Can’t get enough of France’s romantic accents and dreamy rural scenery? We don’t blame you!
One of the best spots in the country to get your fill of both has to be the Pyrenees. Located less than three hours from the trendy city of Toulouse, the majestic mountain range borders France, Spain AND Andorra, plus it’s scattered with medieval towns, ski resorts and breath-taking viewpoints.
Want to throw yourself into exhilarating mountain adventures? Or are you a bit of a history geek? It could just be the time to discover south west France and get back to nature with a trip from Toulouse to the Pyrenees
Awesome spots to stop off at along the way
Love a road trip that’s got lots of cool pitstops? The route from Toulouse to the Pyrenees Mountains is littered with places where you can soak up the local culture and snap some epic selfies.
Not sure where to stop? Well then, get a dose of wanderlust with these inspiring ideas. Can we come too?
For believers of miracles, take a pilgrimage (by car) to Lourdes
If you’ve not heard of the legendary healing powers of Lourdes yet, you really should! The town in the foothills of the Pyrenees shot to fame in the 1850s after a local peasant girl claimed to see a vision of the Virgin Mary in a grotto.
The spot became The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes: a major pilgrimage site where people from all four corners of the globe flock to bathe in its natural spring waters which are believed to have magical healing powers…
Whether you believe in Lourdes’ miraculous abilities or not, the holy town is a pretty stunning spot. And one not to be missed!
For powder hounds and snow angels, get yourself to the Grandvalira
Planning your getaway in the winter months? You can’t pass up the chance to go skiing in the Grandvalira!
The snow sports hub is located in Andorra, a tiny principality nestled in the heart of the Pyrenees and smack-bang between France and Spain. The Grandvalira is one of the best skiing spots outside of the Alps thanks to its epic range of pistes, affordable resorts and low-tax status which makes everything – from drinks to shopping – that little bit cheaper.
For a dose of medieval French history, check out Carcassonne
While this city may not technically be within the Pyrenees, it’s still only a short detour south east of Toulouse along the A61. If you don’t tell anyone, we won’t either!
And with just a little detour you won’t be disappointed!
Hilltop Carcassonne is a pretty dreamy destination – picture cobbled lanes, city walls with awesome views of the surrounding valleys, and even a castle! We told you it was worth it.
The fortified city is absolutely brimming with history – it’s thought to have been a settlement since 3500BC! There’s no better place to soak it all up than the UNESCO World Heritage La Cité. This is Carcassonne’s medieval citadel and it’s all kinds of storybook-charming thanks to its turreted towers, battlements and drawbridges.
For insane photo ops, zoom up to the top of the Pic du Midi
Instagram in need of an update? Want some new holidays snaps to make that old ex jealous?
Have we got the spot for you! Yes the Pyrenees has no shortage of insanely gorgeous viewpoints where you can soak up miles upon miles of lush mountain scenery, but this is our fav!
It’s found at the top of the Pic du Midi – a 2877m high mountain – and it can be reached by a state-of-the-art cable car from the village of La Mongie.
Get ready for the insta-likes to come rolling in! And the jealously to be big!
For a sparkling wine tipple, make your way to Limoux
The Loire Valley may have its crispy white wines and Bordeaux may have its rich reds, but did you know the tiny city of Limoux in the Pyrenees foothills is also an historic wine-making region?
Well that’s your excuse to sample the local delicacy!
Limoux was once part of the historic Languedoc region and its surrounding vineyards are thought by some wine experts to be the first to ever produce sparkling wine way back in 1531. In fact, it’s rumoured that Dom Perignon even learnt his trade in Limoux before moving to the Champagne region outside Paris to perfect his namesake bubbly! Just don’t repeat that to anyone from Champagne – they might not like it!
Getting to the Pyrenees from Toulouse
The dramatic mountain passes of the Pyrenees make it pretty epic road trip material! The route you’ll want to map out will entirely depend on which stops you want to make. If you’re keen to dip your toes in the waters of Lourdes and venture to the top of the Pic du Midi, take the A64 out of Toulouse and turn off at junction 12 just after Tarbes.
Alternatively, you could nip east down the A61 into Carcassonne for some awesome sightseeing before tracking south along the D118 to Limoux. From there, it’s a winding yet rewarding two-and-a-half-hour drive to Andorra.
Is France your new favourite driving holiday hotspot? Why not take a tour of the vineyards in the Champagne region or pretend you come from royal stock with a French chateau escape?