Pyrenees Holidays
Late deals Holidays Travel Parking Car-hire Ski gear Ski passes Activities Insurance Walking

Cirque de Gavarnie / Brèche de Roland

email to a friend
Email friend
view a map of Cirque de Gavarnie / Brèche de Roland
Map link
Cirque de Gavarnie / Brèche de Roland Cirque de Gavarnie / Brèche de Roland Gavarnie-Gèdre

This crowning glory of the entire Pyrenees ranks as one of Europe’s most magnificent natural spectacles. It is an inspiring glacial amphitheatre rising 1400 metres from its base and stretching in a near perfect semi-circle for 890m in diameter.

This spectacular example of a cirque also boasts the magnificent Grande Cascade, a breathtaking deluge of water falling 400m to the base and the Brèche de Roland (Roland’s breach), an impressive natural gap measuring 40 metres across and 100 metres high. According to legend the breach was cut by Earl Roland, a nephew of Charlemagne. His sword, named Durandal once belonged to Hector of Troy and was said to be indestructible. To ensure that it would not fall into the hands of the Saracens, Earl Roland attempted to destroy the sword at the Battle of Roncevaux pass. The mighty sword blows cut into the rock creating the breach now seen today. The whole site is justifiably classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The cirque was formed by a hollow in the slope becoming enlarged by freeze-thaw weathering and glacial erosion at the head of the glacier. As the hollow grew, the glacial erosion intensified and debris in the ice would have abraded the surface acting like sand paper as the ice moved down the slope.

There are excellent views of the cirque and the waterfall from Gavarnie village itself and to walk to the cirque is about a 2 hour round trip from Gavarnie. For those with children it is possible to hire a horse or mule in Gavarnie to make the trip less tiring and more fun.

For experienced walkers this is one of the major highlights of the HRP High Pyrenean Walking Route. There is CAF refuge an hour from the Breach allowing an overnight stop and the chance to cross the border into Spain to tackle Mont Perdu at 3355m elevation.

Fact Box

Points of interest : UNESCO World Heritage Site
Awe inspiring glacial amphitheatre
Grande Cascade waterfall
Roland’s breach - a 40m natural gap in the rock

Opening dates : CAF Refuge des Sarradets (2587m)
Staffed from May to September
Weekends in October weather permitting

Guides available : From Gavarnie

Languages :

CAF Refuge des Sarradets : Capacity 57 guests
Reservations tel. +33 (0)559 714598
Refuge tel. +33 (0)683 381324

General Enquiry

Your name
Email address
Confirm email address
Copy to my
email address
Tel No. (incl. international dialing code)
This enquiry will be sent direct to Cirque de Gavarnie / Brèche de Roland

Contact Cirque de Gavarnie / Brèche de Roland:

If you have found useful then please mention us in your enquiry.

Address :65120 Gavarnie
Telephone :