Gavarnie-Gèdre, or Gavarnie-les Espécières, is a ski resort in the Pyrenees located in the village of Gavarnie-Gèdre, near the cirque du gavarnie, in the Hautes-Pyrenees department in the Occitania region in France. Gavarnie ski station is part of the group Ski Resort International, a subsidiary of the PGI Management group. The ski station is well known for the quality of snow on its trails, always fresh and natural, thanks to its high altitude.
The Gavarnie ski resort
The port of Boucharo (Bujaruelo for Spaniards) reaches an elevation of up to 2270m. However, this altitude is relative if we consider all the high massifs of Vignemale and Gavarnie. The ease of access to the Port de Boucharo made it a much travelled passage between France and Spain.
Gavarnie is nestled on one of the main routes that cross the Pyrenees through the port of Boucharo. The town of Gavarnie has not always been known worldwide by skiers; nor does it enjoy a pastoral tradition as important as its neighbor Gèdre.
The Gavarnie church is a must-see for travelers, who once praised the Virgin of Bon-Port before setting out on the route to Spain.
In 1794, the Port de Boucharo was under special surveillance by the French. Soldiers were sent to set up camp and protect the territory from any possible Spanish attacks. These events were happening at the same moment other European monarchies opposed the First French Republic.
Gavarnie is notably home to “Pyreneanism” (Pireanismo), a movement that combines mountaineering, mountain culture, romanticism and hiking to the highest peaks (ascensionismo). This has resulted in the town being the birthplace to many of the best mountain guides (Passet, Bernat-Salles …).
Gavarnie’s Skiable Area
Gavarnie’s trails are set in a medium size skiable area, located in the heart of the Pryennes, Gavarnie-Gèdredes and is recognized as World Heritage site by UNESCO. An ideal destination for a family mountain holiday in a splendid natural setting, as they in fact have special offers for families like the one of 2019, which is why it isn’t surprising that on 2020 they received more visitors than ever. The Gavarnie’s trails have been adapted for all levels, surrounded by breath-taking landscapes; including the majestic, world-famous, Brèche de Roland and other peaks over 3000 m.
A destination where you will not only have fun sliding down the ski slopes, but also enjoying and sharing the pureness and simplicity of the views that surround the resort. This resort offers 28 trails for all levels, including the longest green track in the Pyrenees (Les Marmottes). The Gavarnie-Gèdre ski area is made up of two parts:
The first part, a snow front (at the bottom of the stretch), is especially suited for children and beginners, where learning is made playful in a pleasant environment. Its wide slopes are well suited for everyone’s safety.
The other, found at a much higher elevation includes many beautiful viewpoints and picnic areas. Most noteworthy is the famous Brèche de Roland. Here you can find wide slopes for all levels, including the longest green trail in the Pyrenees. It stretches from the area’s highest point to the very bottom of the resort with a massive 6 km of descent.
In Gavarnie every night is rewarded with starry skies
It may seem weird to many night owls who live in the city, but here the night sky is something else completely different. If city dwellers are lucky enough, they´ll be able to see the stars maybe one day a month. However, in this resort, it would be strange to go one day without seeing all the constellations.
Far from the big cities and light pollution, nights in the valley of Gavarnie are a magical show where stars fill every corner of the sky. To fully admire the stars, you just need to choose one of the outskirts of the resort. But, even the view from the resort is spectacular.
Among the many options, maybe the best is to hike to the top of the mountain, if you can, its summit. There, the starry sky drops over your head like a dome, covering everywhere you look. There is no moment more magical than looking up at the constellations; to Jupiter, the great bear or to appreciate the Milky Way, with eyes and hearts wide open, allowing the universe to touch us with its immensity.
The Cols du Tourmalet, Couraduque, Soulor, Hautacam, Col des Tentes or the Saugué plateau are all ideal places to contemplate the sky, each one reachable by car. During summer, bring a blanket to lie on the grass and be enchanted by this unique moment to share with that special person. Not just for adults however, the experience can be just as magical for the kids. It’s up to you.
It doesn’t take an athlete to fully enjoy the resort
In addition to Gavarnie’s trails, it offers a large playground in the heart of the Cirque du Gavarnie, perfect for many activities. While some will relish crowning the valley ridges on cross-country skiing (with or without guides), others will find the 40 routes equipped with ice climbing more attractive.
For those looking for a more relaxed holiday with “moderate” physical effort, the Cirque du Gavarnie area also offers snowshoe excursions organized by mountain guides: themed outings to discover wildlife, in a family atmosphere or, if you prefer, something with a sportier approach.
Open all year, the Gèdre leisure center offers varied and original activities. This is the case with the Bob Luge descent, where 700m of descent and 8 turns await adults and children. The resort also has a climbing area: 350 m² with 18 m of height, 15 climbing lines with suitable itineraries for all levels, as well as a boulder area. The indoor and natural skating rink is open during the day with some designated dates for night skating, a classic that should not be missing in any other resort.
Cultural activities of the region
Speaking about culture, the church of Gavarnie features ruins from the medieval period. The Gèdre-Dessus mills speak for themselves of an ancestral activity in harmony with the environment. In the area we also find the Pyrenees cemetery or the statue of Notre-Dame des-Neiges at an altitude of 1519 m.
