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Overview

Between the snow-capped Pyrénées that form the Spanish border and the foothills of the Massif Central, Midi Pyrénées includes both gentle agricultural landscapes and rugged plateaus, along with the more lofty Pyrenees. Dating back to the earliest days of sport skiing in the 1930s, the thermal spa town of Barèges is one of the oldest ski areas in France. It is one of 38, which have a total of 600 miles of marked trails and terrain, although many of them are too small to draw skiers from beyond nearby areas. Most have at least some facilities for snow-making. The largest is Domaine du Tourmalet, in Barèges and La Mongie, with 60 miles of ...

Between the snow-capped Pyrénées that form the Spanish border and the foothills of the Massif Central, Midi Pyrénées includes both gentle agricultural landscapes and rugged plateaus, along with the more lofty Pyrenees. Dating back to the earliest days of sport skiing in the 1930s, the thermal spa town of Barèges is one of the oldest ski areas in France. It is one of 38, which have a total of 600 miles of marked trails and terrain, although many of them are too small to draw skiers from beyond nearby areas. Most have at least some facilities for snow-making. The largest is Domaine du Tourmalet, in Barèges and La Mongie, with 60 miles of trails and a snow park, served by 20 miles of lifts. Saint-Lary also has 60 miles of trails and five snow parks, divided among three areas. Of these, Pla d'Adret is favored by families and Espiaube by experienced skiers, who prize its two-mile Mirabelle trail, one of the longest in the Pyrénées. Cauterets includes two areas, of which Le Cirque du Lys is for downhill skiing and boarding and Le Pont d'Espagne is for cross country skiing and snowshoeing. Outstanding food and drink (think Roquefort cheese, foie gras, black truffles, cassoulet and Armagnac) are draws any time of year, as is Toulouse, known as the Rose City for its predominantly brick buildings; it has more Renaissance mansions than any other city in France. Albi, birthplace of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, exhibits more than 1,000 of his original works in its museum.

Juliette Rogers
About the Expert

Juliette Rogers is coauthor of the guidebooks Eating New England: A Food Lovers Guide to Eating Locally, Secret Providence and Newport, and two Thomas Cook guides on France.

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Juliette Rogers for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: The Midi-Pyrenees region is located in Southwestern France, with Toulouse as its capital.
  • Language: French, Occitan
  • Currency: Euro
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Late December through mid-late-March