Pic du Midi

Top choice viewpoint in Vallée des Gaves

Image by Alex Havret Getty Images

If the Pyrenees has a mustn’t-miss view, it’s the one from the Pic du Midi de Bigorre (2877m). Once accessible only to mountaineers, since 1878 the Pic du Midi has been home to an important observatory, and on a clear day the sky-top mountain views are out of this world. A cable car climbs to the summit from the nearby ski resort of La Mongie (1800m). Early morning and late evenings generally get the clearest skies and smallest crowds.

At the top, there are several viewing terraces, all offering a different perspective on the serrated mountain landscape. There’s also a museum that gives an overview of the observatory and its development over the years. When hunger strikes, you can grab a snack at the sandwich shop or linger over a meal at the restaurant (menus €30 to €36).

If you’re visiting in the low season, check the website for closures due to bad weather or periodic closures. In summer, if you’re travelling from the western valleys via the Col du Tourmalet, double-check the road is open before you set out – it’s usually closed between November and May.