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Neste-Barousse

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Neste-Barousse
Fact Box
A major 2007 Tour de France stage
Port de Balès (19.5 km at 6.2% gradient)
A first for the Tour

Ideal base for
Thousands of years of History
Prehistoric cave art
Ancient Roman ruins
Inspiring 11th century Cathedral

On the GR78 walking route
Santiago de Compostella trail stretching from Saint Bertrand de Comminges to Lourdes

Cross country skiing at Nistos
From 1600m to 1800m
8 pre-skied trails covering over 50km
1 green, 2 blue, 4 red and 1 black
5km of walking trails
Permanent snowmobile track
Biathlon shooting range 5 blue
Ski kindergarten
High-altitude restaurant
Guided snowshoe hikes

Click links below for
Piste Map
Lift Pass Tariff

Activities In the area
Cycling - Gruelling Port de Balès to leisurely rides
Climbing at Troubat
Fish the local rivers
Try the local walks
Eat cheese at Sost!
Situated on the eastern fringe of the Hautes Pyrenees are the peaceful valleys of Neste and Barousse. Rising up to a peak of 1849m on the Mont d’Aspet this tranquil setting provides 40km of cross-country skiing between 1600m and 1800m. There are 9 marked trails to enjoy and a Ski kindergarten for youngsters. The grown ups get the use of a permanent snowmobile track and there is even a Biathlon shooting range for aspiring Olympians. Marked trails for walkers, a sledge run and guided snowshoe hikes complete the winter activities to enjoy before settling down to a vin chaud at the high altitude restaurant.

The Tour de France enjoyed the delights of the area in 2007, passing through the picturesque village of Mauléon-Barousse on 23rd July before tackling the gruelling 19km ascent to Port de Balès, a first for the tour. This was one of the major tour stages starting at the medieval town of Foix featuring no fewer than five mountain passes including the nearby Col de Peyresourde (9.7 km at 7.8%) before finishing at Loudenvielle.

The area is not unknown to national competition however as Troubat, just kilometres away offers great climbing and has featured as a venue for the French Grand Prix climbing event.

There are numerous local attractions to explore; the Gargas Caves feature a world renowned gallery of prehistoric cave art. Two thousand years of history are on display at Saint Bertrand de Comminges from the Lugdunum roman remains through to the imposing cathedral perched high above the plain. The charming walled village of half timbered houses around the cathedral is well worth a meander before stopping at one of the pavement cafes for a drink or a snack. Head 20 minutes further up the Barousse valley and you will come to the rural village of Sost, a favoured destination for cheese lovers. The local cheese makers sell direct from their premises and are clearly signposted around the village.

The route west along the D938 from Saint Laurent-de-Neste towards Bagnères-de-Bigorre boasts stunning vistas running parallel with the Pyrenees range and provides access to Mauvezin castle and Escaladieu Abbey. The castle has been painstakingly restored and a museum is now housed in the tower. Escaladieu abbey was built around 1140 for Cistercian monks. It soon flourished to become the burial place for the independent counts of Bigorre and was a regular place of worship for pilgrims on the famous Santiago de Compostella route. The abbey also provides an idyllic setting for summer concerts and the castle society present medieval shows recreating life in the castle during the 11th and 12th centuries.
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