Monday, July 25, I was at the door of Atlantic Shop at 8:30 am for the installation of the Eberspächer boiler maintenance kit. Of course, like many repair shops, the customer cannot attend the operation. However, a courtesy car was made available to me. I picked up my vehicle around 4:30 p.m. I took the road immediately to bivouac in Barèges on a parking lot at the entrance and at nightfall.
|Lacanau, Atlantik Shop|
Tuesday, July 26, I left the passable car park to climb the Tourmalet, whose road signs informed travelers that on July 27, the pass was reserved for cyclists and locals. I gently climbed the pass, by car, up to 2115 meters above the clouds with a clear blue sky. Very quickly, below the clouds, on the descent towards Bagnères-de-Bigorre, a cold drizzle fell continuously until the beginning of the afternoon. So the heat wave would be over, oh well! I visited the 12th century Escaladieu Abbey, what remains of it after the Wars of Religion, not much. The church without apse, but an 18th century dome, a few conventual buildings and a very beautiful chapter house. I decided to stay in the parking lot of the abbey, I was not the only one to have this idea.
Wednesday, July 27 I visited the Louron valley which is renowned for its painted churches. Unfortunately that of Jézeau is undergoing restoration work, that of Vielle-Louron is closed, finally that of Mont with its square bell tower is open with its frescoed facade and porch. The interior is entirely covered with paintings dating from 1574. I continued my journey to the Col de Peyragudes at 1543 meters above sea level. I bivouacked on the sloping parking lot.
|Bivouac Col de Peyragudes|
Thursday, July 28 I left the Col de Peyragudes car park at 8:00 a.m. to gently descend to Bagnères-de-Luchon, 18 km. At the pass the weather was sunny and relatively warm. However in the descent of the forest between cliff and precipice the temperature became less lenient. In Bagnères-de-Luchon, I looked in vain for parking in the town centre. I fell back once again on the parking lot of Intermarché. Bingo there are washing machines and dryers for backpackers, but not only.
Friday, July 29 began in downpours for several hours. As you climb up the Oueil Valley, the weather clears up, but the blue sky does not appear. I stopped in Benqué to take a look at the 15th century murals teeming with various colors and patterns. The climb continued up to 1712 meters above sea level at the foot of the Belvedere of Mont Né to descend to Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges. There, I visited the cathedral of Sainte Marie of Romanesque style then of Gothic style. The Romanesque part ends with a rood screen. The choir of canons is a strange wooden construction considered as a church within the church. The Green guide book gives a detailed description. In the plain the basilica of Saint-Just de Valcabrère dates from the 11th and 12th century; the cloister has disappeared under the onslaught of time. The bedside is curious by its hollow architecture. This basilica was partially built with reused materials from a Roman city attested by a block bearing a head of Roman invoice. I bivouacked in a small car park at the foot of the basilica.
Saturday, July 30 after a peaceful night under the protection of Saint-Just in his Romanesque basilica, I headed without haste towards Luchon-Superbagnères ski resort at an altitude of 1759 meters accessible by a bend of about 6 km. The Grand Hotel which dominates the station was built in 1922 in an architecture typical of the 20s marked by strong growth. In this erratic summer, there is a cold drizzle and the ceiling is low. The resort is dismal with the civil works before the ski period; few tourists. I planted my bivouac on the spot.
Sunday July 31 I left in the morning for Bagnères-de-Luchon to stock up on diesel and food; indeed next week I will be on the slopes of the Spanish Pyrenees starting with the Val D’Aran. I bivouacked at the old customs and police station in Fos.
|Superbagnères early morning|