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Focus: South of France: planning the perfect road trip

9 - Walking on sunshine in the French Pyrenees

South of France: planning the perfect road trip © Copyright

The Pyrenees form a natural frontier between France and Spain, and are a popular ski resort in the winter months, when flocks of wealthy Parisians make the trip to show off their latest designer snowsuits. The mountains and surrounding areas are equally impressive in the summer months, when the habitually snowy caps of the jagged mountains finally get to see the light of day. Venturing into the High Pyrenees takes time (about 1h30 by car from the foothills), but if you decide to go for it, you'll be rewarded with spectacular un-spoilt nature at its best. Situated in a beautiful valley at the foot of the giants, Bagnères-de-Luchon is a great base if you don't fancy getting down to nature and camping. The ancient spa town has a lot to offer the travel-weary tourist, although unfortunately this is reflected in the area's sky-high prices. Active types will be spoilt for choice in this natural haven, which boasts stunning hiking and mountain-biking routes, as well as white water rafting, caving and rock-climbing. Find out the full extent of what's on offer, and buy hiking maps in Bagnères-de-Luchon's tourism office. If you'd rather spend your holiday relaxing than getting lost up mountains, visit the town's thermal springs, some of which can be found in stunning caves, and boast all kinds of health benefits.

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