Discovery of Lac de Gaube and the Pont d'Espagne, must-see sites in the Pyrenees

Cauterets
Share Discovery of Lac de Gaube and the Pont d'Espagne, must-see sites in the Pyrenees
Discovery of Lac de G ...
Located on the Franco-Spanish border, the Pyrenees National Park deploys combed horizons of mountains, peaks, canyons and sublime valleys. A few kilometers above the town of Cauterets, Lake Gaube is an exceptional site which allows nature lovers to experience the wild summits of the Vignemale massif and its 3,298 meters above sea level. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced walker, you can get there via the famous Pont d'Espagne by a loop walk of 6 kilometers without any particular difficulty. Lovers of hanging lakes and breathtaking landscapes, this hike is for you!

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The Pont d'Espagne, a mythical place classified among the “Great Sites of Occitania”

"Walking is the best medicine for man "said Hippocrates. Nothing like it to clear the mind and discover the fabulous Pyrenean landscapes ! Located 7 km from Cauterets, the Pont d'Espagne site is an essential place to visit during a stay in the Hautes-Pyrénées. Perched at an altitude of 1,500 meters, it owes its popularity to its almost cinematographic setting where all kinds of natural phenomena mingle: a powerful torrent, magnificent waterfalls, lush vegetation and incredible panoramas!

Very easy to access via the D920 from Cauterets (15 minutes by car), the site has a huge paid car park, accessible to all: cars, motorcycles and motorhomes. To park in the Puntas car park, when arriving on site, you must pay the sum of 7 € - up to 12 hours of parking - and 8.50 € for a longer period. The Pont d'Espagne is only a few minutes walk away. As it is one of the most visited sites in the Pyrenees, it is recommended to leave early to avoid the crowds and fully enjoy this spectacular place.


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The Puntas car park seen from the cable car that leads to the Pont d'Espagne, an alternative to the 15-minute walk to get there

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The Pont d'Espagne from the Footbridge

After about ten minutes of walking on a forest path along the Gave de Gaube, we take a footbridge offering a bird's eye view of the Pont d'Espagne. Built in 1886, this stone structure overlooks the canyon from which the torrent flows, bringing together the gaves of Gaube and Gavarnie. Old pastoral road, the name of the Pont d'Espagne evokes the last bridge before the border, on the commercial passage between France and Spain, an important place of exchange of cattle and goods. Prized by the bourgeoisie, curists and the first tourists in the 19th century for its grandiose setting, this mythical place also inspired great literary artists such as Victor Hugo or Charles Baudelaire who came to recharge their batteries. From 1960, the site was taken by storm by mass tourism before being redeveloped to ensure its preservation. We head for the bridge to admire the succession of waterfalls upstream, falling with a bang! The view is breathtaking, the spectacle of nature is striking.


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A magnificent place to admire!

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A stop at the Hôtellerie du Pont d'Espagne to admire the waterfall and the bridge seen from below.

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Head to Lac de Gaube!

Hard to resist the call of the mountains! The Lac de Gaube hike is aimed at lovers of leisurely walking attracted by the picturesque landscapes and the breathtaking views.

Continuing our ascent, we discover the Meillon Monument erected in homage to Alphonse Meillon (1862-1933), a Pyreneanist born in Cauterets. The panorama of the summits and the Pont d'Espagne is worth the detour!

Continuing on the path, we arrive at the Plateau du Clot, a large area where the arrival station of the Puntas cable car is located (paying) which leaves from the car park. From here, two options are available to visitors: either take the Gaube chairlift for 15 minutes if you don't feel like a sport, or continue on foot for about an hour along the river by the GR10 route.


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The hike that leads to Lake Gaube

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The Clot plateau chairlift

Gaube lake: a beautiful amphitheater

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The 15-minute walk to the lake

On arrival at the chairlift, a short 15-minute walk on a flat path leads to Lake Gaube, located at an altitude of 1,725 m. On the edge of the 18 hectare lake, the panorama of the Vignemale rewards all the efforts made. In the distance, the frieze of snow-capped peaks of the highest massif in the French Pyrenees looms and is reflected in the crystal clear waters of the turquoise lake, leaving us in awe. Several glaciers stand out on the voluptuous ridges on the horizon: the Ossoue Glacier, the Petit Vignemale Glacier and the Oulettes Glacier.


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Gaube lake

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The lake river, ideal for cooling off

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The Hôtellerie du lac de Gaube

What a pleasure to stroll along the 2 km of shores of the lake, to have a picnic and to contemplate this dazzling scenery. On site, the terrace of the Hôtellerie du lac de Gaube is a perfect place to cool off and savor typical regional dishes.

If it is impossible to go around the lake, it is however possible to continue hiking in the high mountains, at leisure, to the Oulettes de Gaube refuge located at 2151m. On a positive elevation of 400m, the trail runs along the lake on the left bank until the water inlet of the Gave. Spending the night in the refuge makes it possible to prolong the pleasure and to enjoy the serenity of the place at sunset or at dawn.


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For hiking enthusiasts, other routes can be explored near Lake Gaube, in particular the Lutour valley and Estom lake, the Marcadau valley and the Embarrat lakes, the Arratille lake, the lakes of Cambalès, or the ascent of Vignemale.

How beautiful the mountain is…

Nice hike everyone!


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Did you like this report? Find others on the Toulouse Pyrenees Guide Blog. We are on social networks, find the Facebook page of the Toulouse Pyrénées Guide and the Instagram account @Guidetoulousepyrenees


Report and photos produced by Lesley Williamson for the Toulouse Pyrenees Guide


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