see and do