French Pyrenees in April

Discussion in 'Continental Touring' started by barryd, Mar 27, 2010.

  1. barryd

    barryd Read Only Funster

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    Hi All

    We are hoping to visit the French side of the Pyrenees on our way from Perpignan area to Biarittz.

    Mrs D wants to go on a cable car and I found this one

    http://www.picdumidi.com/

    Which is here

    Régie du Pic du Midi
    Rue Pierre Lamy de la Chapelle
    65 200 THE MONGIE

    at La Mongie 42.909414 0.178963

    Now its shut until the 18th April which could tie in with our plans.

    I was thinking of heading to La Mongie, doing the cable car and then heading off up the D918 towards the aire at Cauterets.

    These look like some big hills so here are my questions.

    What will the weather be like mid April in this region? Should we expect snow?

    Is it wise to take a MH over this route?

    Are there any other spectacular cable car journies to by had in the region.

    Been google mapping and earthing it all morning and it looks stunning
     
  2. dragabed

    dragabed Read Only Funster

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    http://www.motorhomefun.co.uk/continental-touring/22092-french-pyrenees-april.html#po

    we did the same trip last year but coming along from nimes to perpengian and stayed on the aire in beatiful sunshine nice village good walking country cold when the sun went down.the only snow we encountered was in andora la ville,and that wasnt much although we did see some skiers on the tops but it differs from year to year and you must consult local weather forcasts we use the french met office site. as we are not leaving england till 21/04 this year we are wishing and hoping for sunshine all the way down which will be via the west coast the opposite way to yourselves have a good journey and i hope the snow has all melted
    dragabed
     
  3. barryd

    barryd Read Only Funster

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    Thanks for that, I have just been watching some clips of the cable car ride and it looks awesome.

    [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0jzmOdWDpqE[/ame]

    Its closed for maintenance and should be open on the 18th April.

    I guess its going to be a case of turning up in the Loredes area and checking the weather. No point in going up if its rotten.

    Cheers
    Barry
     
  4. yodeli

    yodeli Funster Life Member

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    Hi Barryd

    Been there some 30 years ago for my honey moon and still remember the place as stunning! the "Hautes Pyrénées" are probably one of the most beautiful place for those who like mountains.
    Don't have the kind of infos you're looking for since i've not been there since; but i can only warn you about the way you'll have to drive on the "col du Tourmalet" if you have to go to the Pic du Midi with MH! This is one of the worst place for your car/MH brakes. So if you've never been so hight don't forget to use only engine brakes or you'll find yourself without any brake at all when going down!!! Didn't know myself nor my so new husband when we honey moon there and it happened to us! NO MORE BRAKE! so scary. After one hour waiting it all came back to normal pfffffff!
    In any case hope you'll have a nice time!

    Amicalement


    Frankie:Smile:
     
  5. barryd

    barryd Read Only Funster

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    Thanks Frankie. It looks a bit severe I think. I reckon I will take the motorhome as far as La Mongie to the cable car and then go back towards Lourdes and then back into Cauterets.

    I lost my brakes on the Simplon Pass from Italy into Switzerland last summer and its not funny!

    Regards
    BArry
     
  6. billym

    billym Read Only Funster

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    The D 918 from Campan ( east ) is long and steep but easy. Once you get to the top ( col de tourmalet ) it is seriously downhill and bendy. I would not do it in a motorhome but some do.
    There is absoluely no way I would take a motorhome up from that side ( west )

    What weight is your motorhome ? There is bound to be a limit on there. We went up there in a car and tent for the Tour de France.

    Never been to the aire at Cauterets.
     
  7. barryd

    barryd Read Only Funster

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    Hi. Thanks for the info. The van is 3460KG. Im a bit confused with your info. If we came from Lourdes direction heading west to east to La Mongie are you saying its too steep? or is it after La Mongie?

    Cheers
    Barry
     
  8. billym

    billym Read Only Funster

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    the D 935 onto the D 918 from the direction Bagneres di Bigorre, Beaudean and Campan is fine. All the coaches go that way to La Mongie.

    Form the caravan club book..

