UNVEILING OF THE ROUTES FOR 2023

The unveiling of the routes for the 2023 Tour de France and Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift will take place on Thursday 27th October from 11.30 (UTC+2) at the Palais des Congrès convention centre in Paris.

HAUTACAM

Stage site for the sixth time
Tourist resort in the Hautes-Pyrénées (65), attached to the commune of Beaucens.
Population: 420 inh (Beaucinois and Beaucinoises), 15,330 inhabitants in the 46 communes of the Pyrénées Vallées des Gaves Community of Communes.
Specialities: garbure bigourdane, rocher des Pyrénées (cake), Black pork of Bigorre.
Personalities: Jacques Chancel (television), Cyprien Despourrins (poet).
Sport: skiing, mountain biking, cycling. Marmotte Granfondo Pyrénées (cyclosportive), La Pyrénéenne (cyclosportive)
Economy: agriculture, tourism. Nordic cross-country skiing area.
Festivals: Gavarnie Festival, Muchas Bandas Festival, Pyrenean Dog Festival.
Websites / FB / Twitter / Insta : https://www.hautacam.com/https://www.valleesdegavarnie.com/etehttps://www.pyrenees-trip.com/http://www.tourisme-occitanie.com/www.facebook.com/stationhautacamwww.facebook.com/valleesdegavarnie/www.facebook.com/hautespyreneestwitter.com/Hautacam65twitter.com/valleesgavarniewww.instagram.com/parcdeloisirsduhautacam/www.instagram.com/valleesdegavarniewww.instagram.com/hautespyreneeshttps://fr-fr.facebook.com/TourismeOccitanie/https://twitter.com/Occitaniehttps://www.instagram.com/tourisme_en_occitanie/?hl=fr

© Antoine Garcia
© Tristan Buchot
© Antoine Garcia

HAUTACAM, A HISTORY

At the foot of Hautacam

It is pleasant to stroll through the streets of Argelès-Gazost: its palm trees, its English-style park and its large villas have earned the spa town its nickname of "Little Nice". Built at the crossroads of the Azun, Cauterets and Luz valleys, the particularity of Argelès-Gazost lies in its weekly market: as early as 1292, this market, which is held on Tuesdays, quickly became the largest commercial exchange place in the valley, seeing the rural populations of the high valleys and the piedmont converge every week.
But it was in the 19th century that the destiny of Argelès changed. The creation of the imperial road, the arrival of the railway in 1870 and the construction of the station attracted a population of holidaymakers, mostly English and Russian, seduced by the beauty of the site and the mildness of the climate. And it is especially the purchase by the town of the thermal springs of Gazost which allows the development of a thermal town in the plain. Argelès was then enriched with a thermal establishment, a casino, an English-style park and beautiful villas. In 1896, at the heart of its fame, Argelès-de-Bigorre became Argelès-Gazost by associating its name with that of the locality hosting the thermal springs.
From the heights of the town, you can enjoy an exceptional panorama of Hautacam, a four-season leisure park, a Mecca for outdoor and leisure activities and a Sunday meeting point for the people of the valley. The flagship activity for all in all seasons: a secure rail sledge which allows you to hurtle down the slopes at full speed.

© Antoine Garcia

HAUTACAM AND CYCLING

Five stages of the Tour finished at the top of the long climb to the resort overlooking Lourdes. Luc Leblanc was the first rider to put his name to it in 1994, just before winning the world champion title in Sicily. Hautacam also marked a turning point in Cadel Evans' career in 2008: he took the lead in the overall classification of the Tour for the first time... with a one second lead over Fränk Schleck. This first experience in yellow only lasted five days for the Australian, who was weakened by an injury and had to give up the Yellow Jersey for eight seconds on the climb to Prato Nevoso. In the end, he finished second in this edition, 58 seconds behind Carlos Sastre. Cadel Evans later held the Yellow Jersey in 2010, for one day, and finally in 2011 to become the first Australian winner in Paris. In 2014, it was in Hautacam that Vincenzo Nibali completed his domination by taking his fourth stage victory of the edition at the summit, 1:10 ahead of Thibaut Pinot. In the overall classification, the shark from Messina had a 7:10 advantage on the Frenchman with three days to go before the Champs-Élysées: the case was heard.

Luc Leblanc lors de l'étape Cahors - Lourdes du Tour de France 1994 © Pressesports/Boutroux
Vincenzo Nibali lors de l'étape Pau - Hautacam du Tour de France 2014 © Pressesports/Bernard Papon

SIGHTS

Ourout Castle
Built in the 11th century, transformed in the 15th-16th century with its park and chapel. Formerly the residence of the Lords of Doumec d'Ourout, vassals of the Count of Bigorre, it is the same family that currently occupies it by direct transmission or marriage. Several distinguished guests have lived in this residence, including Henri Russel and the composer Gustave Fauré, a friend of the grandmother of Monsieur le Comte Hugue. It is said that the Prince of Wales, who was to spend his holidays there, was unable to get his carriage in, as it was so wide and the access street so narrow. He therefore had to cancel his stay. Very rare free visits during certain heritage days.

Thermal baths of Argelès-Gazost
The thermal establishment, built in bricks and rolled pebbles, was created at the end of the 19th century by bringing water with curative virtues from a neighbouring village (Gazost) using an aqueduct. Writer François Mauriac, around 1910-1920, frequently visited the thermal establishment and its park, a beautiful "English" garden. He even used it as the setting for one of his novels: Le fleuve de feu (The River of Fire). Beautiful mansions and large villas characterise the architecture of the town.
www.argeles-gazost.com

Donjon of the Eagles at Beaucens Castle
Construction: 10th to 12th century.
Style: medieval castle.
History: the castle of Beaucens was the ordinary viscount's house, the most powerful of Bigorre with vast possessions including the seventeen towns of the valley of Barèges. The castle was inhabited until 1643, when it belonged to the House of Montaut-Bénac.
Trivia: in Bigorre, the legend tells of the end of a long siege of the castle, halted because of a trout released by an eagle, which made the attackers believe that food was still abundant and fresh in the castle.
Current destination: the historic site, with an 11th century feudal castle, offers a wide panorama over the valley and the Pyrenean mountain range. There is a prestigious collection of birds of prey from all over the world. In summer, a show of birds of prey in freedom flies over the public.
Listing: Historical Monument since 1927.
www.donjon-des-aigles.com

Abbey of Saint-Savin
Construction: 12th century
Style: Romanesque
Characteristics: now a parish church, it was part of a Benedictine monastery that was very influential in the valley until the French Revolution. It was completed in the Gothic period by raising the walls and the bell tower. It is remarkable for its very rich collection of objects: Romanesque sarcophagus of Saint-Savin, paintings recounting his life from the end of the 15th century, ciborium and wooden Christ from the 14th century and a Renaissance organ dating from 1557.
Listing: Historical Monument since 1840.

Vieuzac Castle Tower
It is a considerably restored remnant of the castle that housed the seigneury of Vieuzac. The site also included the seigneurial house, the church of St Peter and the cemetery. The tower at the base dates from the 14th century. It was described as a dovecote in the compoix of 1783. It was owned by the lords of Vieuzac, then in the 17th century by the lords of Ourout and Jean-Baptiste Lassalle, before being bought and restored by the family of the deputy Alicot with materials from the Castel-Naou of Azu d'Arras in Lavedan. Today it is the property of a retirement home.

Arras Castle in Lavedan
It was built in the 12th century on a hill overlooking the village, in place of a first castle, with similarities to the castles of Gaston Fébus, notably that of Montaner. Occupied by the English from 1360 to 1404 and then by different lords, the castle fell into ruin. The sculpted corbels were even sold in 1879 to decorate the Vieuzac tower in Argelès. A new owner undertook its restoration in 1996, under the supervision of the Bâtiments de France.

© Creative Commons 4.0/Basotxerri
© Creative Commons 3.0/Serge Ottaviani
© Pierre Meyer
© Creative Commons 4.0/Sotos

TO EAT

The garbure

This is the traditional soup in Bigorre. Made from cabbage and beans, it is simmered with confit or "camayou", a local ham bone. You can find it in many restaurants in the area and especially at the Auberge de l'Arrioutou, the Hautacam restaurant which has made it a speciality.
At the beginning of June, you should not miss the Confrérie de la Garbure in Argelès-Gazost, the traditional celebration of the typical Bigorre dish: mass led by the Ariélès Singers, parade of the brotherhoods of the south-west, inductions, market and garbure meal.

Stew "Potée" with salted pork and various vegetables French cooking © Getty/nobtis

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