Col du Tourmalet, Col du Soulor, Col de Peyresourde and more : keen cyclists come from far afield to experience the Tour de France's mountain passes in the Pyrenees. Road-bike tourism is a real speciality in Occitania. Want to give it a go? Have you considered an e-bike ?
Tackle the Tour de France's famous mountain passes with a team or solo. One that always appears on any cyclist's bucket list is Col du Tourmalet followed by a thrilling descent into Barèges Valley or Campan Valley (depending which way up you go).
Half-day ride, full-day trek or more: whatever you choose, the ascents and descents are always different and the ever-changing views are always spectacular. The mountain isn't just for champions. With a little training, experienced cyclists can take it on.
Ride up then wind down. Countless spa resorts in the Pyrenees have opened spas and treatment centres where you can unwind in settings that are worth the detour. Natural hot springs, bubble beds, massage jets, saunas, hammams and relaxing or invigorating treatments will ease those sore muscles away.
Visit Aquensis in Bagnère-de-Bigorre, Bains du Rocher in Cauterets, Balnéa in the Louron Valley (between Col de Peyresourde and Col de Val Louron!), Jardin des Bains in Argelès-Gazost, Luzéa in Luz Saint-Saveur, Ciéléo in Barèges (at the bottom of Col du Tourmalet) and Bains du Couloubret in Ax-les-Thermes in Ariège.
E-bikes have made it easier for people to tackle the Pyrenean mountain passes and experience the beautiful mountain bike paths. Most bike hire shops in the Hautes-Pyrénées and Ariège provide e-bikes and e-mountain bikes.
Every year the Pyrenees play host to events that stand out for the now legendary social atmosphere in the villages they ride through.
Leading the pack is the Tour de France which takes in much of Occitania every year. Other events like the Ronde de l’Isard race in Ariège (in May) and festivals like the extraordinary Montée du Géant du Tourmalet in the Hautes-Pyrénées (in June) are part of the region's sporting calendar : whether you're spectating or cycling, don't miss these fantastic sports events.
Outside the Pyrenees, Aveyron and Tarn are just some of the rolling and exciting places for you to train on mountains and valleys. Experience it for yourself and tour Aveyron's most beautiful villages on a 700km route.
Another recommended route : Les Routes de Laurent Jalabert (79km) in Tarn, a road bike route designed by Laurent Jalabert himself through the Montagne Noire.