The Pyrenees cover a huge area, stretching from the Mediterranean in the east to the Bay of Biscay Atlantic in the west.

Deciding where to stay within this vast mountain range can feel a bit daunting!

To help you decide, we’ve created this guide to the main towns for cyclists. You’ll find an overview of the cycling regions, what some of the most popular base towns are like and the Pyrenees cycling climbs you can access from each.

In our conclusion we share our view on the best place to stay in the French Pyrenees for cycling.

This article includes details of products and/or services that we have used ourselves or which we would consider using. Some are paid features or include affiliate links where if you click on a link and make a booking or buy something, we may earn a commission. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Please read our disclosure policy for further information.

Cycling in the Pyrenees, France: an overview

There are four main cycling regions in the French Pyrenees:

  • Basque country: Saint-Jean de Luz, Saint-Jean Pied de Port, Arette.
  • Central Pyrenees: Argelès-Gazost, Luz Saint Saveur, Bagnères de Bigore, Bagnères de Luchon.
  • Ariege: Saint-Girons, Massat, Tarascon-sur-Ariege, Ax-Les-Thermes.
  • The Mediterranean: Prades and Argelès-sur-Mer.

Of these, the central Pyrenees contains most of the famous Tour de France Pyrenees climbs: the names that echo down the years of Tour de France history, full of grandeur and legend.

There’s more information on the different cycling regions of the Pyrenees and what they’re like, in our in-depth article on cycling in the Pyrenees. You might also like our article on the Raid Pyrenees (i.e. trans-Pyrenees) and our guides to cycling the Col du Tourmalet region and guide to the Bagnères de Luchon region of the Central Pyrenees. They contain tried and tested route information, GPX downloads, where to stay, bike hire information and lots more.

Argelès-Gazost (for cyclists)

Argelès-Gazost is superbly placed for access to some of the great road climbs of the Pyrenees.  Col d’Aubisque is signposted from the centre of town. Hautacam starts just outside the town and the start of the ascent of the western side of the Col du Tourmalet is 18 kilometres away.

The climbs to the south are also perfectly feasible, though you’d be closer to these if you based yourself in Luz-Saint-Sauveur.

Argelès-Gazost climbs

To the west:

To the east/south-east:

To the south:

  • Col du Tourmalet (from the east, via Luz-Saint-Sauveur)
  • Cauterets-Cambasque
  • Pont d’Espagne
  • Luz Ardiden
  • Col des Tentes (summit about 46 km from Argelès-Gazost)
  • Cirque de Gavarnie (summit around 41 km from Argelès-Gazost)
  • Cirque du Troumouse (summit about 48 km from Argelès-Gazost)

Other things to know about Argelès-Gazost

Argelès-Gazost is the main town in the Vallée du Lavedan, which is one of seven valleys comprising the Vallées des Gaves, in the department of Hautes-Pyrénées.

It is a pretty place with fountains, villas, and a well-known thermal spa which is open to the public and offers a range of facilities. There is also a park dating from the 19th century and a Tuesday morning farmer’s market, which started in 1292. The town boasts some great restaurants and all are small, authentic and intimate.

The D921B runs through the town, with the park and thermal baths on one side of the road and the main town tucked behind on the other.

A few kilometres away there is an impressive aquatic centre with indoor 25m pool and during July and August, an outdoor area with 25m pool, kids pool, slides, play area and picnic area. There are also rafting, kayaking and canyoning tours available.

Argelès-Gazost is 16km south of Lourdes and 35km (mostly dual carriageway) to the A64 Autoroute.

  • There is a TGV station in Lourdes and an airport at Tarbes, 30 km away (though most people fly to Toulouse).
  • Driving time is approx 2 hours from Biarritz to the west, 2 hours from Toulouse to the east and 3 hours from Bordeaux to the north.

Best cycling hotels in Argeles-Gazost

We stayed at Le Miramont in Argelès-Gazost. You can find our full review of it here.

Hotel Au Primrose

This two-star hotel has a specific cycling focus.

Philippe, the owner, is one of the big reasons that this hotel is so popular; he’s a font of cycling knowledge.

