One of the most famous climbs on the Tour de France, Col Du Tourmalet is the highest paved mountain pass in the French Pyrenees. From the village of Sainte-Marie-de-Campan, the road winds its way up to a 2,115-metre-high pass before descending through Bareges and the town of Luz-Saint-Sauveur on the other side.
As you climb Col du Tourmalet, keep an eye on the milestones that indicate the distance to the mountain pass and the average gradient over the following kilometre. Soak up the sweeping views along the way, encompassing the rugged peaks of the Pyrenees and the green valleys carved into their slopes.
Once at the top, follow the trail that leads to the Pic du Midi de Bigorre Observatory, which was established in the late 19th century by the Société Ramond. After learning about its state-of-the-art telescopes, you can ride the cable car down to the ski resort of La Mongie.
The Col du Tourmalet is around an hour’s drive from Tarbes or just over two hours from Toulouse. Tarbes–Lourdes–Pyrénées Airport is an hour away and has seasonal flights to destinations across Europe.