The Pyrenees

The Pyrenees are a mountain range of the southwest of Europe. They extend over a distance of more than 400 kilometers according to an east-west direction, since the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean, and the Bay of Biscay. The Pyrenees form a real geographical barrier separating the Iberic peninsula in the South, from the rest of continental Europe to the north. They constitute a natural boundary between Spain and France.

The Pyrenees have several summits of more than 3.000 meters. This altitude cactérise the high Pyrenean summits. To quote the most important :

  • the Peak d’Aneto : 3.404 meters, situated in Spain is the highest summit in the Pyrenees.
  • the Vignemale : 3,298 meters is the highest summit on the French side.
  • the Mont perdu : 3.355 meters.
  • the Peak du Marboré : 3.248 meters.
  • the Peak de la Munia : 3.133 meters.
  • the Peak Long : 3.192 meters.

The landscapes of the Pyrenees are characterized by certain points:

  • the rarity and high altitude of passes, called ports.
  • the upper of valleys, sometimes ending in a circus, the most famous being the Cirque de Gavarnie, but we can also mention the Cirque of Troumousse, and the Cirque of Lescun in Aspe valley.
  • the significant number of mountain streams, called gaves or nestes, typical of the French Pyrenees.
The Pyrenees National Park

Situated on the departments of Pyrenees-Atlantic Ocean and the Hautes-Pyrénées, it was the third national park created in France in 1967. This park of more than 45.000 hectares contains a very rich flora, more than 4.500 botanical species among which approximately 160 species endemic, among which the columbine of pyrénées and the blue thistle are the most known, and a very important Fauna ( more than 4,000 species).

The Pyrenees National Park is a border Park with Spain, the Spanish side , we find the National park of Aigüestortes in Catalonia, the National park of Ordesa and the Lost Mount.
The Pyrenees also include other regional parks and natural reserves : the regional Natural reserve of Pyrenees Catalan, the regional Natural reserve of Pyrenees Ariégeaoise, as well as nature reserves as that of Néouvielle in the valley of Ossau.

The Cirque of Gavarnie:

The Cirque of Gavarnie closes the high valley of the Gave de Pau. This circus is one of the places the most visited in the Pyrenees. In the middle of the circus is "the big waterfall" of a height of more than 400 meters. The Cirque of Gavarnie includes a range of heights, on the highest part, we find the Roland's flaw. This enormous natural flaw of 40 m of wide and of 100 m of top opens in cliffs situated over the Cirque of Gavarnie.
According to the legend this flaw, would have been made by Roland (nephew of Charlemagne) who broke his sword "Durandal". Situated at an altitude of 2804 m, this flaw is on the border between France and Spain.

To the east of the peak of Marboré, is the twin brother of the 'Cirque of Gavarnie : the Cirque of Troumousse. This circus with a diameter of approximately 4Km is situated at 2,200 meters. Among the peaks that surround it, the peak of the Munia is highest with an altitude of 3,133 meters.
For my part, I find the Circus of Troumousse very wilder. This is probably due to her less important tourist attendance, the latter being less famous!

The Massif of Canigou:

The Canigou is the mountain of the Catalans on both sides of the border. The massif of Canigou in the eastern Pyrenees, dominates the plain of Rousillon its 2785 meters. Whether we are on the tops of Corbières, Conflent, Cerdagne or plain of Perpignan, and even on the beaches of Roussillon, one sees only him. At the top, a cross bears the Catalan flag. This massif shelters the famous abbey of Saint Martin of Canigou built in the eleventh century on the northern flank of the Canigou and rehabilitated from 1902. She is perched on a rocky outcrop, at 1,100 meters above sea level, and dominates impressive gorges. The massif of Canigou also shelters the Priory of Sérabonne.