Crossing the Pyrenees
Southern France & Northern Spain
Essentials of Crossing the Pyrenees:
The Pyrenees mountain range comprises a remote and fascinating region of Europe and has always been a magical realm apart - a source of legend, superstition and myth. Protected within its valleys lie the last vestiges of numerous ancient cultures and one of the last strongholds of a genuinely-preserved untamed natural environment
Cycling from the surf-pounded Atlantic coast to the balmy beaches of the Mediterranean, our route traverses the breathtaking natural border between France and Spain and winds through its green, cultivated foothills. There's nothing like admiring the lush meadowland, ice-clad peaks, bare rock-canyons, eroded limestone pinnacles, and dense forests of the Pyrenees on two wheels.
Cuisine: Centuries of the history played out in this area have left behind a very diverse and sumptuous cuisine. Basque food is recognized as Spain's finest and garners respect even in France. Seafood-platters, fish stews, paella, and mountain cheeses are typical examples of the regional specialties. Clear-water streams are brimming with trout and salmon and the deer, pigs, quail, ducks, and geese of the mountains add to the bounty. A wide variety of wines can be enjoyed, including renowned vintages of Bordeaux, appellations from Languedoc, as well as Spanish wines, such as Rioja, traditionally served from large barrels.
Highlights: St. Jean de Luz, Oloron St. Marie (known for the manufacture of the traditional French beret), Lourdes, Luz St. Sauveur, Cirque de Gavarnie, Col du Tourmalet, Bagneres de Luchon, Arties and the Valley of Aran, La Seu D'Urgell, Puigcerda, Quillan.