Falaise aux Vautours

Parc National des Pyrénées

The griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus) was once a familiar sight over the Pyrenees, but habitat loss and hunting have taken their toll on these strange, majestic birds. Now legally protected, over 100 nesting pairs roost around the limestone cliffs of this 82-hectare reserve. It’s a thrill watching them swoop and wheel from their nests above the valley, and strategically placed CCTV cameras allow you to see inside their nests from the visitor centre.

Keep an eye out for the other species, including the Egyptian vulture, now confined to just a few small areas of the Alps.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Parc National des Pyrénées attractions

1. Bielle

1.49 MILES

The former ‘capital’ of the valley, Bielle is a beautiful village with many fine 15th- and 16th-century houses, linked together via a guided walk.

2. Castet

2.31 MILES

Perched precariously on a glacial outcrop, this hilltop village boasts a 12th-century keep and a truly magnificent valley view. From the belvédère …

3. Eaux-Bonnes

4.59 MILES

During the 19th century, the small village of Eaux-Bonnes (literally, Good Waters) flourished as a spa resort thanks to its geothermal hot springs, which…

4. Rébénacq

8.56 MILES

Rébénacq is one of the few bastides (fortified towns) of the Pyrenees, built in 1347 by a lieutenant of Gaston Fébus, the 11th Count of Foix. Like all…

5. Les Fermiers Basco-Béarnais

10.23 MILES

At this farmers’ co-op and fromagerie (cheese shop), you can sample cheese made from the milk of local ewes, goats and cows.

6. Fort du Portalet

12.57 MILES

Built on the right bank of the Gave d'Aspe, this imposing fortress was built in the mid-19th century to protect the border from a possible Spanish…

7. Grottes de Bétharram

12.69 MILES

Grottes de Bétharram is a network of subterranean caverns that has been carved out from the limestone, glittering with impressive formations of…

8. Parc Animalier des Pyrénées

16.38 MILES

Around 12km south of Lourdes, off the D821 near Argelès-Gazost, this fantastic animal park is home to many species that were once commonly sighted across…