The Central Pyrenees, immediately east of the Pays Basque, hosts the range’s highest mountain peaks, the most spectacular section by the border being protected within the Parc National des Pyrénées. Highlights – apart from the lakes, torrents, forests and 3000-metre peaks around Cauterets – are the cirques of Lescun, Gavarnie and Troumouse, each with its distinctive character. And for less sportif interests, there’s many a flower-starred mountain meadow accessible by car, especially near Barèges, in which to picnic. The only real urban centres are Pau, a probable entry point to the area, the dull city of Tarbes and pilgrimage target, Lourdes.

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