Bordering Pyrenees National Park, Cauterets is a spa town and ski resort in south-west France. It provides an idyllic setting for hiking and wildlife spotting in the warmer months before snowfall transforms it into an enviable destination for winter pursuits.
Things to do in Cauterets
Spanning the Gave de Marcadau is the Pont d’Espagne, a charming stone bridge that serves at the gateway to Pyrenees National Park. Peer down at the rushing water below, then ride the chairlift that ascends to the Lac de Gaube. Shaped like an egg at the foot of the Vignemale, this scenic lake is the starting point for several hiking trails and is located on the long-distance GR10.
If you’re visiting in the winter months, you can hit the slopes of the Station de Ski Cauterets-Le Lys, a family-friendly ski area with a kid’s club and a sledding track. Snowboarders can test their skills in the freestyle park while experienced skiers can take advantage of the steep downhill trails. When it’s time to eat, you can enjoy the cosy atmosphere at Le Lys Cafe or dine on sandwiches and burgers at Le Grum.
A short drive north of Cauterets will take you to Pyrenees Animal Park, which was created by Serge Mounard on his dairy farm to showcase regional animals. Begin your visit at the 19th-century stable museum, then enjoy wildlife spotting on the surrounding trails. In addition to brown bears, marmots and deers, the park’s semi-wild landscapes are home to lynx, ibex and European otters.
Getting around Cauterets
Cauterets is around an hour’s drive from Tarbes and 2.5 hours from Toulouse. Tarbes–Lourdes–Pyrenees Airport is 45 minutes away and has flights to destinations across Europe. Buses travel to Cauterets and the town is compact enough to explore on foot.