The Millaris museum is an opportunity to learn more about the region: a hiking tour through the most picturesque landscapes of the area, the management of its water resources (mills, hydroelectric power station), and its use of agriculture, shepherds, the history of the valley and UNESCO’s world heritage. Home of “Pyreneism” and heir to a long mountain tradition, the Gavarnie-Gèdre ski resort, also known as the Espécières resort, offers a setting like no other in the high mountains.
The Gavarnie ski resort is committed to sustainable development
The resort of Gavarnie Gèdre has a real ecological awareness. Indeed, many projects to improve sustainable development are underway. As far as development is concerned, a Land Use Plan for the commune of Gavarnie is underway.
PROJECT TO OPTIMIZE THE ELECTRICITY CONSUMPTION OF THE LIFTS
This project aims to regulate or even reduce the electricity consumption of the ski lifts in the mountain resort.
Unforgettable experiences in Gavarnie
It may seem strange to the night owls in the city, but here the night sky has nothing to do with what we observe in the city. In the city, we can admire some stars, but in this season it is rare.
Far from the big cities and their light pollution, the night in the valleys of Gavarnie Gèdre is a magical spectacle. The stars fill the four corners of the sky. Just walk around the village to admire the stars. There is no more magical moment than to see the constellations, Jupiter, the Big Dipper or to appreciate the Milky Way.
Stars in your eyes
Les yeux grands ouverts, mais aussi le cœur, la nature reprend tous ses droits et nous touche par son immensité.
Les Cols du Tourmalet, Couraduque, Soulor, Hautacam, Col des Tentes ou le plateau de Saugué sont des endroits idéaux pour contempler le ciel, tous accessibles en voiture. En été, prévoyez une couverture pour vous allonger sur l’herbe, un manteau et laissez-vous enchanter par ce moment unique.
In addition to its ski area, Gavarnie Gèdre offers a large playground, in the heart of the Cirque de Gavarnie, perfect for many activities. If some will be pleased to crown the ridges of the cirque in ski touring (with or without guides), others will be busy on the 40 routes equipped with ice climbing that Gavarnie offers.
For those who are looking for a more relaxed vacation and a “moderate” physical effort, snowshoeing excursions are organized by mountain guides: themed outings to discover the fauna, in a family atmosphere, or with a more sporting approach.
Open all year round, the Gèdre leisure center offers varied and original activities. This is the case of the Bob Luge descent, where 700m of descent and 8 turns await adults and children. The resort also has a climbing area: 350 m² of surface for 18 m high, with 15 climbing lines and routes adapted to all levels, as well as a bouldering area.
The indoor and natural ice rink is open during the day with some dates dedicated to night skating. A classic not to be missed. Lastly, you can enjoy a unique experience thanks to their 20-seated snow groomer machine. Don’t miss it!
The mountain resort of Gavarnie in summer
The summer in Gavarnie does not miss occupations. You can find a superb via ferrata located 3 km before the village of Gavarnie at the level of Chaos de Coumély. Classified level Very Difficult, with 180m of unevenness and 400m of length of which a vertiginous bridge of monkey! Expect between 2h and 4h depending on the number of people. Please inquire about the conditions beforehand. Free access or possibility to do it with a high mountain guide.
The activity is of course free for children and adults. It also offers the possibility of being accompanied by a mountain guide.
You like to slide, to have strong sensations! Come and slide down the summer and winter sledging track at full speed. These are individual sleds. The descent lasts for 700m and is littered with 8 turns for even more sliding pleasure. This activity is free for children under 6 years old accompanied by an adult. Open during the summer and winter school vacations depending on the weather conditions.
This activity is accessible and designed for people with reduced mobility.
Hotels in the resort of Gavarnie
Hotel la Brèche de Roland ***
Hotel Restaurant of the chain of hotels Logis, old house of the XVIII century entirely restored in 2011. Starting point for hikes and excursions to the Gavarnie, Troumouse and Estaubé circuses, classified as UNESCO sites. Located in the heart of the village of Gèdre with its terrace facing the Brèche de Roland and the glacier of Taillon.
Hotel le Compostelle **
In the heart of Gavarnie, a village classified as a World Heritage Site, in the area of the church, the Compostelle has the discreet charm of a small hotel with a mountain nature vocation.
Its rooms, named after flowers, facing the Cirque de Gavarnie, its panoramic terrace, its large meadow behind the hotel where you can admire the horses, the endemic flowers, the bearded vulture and other birds of prey…
The Compostelle Hotel has been renovated and has benefited from the support of the Midi Pyrenees region, and is classified 2 stars in the new classification of tourist accommodations.
Hôtel le Marboré **
Hotel Gavarnie Le Marboré in the Pyrenees National Park, at the foot of the Cirque de Gavarnie, classified as a UNESCO world heritage site. Located in Gavarnie, this 2 star hotel enjoys an exceptional environment.
The rooms, the table (regional and family cuisine), the bar-pub “Le Swan” with its giant screen, the fitness area, the games room, the seminar room, the library corner, the reading corner in front of the fireplace.
Located near the old village of Gavarnie, and at a distance from the crowd of tourists leaving for the Cirque de Gavarnie, it was completely refurbished when Roseline and Bernard bought it in 1988. They have created spaces of comfort and pleasure.
Skiing in Gavarnie : the highlights of the resort
✅ Wide choice of activities
✅ Ski slopes suitable for all levels
✅ Breathtaking scenery
✅ Various places to eat
✅ Various places to stay