    .....gradient 1 in 8 . Usually closed Oct to mid June

    Min road width 4m . The highest French Pyrenean route. apporaches good, though winding and exacting over summit. sufficiently guarded. Not rec for caravans.....


    Approaching La Mongie from the direction of Luz-St Sauveur in my opinion would not do your motorhome much good as it is long and seriously steep in places

    http://www.viamichelin.co.uk/web/mapPerformPage?strAddress=D935&strLocation=Campan&strCP=65710&strCountry=1424&mapId=-.9in2fqjkxjy6
     
  9. barryd

    barryd Read Only Funster

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    Brilliant thanks. Its hard to get a true idea from the maps, presumably the route the coaches use should be ok but are you saying its closed until June?

    Regards
    Barry
     
  10. billym

    billym Read Only Funster

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    I have just quoted the Caravan Club book but from that I would assume that the closed bit

    does not refer to the road to La Mongie from Bagneres di Bigorre as that is the main road

    to the ski centre. I would guess that further on from that ( the 2 or so miles further on to the

    top and over the other side ) may be the problem with snow. I can see no reson at all that

    they would bother to try to keep the road clear as nobody in their right mind would go that

    way in dodgey conditions.

    It is very nearly 7000 feet high .
     
  11. PenelopePitstop

    PenelopePitstop Funster Life Member

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    Location:
    Royston Vasey and beyond!
    Don't know about time of year etc etc but take a look at the following:-

    Petit train D'Artouste - cable car and train ride up high in the mountains! :thumb::thumb:

    Lac D'Estaing - just a gorgeous place - lake and mountains - camp site at end of valley - heavenly!! :thumb::thumb:

    Cauterets and Pont D'espagne - we went there by bus from Lourdes! Camped at Camping du Loup -walk into town to railway station then bus to Cauterets then another bus to Pont D'Espagne. Awesome day! :thumb::thumb:

    Pau is great too!

    Gavarnie is fab - Cirque du Gavarnie - enormous waterfall - drive through village towards Cirque and over rickety bridge you find the campsite - we could see the waterfall from our van! :thumb::thumb:

    Further west try the campsite at Navarrenx - can't remember it's name - run by Richard and Wendy Curtis - great couple and fabulous little town!

    If you go onto my Flickr page and look at the set for France 2006 the photos are there!:Smile:

    The French Pyrenees are fantastic! Wish they were warm in the winter!!!:Rofl1::Rofl1:
     
  12. barryd

    barryd Read Only Funster

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    Thanks everyone.

    Cauterets and Gavarnie are already on the list but from the advice on here I will be going to La Mongie and then back around the main road to the other places.

    I will check out the other places you mention, thanks.

    What is the main road to Cauterets and Gavarnie like and do you have any idea what kind of weather to expect mid April? Are we talking shorts and T Shirts or thermals!

    REgards
    Barry
     
  13. TDH

    TDH Funster

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    I'd take both! It's so unpredictable really - it could be roasting, there's a good chance there'll be snow.

    Last year we took the D613, Route des Cols from Quillon to Ax les Thermes - spectacular views and good wild camping at Col du Pradel.

    Bon voyage!
     
  14. yodeli

    yodeli Funster Life Member

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    Yep it's exactly what i would have said! Take both!!!!

    And have you ever tried the route from Estagel (near Perpignan) through Saint Paul de fenouillet to Quillan ? I'd like to know if someone has succeeded going through that route with a motorhome, as it's a single lane most of the time:Eeek::Eeek: 2 cars meeting there means one will go backwards up to the last security park place:Eek!:(there's one every 3 or 4 bends)


    Amicalement


    Frankie:Smile:
     
  15. barryd

    barryd Read Only Funster

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    Thanks all

    I wont be going down some of the narrow steep roads. They sound a bit scary. Ill go the long way around and if it starts looking bad, get the bike off and use that!
     
  16. TDH

    TDH Funster

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    Yes, that's the road we took last summer from Perpignan to Axat. It was a bit of a pain but The Rosabella is only a titch so we didn't have too much of a trauma, although there were a couple of overhangs that made us duck.

    Climbing looked good incidentally - some high Es I reckon!
     
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