Secure bike garage with lots of hanging space and a workbench.

Check prices for Hotel au Primrose

Arrieulat Hotel

A small, ten bedroom two-star hotel with pine and ski decor

Billiards room and piano lounge

Sauna, steam room and jacuzzi

Bike storage and a washdown area

Food is a feature at this hotel

On the same road as the Miramont hotel, so request a room at the back to minimise road noise.

Check prices for Arrieulat hotel

Hotel Restaurant Les Cimes

Two-star hotel, though rooms have been recently renovated.

Jacuzzi and covered swimming pool

Located 5 minutes walk from the town centre.

Large garage for bike storage.

Check prices for hotel Restaurant Les Cimes

Luz-Saint-Sauveur (for cyclists)

Luz-Saint-Sauveur (locals just call it Luz) is the southern alternative to Argelès-Gazost. It’s about 18 km south of Argelès-Gazost and the starting point for the ascent of the Tourmalet from the west. If you’re just looking for hotels near the Col du Tourmalet because you want to do the climb and leave, Luz is a good option.

That said, if you’ve got a bit more time, Luz is also close to the Pyrenees cols listed as to the south of Argelès-Gazost above, i.e.

The Hautacam and the Pyrenees mountain passes listed as being to the west of Argelès-Gazost are also accessible from Luz; there’s just a longer approach to them as you have to ride along the valley road first.

Other things to know about Luz-Saint-Sauveur

Luz is also in the Vallée du Lavedan but is considerably smaller than Argelès-Gazost. It’s a traditional place with grey slate roofs and occupies a valley site encircled by high mountain peaks still dotted with snow even in summer.

For those that don’t cycle but like other mountain sports, it’s a good choice as two rivers meet here offering opportunities for activities include canyoning, ziplining etc. One valley leads to Gavarnie with its famous cirque and footpaths to Spain, the other up the famous road to Barèges and the Col du Tourmalet. The footpaths are extensive and it’s a great base from which to see all four Midi-Pyrenees “Grand Sites” in the Haute-Pyrenees department.

The town has several small bars and restaurants, a big market on Mondays and a popular open air swimming pool. The linked village of St Sauveur has impressive Napoleonic thermal baths which are open to the public for treatments.

Access to Luz is the same as for Argelès-Gazost; just add another 15 minutes drive, as you’ll pass through Argelès-Gazost on your way through.

Bagnères de Bigorre (for cyclists)

43 km east of Argelès-Gazost, Bagnères de Bigorre is also attractive to cyclists. The following climbs to the south of the town are easily accessible:

You’d probably want to get a transfer over to Argelès-Gazost before tackling a loop of the climbs west of Argelès-Gazost: the Col du Soulor, Col des Bordères and Col d’Aubisque. Likewise, the climbs to the south of Argelès-Gazost listed above would probably be out of range by bike from Bagnères-Bigorre.

Other things to know about Bagnères de Bigorre

It’s a traditional old town on the banks of the Adour river, below the pic du Midi. There are some beautiful houses in the old part of the town, an impressive Jacobean tower, thermal baths dating from Roman times that are open to the public, tennis courts, an 18 hole golf course and swimming pool.

If you’re around in early August, don’t miss the Street Arts Weekend festival that takes place in the town’s streets, squares and gardens.

Bagnères de Bigorre is 21km east of Lourdes.

  • The airport at Tarbes is 23 km away (though most people fly to Toulouse).
  • Driving time is approx 2 hours from Biarritz to the west, 1 hour 40 from Toulouse to the east and 2 hours 45 from Bordeaux to the north.

Bagnères de Luchon (for cyclists)

Bagnères de Luchon is around 100 km southeast of Argelès-Gazost.  The town gives access to a different range of mountains than the three towns listed above. The best known of these are:

  • Col de Peyresourde
  • Superbagnères
  • Port de Bale
  • Col de Portillon
  • Col de Mente

Check out our guide to cycling these climbs from Bagnères de Luchon, here.

