Part of the largest ski area in the Pyrenées, known for its reasonable prices. Lift-linked to La Mongie and with an altitude station satellite, Super Barèges, at 1800 M.
Barèges is an old Roman spa town famous for its thermal springs. Napoleon III built a military hospital here so that his battle weary troops could benefit from the healing waters. Barèges Thermes are still open today and are kept busy in winter by skiers who go there to have their muscles soothed by the hot sulphuric water after a hard day on the slopes. Due to the thermal springs and its altitude (its the highest spa town in France), Barèges is a year round resort with crowds coming here to enjoy the natural healing spas which can soothe many ailments, especially arthritis and rheumatism. The village itself has a quaint medieval feel - it has one main street which lengthens each year as the village develops. The skiing is made up mainly of wooded trails and valleys making it one of the prettier resorts in the Pyrenees.
Barèges was one of the first ski resorts to open in the area, becoming popular in the early 1900's for its cross country trails. It was only in the 1920's that ski lifts were installed and the resort really got started. Situated at the foot of the Pic du Midi de Bigorre, Barèges is connected to La Mongie by the Col du Tourmalet which makes this one of the largest skiing areas in the Pyrénées with over 120km of piste. During the summer the Col du Tourmalet, and the steep climb up from Barèges and over to La Mongie is one of the most challenging sections in the Tour de France, the world famous cycle race. The route they use is the same track which makes such a good downhill piste in winter.
The 2 villages could'nt be more different, La Mongie is a concrete purpose-built resort with wide, fairly steep treeless slopes, its name translates as 'the eating place' - in the summer it is used as pastureland for sheep and cattle. Lourdes, famous for its modern day Catholic shrine to Our Lady, is one of the closest major towns. At Easter time the airport is filled with a mixture of skiers heading for the Pyreneen resorts and religious groups making the annual pilgrimage to the healing waters.