Cauterets-Pont d’Espagne, a spectacle of nature
Prepare to live through emotions that only nature can arouse. Near Cauterets in the Hautes-Pyrénées, le Pont d’Espagne and its waterfalls contain all the strength and romanticism of the Pyrenean mountains. This exceptional site is, moreover, one of the most accessible in the Pyrenees National Park.
Head for Cauterets in the Haute-Pyrénées department: a small, charming, lively mountain village, renowned for its thermal baths, its ski resorts and its delicious "Berlingot" sweets.
In the fifties, Cauterets refused the use of its valleys’ lakes for the production of hydro-electric power. Since then, in the mountains that overlook the town, the water flows freely. It bounds through the pines in a succession of waterfalls and potholes hollowed in the rock by the water. A spectacle you will admire on the road to Pont d’Espagne, particularly while stopping in front of the Lutour and Ceriset waterfalls.
By car or on foot, following the waterfall path, you will soon arrive at the site itself of Pont d’Espagne, gateway to the Pyrenees National Park. This park, the oldest of France’s national parks, was established in 1967. It extends for more than 100 km from east to west. It includes six high valleys that border Spain, and has an exceptional biodiversity.
Le Pont d’Espagne, with the Gaube lake higher up, is among the most prized sites of the Pyrenees National Park.In summer as in winter, meditation, walking and hiking, cross-country skiing, snow-shoeing or tobogganing will delight young and old alike. To make it accessible to all, this site was laid out to respect the environment: car park, reception building, shuttles, hostels, etc.
A marked path will take you to a footbridge, where you can admire the famous Pont d’Espagne, arched above gorges where foaming torrents flow. You may then take the Gaube chair lift that will take you quietly to the lake.
During a short 15-minute walk on the level, you will see the lake appear in all the splendour of its crystalline waters. On its bank is the old hostelry where travellers stopped in the 19th century. Celebrated by French romantics and by Victor Hugo, the Gaube lake is dominated by the impressive silhouette of the Vignemale. At 3,298 metres, it is the highest summit in the French Pyrenees.
Keys to discovery
Le Pont d’Espagne is a site worth a stop. A whole day should be planned to take in the majesty and diversity of its viewpoints, including pine forests, waterfalls, high-altitude meadows, lakes and summits.
In winter, on foot or snow shoes, you will be enthralled by the magical frozen waterfalls. Enjoy a stop at the Meillon monument to overlook the trails and the leisure space of the Pont d’Espagne.
The Pyrenees National Park, established in 1967, is the oldest and most visited of France’s nine national parks. Prepare yourself for an exceptional territory where everyone must observe the park’s regulations and rules of conduct.
Take advantage of your stay by spending an afternoon at the Cauterets thermal baths. There you will experience the pleasures of the thermal waters and the personal treatments offered in this area dedicated to relaxation and wellbeing.