"A bike tour with the legends of the Tour de France" Laruns by kokoryko

Laruns Travel Guide: 18 reviews and 84 photos

South of Aquitaine are the Pyrenées Mountains where I hike or even trek when I have time, but I also bike sometimes and I want to take you with me to one of the legendary places of the Tour de France : the Col d’Aubisque, not very high (1708 m), but a nightmare for so many cyclists, with an average climb of 7% on the last 18 km and with short “ramps” of 12-13%!
I was there on bike last time in April this year (2006), departing from Pau and return back to Pau the same way (not in the “plain”) because the road to the Soulor path was still closed (snow) and could not make a bigger round trip.

Before departure, to see what awaits you, go on the Boulevard des Pyrénées, and look south to the mountains.

Along the road are villages, beautiful landscapes, and other nice places to visit or things worth a detour; I made some detours on my bike, and I show here pictures I took during the biking tour (100 km of which 25 km steep climb) and other pictures I took before or after along this tour. Nice castles are quite common in Bearn.
And, End April, the spring is arriving, and the flowers begin to bloom despite quite cold night temperatures; the blue gentians brighten the roadside and give mood to climb higher. . . .

I was by bike at all the places I show here and I put them in the order you can discover them when leaving Pau, heading for the Col d’Aubisque on the main road (RN 134, then D934). Well, by bike and fine weather it is nice, but it is easily possible to do it by car, preferably in spring or autumn, and even spend a few days in the Ossau Valley and take your time to discover the place. The tarmac road is fine, even by car you can admire the landscape and the view of this mountain is just enchanting.

This page is on Laruns because it is the main village in the Ossau Valley, a small resort, and it is located just before the junction of the roads from Aubisque and Pourtalet, the latter one going to Spain. After this junction, the road begins to climb seriously and on the picture here, you can see there is still snow above the ski resorts by end April.

Ah, finally you arrive on top and pose for a photograph to immortalise this trip; but there are still 50 km to return, downhill, mainly , but luckily, the days are getting longer and I will take my time. . .

I have posted a map showing the bike tour in the general tips; I made (and still will do) other bike day-tours (with detours, ha-ha) in the area (may be I post one day), but they are generally shorter and I am not masochist enough to climb a high pass every time I jump on my bike. Some pictures here are from those tours when the “big” tour was one the same road as some of the smaller tours.

And a last word: last summer in Tadjikistan, I met bikers who travelled through the Pamirs, and they had to climb passes up to 5600m, (from a “base” at 3600-4000m), with heavy bikes, luggage, etc. . . sometimes one pass per day, every day, so I keep modest with my bike tour, very very modest, but I enjoyed!


I recently found one of my pictures somewhere on the web where it has nothing to do.
It arrived there without permission.
My pictures are far from being works of art, but be kind and ask if you want to use.
Unless otherwise marked, I am the author of the pictures.

  • Last visit to Laruns: Apr 2006
  • Intro Updated Jan 19, 2007
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Reviews (18)

Comments (11)

  • iandsmith's Profile Photo
    Jan 15, 2012 at 9:56 PM

    I race pushbikes but I'd never do a trip like this! Being a sprinter I only like it flat. Might see you in April, cheers, Ian

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Nov 17, 2010 at 1:44 PM

    The biking trek must have been very enlightening and to go through so many wonderful villages along the way is a memory to cherish. Your comments and pictures are well done for the reader.

  • nickandchris's Profile Photo
    Oct 4, 2010 at 6:23 AM

    What a journey!! Great report and lovely photos of a beautiful region.

  • janetanne's Profile Photo
    Jan 2, 2008 at 2:25 AM

    I think you know how to live! I envy your days on the ski slopes! What wonderful places and things you have done.

  • TheWanderingCamel's Profile Photo
    Sep 15, 2007 at 6:36 AM

    A terrific tour - great descriptions, charming villages, wine , cheese, wildflowers and always the mountains. Just lovely! leyle

  • unravelau's Profile Photo
    Jun 10, 2007 at 4:11 PM

    Soooooooo wonderful, I did enjoy your bikeride from the comfort of my desk. I was in raptures over the photography and -'and that reminds me how life is beautiful when there are breaks in uniformity.' and comfort in the familiar too. C

  • robertgaz's Profile Photo
    Jun 4, 2007 at 5:01 PM

    Wine and cheese... such perfect partners :~)

  • icunme's Profile Photo
    Mar 21, 2007 at 10:10 AM

    Outstanding tour - I would enjoy those respites in the villages - loved the general photo of Laruns nestled below the mountains - and Sainte Colome is for me! Will return often. Ciao, Carol

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Jan 16, 2007 at 3:01 PM

    "And now the serious biking begins. . . . ." Yes, it really does sound serious (average climb of 7%, ramps of up to 13%), but I'm glad you paused sometimes to take these fine photos. Beautiful landscapes, flowers and villages. A fantastic tour!

  • Jeannette1's Profile Photo
    Jan 8, 2007 at 12:02 PM

    Votre page me donne envie de retourner dans le Bearn. Meilleurs voeux pour 2007! Expat Jeannette

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