If you are looking for a ski resort with stunning scenery and without big crowds, Les Espécières (Gavarnie/Gedre) is the perfect place to go. Located in the Argelès Gazost Arrondissement, Les Espécières enjoys an idyllic setting within the Parc National des Pyrénées. The scenery and wildlife of the national park are so special that it has been designated as a UNESCO world heritage site.
At Les Espécières, the pistes range from challenging to suitable for beginners, so there’s something for all abilities. This makes it an ideal ski destination for families and large groups with varying levels of experience. In all, there are over 33km of slopes for skiers and snowboarders to explore in the resort. There are five black runs, eight red, eight blue and seven green, including the longest green run in the Pyrenees. The resort has nine ski lifts, including quad chairs and surface lifts.
The highest summit is 2,400m above sea level, while the highest piste reaches 2,322m. The mountain base and resort are located at 1,850m. The ski season in Les Espécières runs from mid-December to March, and sometimes into April. Ski lifts usually operate between 09.00 – 17.00, but this can change depending on weather conditions.
Living in Les Espécières
Les Espécières (Gavarnie/Gedre) is an ideal place to live if you enjoy outdoor activities and a relaxed pace of life. Living in Les Espécières, you have the opportunity to go skiing or snowboarding for around five months of the year.
July and August are the warmest months in this area of France, while the coldest month is usually December. Rainfall is at its highest in May, whereas July is the driest month of the year. There are over 1,950 hours of sunshine per year on average in this area, and the average temperature is 17.6°C, rising to 25°C in the summer. Take a look at our Les Espécières resort guide here for updated snow and weather report.
Things To Do in Les Espécières
Both during and outside the ski season, the area around Gavarnie Gedre attracts many hikers. It is perhaps best known for the Cirque de Gavarnie, which includes the famous Brèche de Roland – or Roland’s Breach. This striking feature consists of a dramatic gap in the cliffs of the Pyrenees between France and Spain. Another landmark of note in the Cirque de Gavarnie is the Gavarnie Falls – the highest waterfall to be found in mainland France.
The Pyrenees National Park is also teeming with wildlife, and you may be lucky enough to spot some of the more unusual species living in this area, such as marmots, chamois and eagles.
Just an hour’s drive from Les Espécières lies the pilgrimage town of Lourdes. It is famous for its Catholic shrine and the apparitions experienced there in the 19th century by a peasant girl, Bernadette Soubirous. Today, the small town attracts over six million visitors every year, and is one of the country’s top tourist destinations, second only to Paris. Not to mention that there is plenty of opportunity for cycling in the area. Alternatively, you can take it easy and watch others doing the hard work as the Tour de France passes through the Hautes-Pyrénées every year.
Transport to Les Espécières
The airports closest to Les Espécières are Lourdes Airport (50km) and Pau Airport (80km). You can reach Pau from many regional airports in the UK, but your journey will usually involve one stop, for example changing to another flight in Paris. An easier option may be to fly to Toulouse Airport, which is around 2 hours 45 minutes’ drive from Les Espécières. There are regular direct flights to Toulouse from many international airports.