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Stage town for the 5th time

Town in Hautes-Pyrénées (65)

Population: 300 (Loudenviellois, Loudenvielloises)

Specialities: Black pork of Bigorre (AOC), Tarbes beans, Wines (Madiran and Pacherenc du Vic Bilh AOC), Barèges-Gavarnie AOC mutton, Onions from Trébons, Gascony hen, Garbure, Foie gras, spit cake...

Sport: Tour de France. Trail du Louron (July), Pyrénées Bike Festival, European Mountain Bike Cup, Balneaman Triathlon, Pyrénées Louron Air Festival

Economy: tourism in the resorts of Peyragudes (5,250 beds, Famille Plus label) and Val Louron (1,100 beds), winter and summer sports, balneotherapy.

Festivals: Pyrenean Traditions Fair.

Label: Espace Cyclo, mountain bike and gravel / Grand site Occitanie Néouvielle-Aure-Louron / Land of Art and History / Ville fleurie 2 flowers

Websites / FB / Twitter / Insta : www.loudenvielle.fr / www.vallee-du-louron.com / www.pyrenees-trip.com / www.hautespyrenees.fr / www.peyragudes.com / @hautespyrenees / www.laregion.fr / www.tourisme-occitanie.com / FB @LaRegionOccitaniePyreneesMediterranee / Insta @laregionoccitanie / Twitter @Occitanie

 


LOUDENVIELLE AND CYCLING

In 2020, during the "Covid edition" of the Tour in September, Nans Peters had the greatest day of his career when he broke away on the Port de Balès with Ilnur Zakarin before dropping the Russian, who was not very comfortable to say the least on the descent. The rider from Grenoble had already won a stage of the Giro the previous year. Loudenvielle hosted three other Tour de France stages in its own name between 1997 (when Laurent Brochard won on Bastille Day) and 2007, when victory went to Luxembourger Kim Kirchen after Alexandre Vinokourov was disqualified for doping. In 2003, while Gilberto Simoni won at Le Louron, it was in Loudenvielle that Richard Virenque won his sixth polka-dot jersey and equalled Federico Bahamontes and Lucien Van Impe. The town can also lay claim to the stage won in Val Louron in 1991 by Claudio Chiappucci ahead of Miguel Indurain. On that day, the man from Navarre took control of the Tour for a five-year lease, while Greg LeMond suffered a major setback.


SIGHTS:

  • Arixo

An old restored farmhouse is the setting for screenings of the latest seventh art releases and a highly innovative museum, a space fitted out with stone, wood and slate. Modern and original technologies tell the story of the country. In addition to the cinema itself, Arixo is divided into three rooms: a screening room with the film Once upon a time in Louron, a room devoted to the mountain environment and habitat (with a slide show, Italian-style theatre, etc.), and a room devoted to religious art (with a model, interactive terminal, etc.). 

  • Saoussas Mill

Built in 1937.

History: just after the French Revolution, a water mill was built near the village of Loudenvielle to meet the needs of the inhabitants of the upper Louron valley. It remained in operation until 1937, when the water intake was destroyed by flooding on the Neste du Louron. In order to revive this activity, it was rebuilt on its original site. The well-preserved millstones are now back in use in a magnificent building featuring local stone and wood.

Characteristics: the Moulin de Saoussas is a veritable museum of milling. The millstones are powered by water, and most of the objects and tools on display date from the 18th and 19th centuries. Outside, the sawmill operates as it did in the past. As well as the eco-museum, mill and sawmill, you can also find Pyrenean cheese in its maturing cellar, and regional products.

Special feature: open to the public in summer.  

  • Church of Sainte-Marie-Madeleine

Construction: 12th century, altered in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Style: mainly Romanesque.

History: from the original Romanesque church, the west elevation with a narrow arched bay and part of the south wall decorated with Lombard arcatures remain. It was the seat of a brotherhood of the Most Blessed Sacrament established by Jesuit missionary Jean Fourcaud in October 1637. The north aisle and sacristy were built in the 17th century. The interior was repainted in 1935.  

  • Balnéa

Balnéa, the first thermal water relaxation complex in the French Pyrenees, is an ideal place to relax, totally surrounded by mountains. Situated in the Louron valley, at the foot of the Peyragudes and Val Louron ski resorts and on the shores of Lake Génos-Loudenvielle, Balnéa offers a genuine voyage of discovery into the immemorial virtues of water through six different themed baths: Amerindian baths, Roman baths, Inca baths, Mayan baths, Japanese baths and the Olympian bath.  

  • Lake Génos-Loudenvielle

Bordered by mountain pastures, small villages and a forest, it's a place where everyone can meet and play. It's an easy walk with several starting points. Along the way, there's a children's play area, fishing, canoeing, a fun pool, a canoe and a tree-hanging course...


TO EAT:

  • Pyrenean blueberry pie (Tourte des Pyrénées)

Tourte des Pyrénées is a pastry found throughout the Hautes-Pyrénées. It can be enjoyed at any time of day, for breakfast with jam, as a dessert or as an afternoon snack.

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