Gascony & the Pyrenees
with Toulouseby Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls
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.
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 can go on a donkey-backl. 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
PART ONE GENERAL INFORMATION
Chapter 1 Background Information
Geography, Climate, Natural history and conservation, History , Government and politics, Economy, People and culture, Sports and activities
Chapter 2 Practical Information
When to visit, Highlights, Suggested itineraries, Tourist information, Tour operators, Red tape, Getting there and away, Health and safety, Women travellers, LGBTQIA+ travellers, Travelling with a disability, Travelling with kids, What to take, Money and budgeting, Getting around, Accommodation, Eating and drinking, Public holidays and festivals, Shopping, Arts and entertainment, Outdoor activities,
Media and communications, Travelling positively
PART TWO 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, Saint-Sever and the Chalosse, Dax, The southern Côte d’Argent, Capbreton-Hossegor
Chapter 4 The Gers
Auch Eauze and Armagnac country, Condom and around, Lectoure and around, East of Auch, South of Auch: the Astarac
Chapter 5 The Pays Basque
Basque cultur, Getting there and away, Getting around, Bayonne, Biarritz, Saint-Jean-de-Luz and the Côte Basqu, The Labourd interior: around La Rhune, The valley of the Nive, Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, The
Chapter 6 Béarn
Salies-de-Bearn and the Gave de Pau, Orthez, Pau, North of Pau: the Vic-Bilh, Oloron-Sainte-Marie and around, The Vallee d’Ossau
Chapter 7 The Hautes-Pyrénées
Lourdes, Tarbes, The Lavedan Valleys, To the Cirque de Gavarnie and around, Bagneres, the Pic du Midi and the Baronnies, The Lannemezan Plateau, The Vallee d’Aure and Vallee du Louron, The Comminges: Montrejeau
to Saint-Beat, The Upper Comminges: Bagneresde-Luchon, Saint-Gaudens and the Petites Pyrenees
Chapter 8 The Ariège and Andorr
The western Ariege: the Couserans, East of Saint-Girons and the lower Ariege, Foix, East of Foix: Montsegur and Mirepoix, Tarascon-sur-Ariege, Up the Ariege: Ax-les-Thermes and around, Andorra
Chapter 9 Roussillon: the Pyrénées-Orientale
Perpignan Northern Roussillon, Down the coast from Perpignan, Collioure and the Cote Vermeille, Up the Conflent Valley, The Cerdagne, The Vallespir
Chapter 10 Toulouse
History, Getting there and away, Orientation, Getting around, Tourist information, Where to stay, Where to eat
and drink, Entertainment and nightlife Shopping, Sports and activities Other practicalities, What to see and do
Appendix 1 Language
Appendix 2 Glossary
Appendix 3 Further Information