Head for Cauterets in the Haute-Pyrénées department: a small, charming, lively mountain village, renowned for its thermal baths, its ski resorts and its delicious "Berlingot" sweets.
In the fifties, Cauterets refused the use of its valleys’ lakes for the production of hydro-electric power. Since then, in the mountains that overlook the town, the water flows freely. It bounds through the pines in a succession of waterfalls and potholes hollowed in the rock by the water. A spectacle you will admire on the road to Pont d’Espagne, particularly while stopping in front of the Lutour and Ceriset waterfalls.
By car or on foot, following the waterfall path, you will soon arrive at the site itself of Pont d’Espagne, gateway to the Pyrenees National Park. This park, the oldest of France’s national parks, was established in 1967. It extends for more than 100 km from east to west. It includes six high valleys that border Spain, and has an exceptional biodiversity.
Le Pont d’Espagne, with the Gaube lake higher up, is among the most prized sites of the Pyrenees National Park.In summer as in winter, meditation, walking and hiking, cross-country skiing, snow-shoeing or tobogganing will delight young and old alike. To make it accessible to all, this site was laid out to respect the environment: car park, reception building, shuttles, hostels, etc.
A marked path will take you to a footbridge, where you can admire the famous Pont d’Espagne, arched above gorges where foaming torrents flow. You may then take the Gaube chair lift that will take you quietly to the lake.
During a short 15-minute walk on the level, you will see the lake appear in all the splendour of its crystalline waters. On its bank is the old hostelry where travellers stopped in the 19th century. Celebrated by French romantics and by Victor Hugo, the Gaube lake is dominated by the impressive silhouette of the Vignemale. At 3,298 metres, it is the highest summit in the French Pyrenees.