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Sub-prefecture of Hautes-Pyrenees

Population: 7,970 and 18,300 in the 25 communes of Haute-Bigorre

Personalities: Jean Gachassin, Jean-Michel Aguirre, Roland Bertranne (rugby), Franck Adisson and Wilfrid Forgues (two-seater canoe), the Luquet brothers (two-seater canoe), Boris Neveu (kayak), Adrien Théaux (skier), Mathieu Crepel ( snowboard), Sophie Theallet (fashion designer)

Specialties: garbure, Bigorre black pork, Trébons AOP onion, spit cake, pie, Madiran wine (AOC)

Sport: 2,500 licensees, 52 clubs including Amicale laïque de canoe-kayak (ALCK), Stade Bagneres (rugby). Events: Derby du Pic (April, free riding), la Pyreneenne (July), Grand Raid of the Pyrenees (August, ultra trail), Tennis International Bagnères-de-Bigorre (September), Course des Etoiles (October, trail). Cycling club: Avenir Cycliste of Bagnères-de-Bigorre

Economy: 1st spa of the Hautes-Pyrénées. Casino (Tranchant Group). National Botanical Conservatory of the Pyrenees and Midi-Pyrenees. A cluster of small businesses around aeronautics, mechanics and electronics. Tourism.

Festivals: Piano Pic "(July, classical music), Street Arts Weekend (August), Big Bag Festival (September, modern music), Pyrenean Book Fair (October)

Labels: Flower town 3 flowers / Pic du Midi "Grand Site" of Occitanie / Api Cité (1 bee) / Classified tourism resort

Websites / social networks: www.ville-bagneresdebigorre.frwww.haute-bigorre.fr  / www.grand-tourmalet.comwww.pyrenees-trip.comwww.laregion.frwww.tourisme-occitanie.com  / www.facebook.com/villedebagneresdebigorrewww.facebook.com/hautespyreneeswww.instagram.com/hautespyrenees

Piano-Pic: when piano rules in the heart of Pyrenees

In June 1997, Pierre Reach made the news by hauling a piano by helicopter to the summit of the Pic du Midi for a concert at 2,800 metres above sea level. The event launched the double adventure of the György Sebök International Academy and the Piano-Pic Festival, created in 2007. The initiative was born from a common idea by ​​Christophe Baillet and Pierre Reach to set up an international festival of classical music mainly devoted to piano, coupled with an international academy animated by the artists invited to the festival. Since then, nearly 100 students have come from all over Europe to study with piano, violin and cello masters ... Many prestigious artists have passed on their musical knowledge to young students, starting with Gyorgy Sebök who has left his mark on the academy.

The festival, meanwhile, deploys its concerts in the most prestigious sites in the Pyrenees: the Bagneres Temple, the churches of Campan, Gerde, Baudéan and the Abbey of Escaladieu and of course Pic du Midi. The architectural and musical magic creates each year an unforgettable alchemy in the hearts of music lovers.

© Ville de Bagnère-de-Bigorre

A little less frequently visited by the Tour than its namesake of Luchon, the spa town of Bigorre has nonetheless crowned big names like Raphael Geminiani, winner of the first stage held in the city in 1952, or his protégé Jacques Anquetil, eleven years later in 1963. In 1952, "Gem" had won the day after a rest day, as he had previously done in Gap in 1950. The "Grand Rifle" never trained on days off, preferring to spend time with his wife. The method proved effective... The victory of Anquetil was particularly significant for the Norman as it was his first success in a mountain stage, and his first in a bunch stage since 1957!

Subsequently used primarily as a launch-pad for Pyrenean stages, Bagneres-de-Bigorre hosted two more finishes in 2008 and 2013, when Dan Martin won at the expense of Jakob Fuglsang the year of his victory in Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

It was in Bagnères-de-Bigorre that Laurent Fignon set up a centre dedicated to cycling.

Jacques Anquetil : Tour de France 1963 - PAU/BAGNERES DE BIGORRE © PRESSE SPORTS
Dan Martin : Tour de France 2013 - ST GIRONS/BAGNERES DE BIGORRE © PRESSE SPORTS

Grands Thermes
The “Grands Thermes”, in the heart of Bagneres-de-Bigorre, date from the late 19th century and display the typical thermal architecture of the period, using noble material such as the marble of the Pyrenees. Spacious and equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, including three thermal water pools, the establishment is specialised in cures for rheumatology and respiratory problems.

Tour des Jacobins
The Gothic Jacobins tower is a 35-metres-high square belfry in its first two floors, becoming octagonal at the top. It is what remains of the church of the Dominicans destroyed by fire in 1343. The convent and the cloister were demolished in 1793.

St. Vincent church
The 14th century church was built on the site of an older shrine. It is in Gothic style for the West façade while the porch is Renaissance.

Musée des Beaux-Arts Salies
Between the thermal baths and the casino, the museum was created in 1852 thanks to Achille Jubinal, who was the local MP between 1852 and 1870. He donated part of his collection to which were added donations obtained thanks to his friendship with princess Mathilde, the cousin of Emperor Napoleon III and the mistress of Count de Nieuwekerke, who was in charge of the imperial museums. The collection was enriched by the donation of Justin Daleas, a textile tycoon from Toulouse who built the current building and decided to name it after the Salies spring which had cured him. Completed in 1931 from plans by architect Jaussely, the façade is inspired by the International Art Deco exhibition of 1925 in Paris. The last collection was offered in 1938 by Balnche Odin, a famous aquarellist (1865 Troyes - 1957 Bagnères).

Museum and Marble Museum
The collections of the Museum, labelled “Musée de France”, include a huge replica of the Haute Bigorre region and a bat area from which it is possible to watch the bats living under the roof of the building with infrared cameras.  The Marble Museum, set in the old spa of Salut displays a renovated gallery of marble cabins and baths. The collection of Jacques Dubarry de Lassale regroups marble objects from 320 destinations with an emphasis on marble from the Pyrenees.

© Ville de Bagnère-de-Bigorre
© Ville de Bagnère-de-Bigorre
© Ville de Bagnère-de-Bigorre
© DR
© DR
© DR

Black pig of Bigorre

Since September 15, 2017, Bigorre black ham and Bigorre black pork have obtained the protected designation of origin (PDO or AOC). They are now protected throughout Europe.

A group of breeders, artisan pork butchers, supported by technical advisers, collectively took up the challenge of reviving the black pig of Bigorre, who was nearly extinct. In 1981 there were only thirty-four sows and two males left in the Hautes-Pyrénées. The last purebred pigs thus persisted, in their natural and historical cradle at the foot of the central Pyrenees where their trace has been attested since time immemorial. Too fat, too slow, unsuited to the conditions of intensive farming and the standards of industrial consumption, it did not correspond to the dominant economic model. Today, after more than thirty years of efforts and resistance to its planned disappearance, the black pork of Bigorre finds an emblematic place in its soil of origin.

© CC BY-SA 4.0 / International
© DR
Championnat de France : Roland Bertranne 1979 © PRESSE SPORTS
Adisson et Wilfrid Forgues - JO 1996 © Presse Sports / De Martignac
Boris Neveu : SLALOM K1 HOMMES 2018 © Presse Sports / F.Faugère
CHAMPIONNATS DE FRANCE DE SKI 2019 : Adrien Théaux © Presse Sports / Alexis Boichard/ ZOOM
© Ville de Bagnère-de-Bigorre
Tour des Jacobins, Bagnères-de-Bigorre © OT Bagnères-de-Bigorre

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