Other things to know about Bagnères de Luchon

Luchon, as locals call it, is a beautiful town surrounded by mountains. The town is centred around a wide, tree lined street leading to the spa. It’s home to plenty of restaurants, boulangeries and bike shops. It’s famous for being a big spa town with 150m of natural caves and a hot spring vapour bath. It’s website describes it as “the one and only natural hammam in all of Europe”.

Luchon is also a ski town with lifts up to Superbagnères, and in summer these lifts remain open to those looking for a shortcut to the top.

Luchon is often a stage town for the Tour de France (it’s had that honour around 60 times!) and people embrace it with lots of decorations and cebeltartions in the lead up.

Toulouse is 140 km away (around 1 hour 40). There is a train station in town.

Read our full guide to Bagnères de Luchon and the Col de Peyresourde region here.


If you’re only going to make one cycling trip to the French Pyrenees, we’d suggest staying in either Argelès-Gazost or Luz-Saint-Sauveur. Which you choose depends on which climbs you want to prioritise. There’s only 18 km between the two towns but part of that includes the Gorges de Luz which is only one lane in each direction, through a narrow mountain valley. It’s very scenic but there’s no hard shoulder and the road gets a lot of traffic, particularly in July and August. It also gets shut every so often as it’s prone to rockfalls.

We chose to stay in Argelès-Gazost because we wanted to ride stage 19 of the 2018 Tour de France and Argelès-Gazost was best for this. We managed to cover a lot of the rides to the south of Argelès-Gazost and when we were there in early June, the Gorge de Luz road between Argelès-Gazost and Luz-Saint-Sauveur was fine.

While the two towns are relatively evenly balanced in terms of the most famous climbs, it’s worth bearing in mind that there are some easy valley rides (including the Voie Verte) from Argelès-Gazost that aren’t an option from Luz-Saint-Sauveur. Take a look at this map and you’ll see what we mean.

On our next trip to the Pyrenees, we plan to stay in Bagnères de Luchon and check out the riding there. It looks like there are some great rides, but our feeling is that it’s the place to visit once you’ve first ridden the most historic and legendary cycling climbs of Argelès-Gazost/Luz-Saint-Sauveur.

Want to find out more about cycling the Col du Tourmalet region of the French Pyrenees?

Check out our guide to cycling the Col du Tourmalet. This guide has everything you should need: from where to stay, where to get bike rental and what rides to do.


Please support Epic Road Rides

A huge amount of time and effort goes into the article you’ve just read, all with the aim of helping you!

If you found what you’ve read useful, I’d really appreciate it if you dropped something in the tip jar here.

It’s a way you can say thank you and help us carry on creating top quality content with no annoying ads and no pay wall.

Leave us a tip here!

Looking for an organised cycling trip?

If you want someone to help you plan and book your cycling holiday, fill out this form. We aren’t a tour operator/agent but we work with lots of people who are and will do our best to put you in touch with someone that can help (within 24 hours wherever possible)!

We will use this info to send the enquiry to Clare and/or their team. Our privacy policy explains more and here’s a reminder of our terms and conditions.

Clare Dewey

Clare Dewey is a cyclist with a passion for travel. She set up in 2018 to help make it easy for cyclists to explore the world by bike. Today her mission is still inspiring cyclists to discover new places on two wheels – and doing what she can to make sure they have the best possible time while they’re there. Clare has visited 50+ destinations around the world, many of them by bike.

The contents of this website are provided for general information purposes only. It is not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on it. You should carry out your own due diligence and take professional advice. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content on our website is accurate, complete or up to date. If you use any information or content on this website, download from, or otherwise obtain content or services through our website, it is entirely at your own discretion and risk. Epic Road Rides Ltd disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the information and content on this website. Find out more here.

3 Responses to “Best places to stay in the Pyrenees (for cyclists): top towns & cycling accommodation, French Pyrenees”

  1. What is considered the best method of transporting bikes from the UK down to the Pyrenees region and back? I would like to complete the coast to coast ride and would appreciate your opinion.

    • Have you got someone that can come with you as a support car? That would be the easiest solution!

  2. I have stayed a few times in the Pyrenees Cycling lodge. Just outside Argeles. Excellent location, and perfect cycling hosts.

Leave your comment

  • (will not be published)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.