The Pyrénées is full of delightful mountain villages with spectacular settings and you could spend days wandering between them soaking up the atmosphere in street side cafes.

There are a few towns that stand out from the pack – the pilgrimage town of Lourdes is visited by millions of people each year, whilst the Cathar city of Foix has both a spectacular château and a fascinating history.

The purpose built ski resort towns such as La Mongie are best avoided unless you are travelling there to take the cable car to the Pic du Midi de Bigorre. The drive there is dramatic, but these purpose built resorts tend to be more of a blot on the landscape in the summer months!


Description: This Cathar city boasts a superb château atop a rocky outcrop. It’s a steep climb to the château but well worth it for the views.

Location: South of Toulouse via the A66 autoroute.

Website:, Office du Tourisme telephone number: 0033 5 61 65 12 12.

Our recommendations: Visit during the medieval festival in the second week of July or third week of August to enjoy a spectacular show (booking tel no: 0033 5 61 65 03 03) as well as demonstrations of jousting and firework spectaculars.

For the children: Visit the underground river where you can row down Europe’s longest navigable underground river (60m below ground and 1.5km long).

Here’s more information to make the most of your visit to the Pyrenees: