Tourist resort in the Hautes-Pyrénées (65)
Population: 970 (Luz-Saint-Sauveur)
Specialities: PDO Barèges-Gavarnie mutton, garbure (peasant soup), pastet (typical dish of the Pays Toy made from buckwheat flour), blueberry tarts and pies, spit cake, craft beers from the Pays Toy.
Personalities: Emperor Napoleon III and Eugenie stayed here, Victor Hugo visited. Nicolas Berejny (handiski, Paralympic champion in 2006).
Sport: Altitoy Ternua (ski-mountaineering race), Marmotte Granfondo Pyrénées, mountain bike and enduro circuits including the mythical descent of the Pic du Midi in Luz-Saint-Sauveur (more than 2,000m of negative altitude difference).
Culture: Jazz à Luz high altitude festival, Gavarnie festival (open air theatre), Chop Fair.
Economy: tourism, agriculture, pastoralism.
Labels: Villages fleuri, 1 fleur
Websites, social networks: www.luz.org / www.pyrenees-trip.com
LUZ SAINT-SAUVEUR TODAY
This sunny village, situated at an altitude of 711m in the heart of the perched villages of the Pays Toy and the most beautiful listed sites in the Pyrenees (Gavarnie, Pic du Midi, Cauterets Pont d'Espagne and Lourdes), is appreciated for its cultural heritage as well as for the character of its traditions. Victor Hugo wrote: "This village, they named it Luz, which means light", when he stayed in Luz-Saint-Sauveur in 1843 in front of the church.
Only 12km away, its winter sports resort of Luz Ardiden offers a ski area in a wild natural setting, preserved from any urbanisation. Protected by the emblematic Pic de Caperette, the beginner's area is an ideal learning ground for ski beginners. The upper part of the domain, drawn by the Aulian cirque, is remarkable for the variety of its jagged relief of ridges and technical corridors. The beautiful curves of the Bederet side are an invitation to tame the white expanse of the 60 km of slopes, enhanced by pedestrian and snowshoe trails and ski touring paths.
The village of Luz-Saint-Sauveur is a cycling destination par excellence, located 13 km from Luz Ardiden and 19 km from the Tourmalet. It is renowned for its picturesque roads around the village, the concentration of its famous routes and its grandiose panoramas at the gateway to the Pyrenees National Park. The ascent of Luz Ardiden is one of the most technical in the Pyrenees with more than 1000m D+ in 13 km, an average gradient of 7.5pc and a maximum gradient of 9pc.
LUZ-ARDIDEN AND CYCLING
The finishes in the Pyrenean resort regularly give rise to some memorable moments of bravery and excitement. In 1985, it was during the stage between Toulouse and Luz-Ardiden that the first act of the rivalry between Bernard Hinault and Greg LeMond was played out, a rivalry that is still being written about today. Victim of a bronchitis, the Badger found himself in great difficulty in the final climb and only owed his salvation to the strong support of Nikki Ruttimann and to the instructions of his sporting director Paul Köchli, forbidding LeMond to attack. Hinault promised the dejected American that he would help him win the Tour the following year...
In 1990 it was Claudio Chiappucci who had a few setbacks, also wearing the Yellow Jersey. After LeMond's charge, he had only a 5 seconds lead in the general classification, while Miguel Indurain had just won the second mountain stage of his career! Four years later, it was in Luz-Ardiden that Richard Virenque's mountain destiny began, with a first stage victory.
During the last visit by the Tour in 2011, Samuel Sanchez won the stage before taking the polka-dot jersey in this edition, while Thomas Voeckler, who had hit a car on the descent of the Hourquette d'Ancizan, nevertheless managed to keep his Yellow Jersey.
The Pont Napoléon is a monumental 63-m high structure erected by Napoleon III in 1863, linking the thermal district to the road to Gavarnie. In the summer, the site offers many sporting activities: bungee jumping, via ferrata, climbing, Tyrolean traverse...
Church of the Templars
It is one of the rare religious buildings built at the end of the 12th century and currently in a perfect state of conservation. Occupied and fortified by the Hospitallers of Saint John of Jerusalem in the 14th century, it now houses the Treasure Museum, an exhibition of sacred art objects, the oldest of which date from the 13th century.
Sainte Marie Castle
Dating from the 10th century and restored in the 1980s, it is one of the most significant vestiges of the history of the Pays Toy. At the beginning of August (7 & 8 August 2021), the Médiévales du Pays Toy will bring the site back to the time of the troubadours and chivalrous battles.
Cirque de Gavarnie
The Pyrenees-Mont Perdu site includes 3 border glacial cirques only 30/40 minutes from Luz-Saint-Sauveur: Gavarnie, Troumouse and Estaubé. These marvels of flora and fauna are to be discovered mainly in summer for the beauty of their landscapes and their summits. The Gavarnie cirque stands out for the spectacular size of its limestone walls, its peaks at an altitude of 3,000 metres and its 423-metre-high waterfall, one of the highest in Europe.
Pic du Midi de Bigorre
At the summit at 2,877m, this is the most beautiful view of the Pyrenees. Accessible by cable car, the Pic du Midi opens its observatory, its telescopes and coronographs, its panoramic terraces, its sky bridge, its museum on astronomy and its many activities.
The Pyrenees National Park and the Néouvielle Nature Reserve
Located at the gateway to the Pyrenees National Park, the Luz-Saint-Sauveur valley offers a host of animal and plant species to discover from the summit of the Vignemale to the peak of the Munia. The granitic massif of Néouvielle is remarkable for the number of lakes and its diversity of landscapes. You can see isards, partridges and marmots, and admire the lakes and peaks...
This production obtained in September 2003, an appellation of controlled origin (AOC). It is the first recognized ovine AOC. The Barèges-Gavarnie sheep comes from the local breed "barégeoise", a rustic breed able to resist the cold of the Pyrenean altitudes. The PDO recognition by Brussels came four years later. The territory extends over the canton of Luz-Saint-Sauveur and the herd comprises around 3,000 head.
The grass of the mountain pastures gives it flavours of wild thyme and liquorice.
During the winter period in the sheepfold, the animals are fed hay and regain and graze on the hay meadows, as soon as the climate permits.
During spring and autumn, they stay and graze in the mid-mountain areas (between 1,000 and 1,800 m altitude) called "intermediate zones". In summer, the herds move freely to graze on the best grass the mountains have to offer (on 25,000 ha of mountain pastures, from 1,400 to 2,600 m in altitude). The flora of the high mountains gives the Barèges-Gavarnie all the succulence of the meat.
They must be slaughtered in the production area, in Viella. Some twenty breeders are currently involved in the process, which is managed by an interprofessional association located in Luz-Saint-Sauveur.