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Forums » France » Another Pleasant Day on Our Pyrenees Road Trip--2014

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billiv

Another Pleasant Day on Our Pyrenees Road Trip--2014

by billiv »

Well, I tried to post this a few days ago, but, as has sometimes happened before, when I hit the "Post" button a message popped up saying the site could not post it at this time, or some such language. I am going to guess it's because I take too much time to post and time out somehow?  And, no, I can't write it elsewhere, copy it, and paste it here.  I've never been able to paste anything on Frommers.com for some unfathomable reason--no problems anywhere else, only here. So, I'll break this up into smaller bits.

This covers our drive from Arette, France (the first stop on our road trip after leaving San Sebastian) to Viscos, France in the Pyrenees National Park (Parc national des Pyrenees). We left Arette heading east on the D918 with our first major goal to get to Viscos via the Col D'Aubsque route. The hotel called some friends in Laruns to make sure the pass was open, and we got a "go."

It was a pretty drive, though not mountainous for most of the route to the vicinity of Laruns. As we turned east towards Col d'Aubisque, we noted the sign showing the pass was open.  We stopped for a bit in the old spa resort town of Eaux-Bonnes--checking out the mardet and enjoying some pleasant pastries and coffee for a short break. The town has a number of old, big deserted hotels that were interesting and a bit sad. But it was a nice stop. Again, the pass signs said open as we headed out of town.

The entire route from Laruns to Gourette was very scenic and enjoyable to drive.  Unfortunately, while we were enroute, there was a big avalanche somewhere up the road, and we were turned back at Gourette. A bit disappointing as I did want to drive that mountainous road, but no disaster as we just headed back to Laruns then north to detour on the D35 east to get to Viscos via Lourdes.

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billiv

RE: Another Pleasant Day on Our Pyrenees Road Trip--2014

by billiv »

On the D35 headed east--it was a Sunday, so with the approach of mid-day we were a bit concerned about finding a place to eat as there were no large cities until Lourdes.  As we reached the main square in the town of Bruges-Capbis-Mifaget, we did see a couple of possible places for lunch, but there wasn't much activity in the vicinity.  The first place we looked into was definitely closed.  So we parked across the square to check out the Cafe Restaurant du Commerce. As I peeked in the door, I saw it was open and there were two tables occupied.

The owner showed to a table--her English was about as good as our French; i.e., not much. However, we did have our handy-dandy "food" translation book.  It was a typical rural French restaurant (based on our limited experience with such places).  The menu was not extensive, but it touched all the bases--beef, veal, pork, chicken, fish, vegetarian. Something that could take care of most people's dietary preferences.

I ordered the veal cutlet, and my spouse got the trout.  Both were very good--not up there with the best restaurants we have experienced in Paris, but very good.  And the price was MUCH less than in Paris.  We could not converse much with the owner, however we were able to find out that Sunday afternoons were generally slow as people usually dined with family on Sunday.  So it was a pleasant, serendipitioius find for us.

On to Lourdes and Viscos in my next chapter--probably will write that one tomorrow.

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billiv

RE: Another Pleasant Day on Our Pyrenees Road Trip--2014

by billiv »

So, after a nice meal at Cafe Restaurant du Commerce, we once more head east towards Lourdes. As we enter the outskirts of the city, we see a line of wheelchairs leaving the sanctuary--apparantly not many miracles today as all of the wheelchairs are occupied. Lourdes is the one city we got lost in. Signage wasn't great, so we had about a 20 minute "tour" of the city as we searched for highway D218 to D13. We've learned over the years to just enjoy the scenery when we get a bit lost--we've never ended up like Charlie on the MTA.

Finally heading south towards Viscos--a nice drive iin the Gave de Pau river valley. Lots of farms and little hamlets.  The further south we drove, the more hilly and mountainous it became.  It was only about 20 miles, but it took us a while because we did travel at our usual gawking spped.  We reached the turn off fo Viscos, and the road up the mountain to this teeny-tiny hamlet turned out to be a one-laner.  Each switchback on the winding road (though narrow, it was paved and well-maintained) had enough room to allow another vehicle to pass, if need be. But in our days there coming and going, we never met another vehicle travelling at the same time we were.

Ah, the interesting Hotel La Grange Aux Marmottes!  A very different and delightful place.  Check it out on the web.  The town of Viscos had a population of 28 or 38--so if you want nightlife, it isn't the place for you.  We didn't want nightlife--we knew that after returning to the hotel each evening after a long day of touring and sightseeing, all we would want is dinner and bed.

Next installment I'll go into our stay at the hotel and our sightseeing in the area.

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