A rambler's clearly written diary notes and photographs about the beautiful Village of Laruns (525 m. altitude 1425 population) nestling in the Valley D’Ossau, in the centre of the Pyrenees National Park, consisting of a research-based approach to discovering the importance of Laruns within its geographical area.
Surrounded by spectacular gorges, mountain streams and awesome mountains it is a great base for a walking and hiking holiday (probably the best way to see the area.)
On arrival in the region, Pau with airport is the nearest large city 40 kms to Laruns and well-connected by a combination of Rail and Road transport.
On 15 August the people of Laruns celebrate Our Lady when the players of pipe and tambourine (Pyrenean string drum) lead the procession of dancers from the church to around the central square, where couples dance to the music of pipe and tambourine.
Château d’Espalungue is nearby where, according to legend, Aramis the musketeer died. Every 1st weekend in October, the delicious Ossau cheese is celebrated with numerous festivities.
The District of Laruns stretches to the Spanish border and includes superb sites protected by the Pyrenees National Park. It is quite easy to follow the fantastic mountain road (used by The Tour de France) through gorges where you can see eagles and griffon vultures circling overhead up in to the mountains to also visit Eaux-Chaudes (alt. 675 m) Hydrotherapy centre (Commune of Laruns) in a breathtaking setting of deep gorges and surrounding mountains. Illustrious French and Spanish characters came to be treated at ‘Algas Caudas.’ In the 19th century rheumatism, respiratory and fertility conditions were also treated there. Further on you will come to Fabrèges the last village before Spain where you may also arrive at the ski resort of Artouste, specializing in snow board sports, facing the Pic du Midi Mountain.
A great tourist attraction is the famous Artouste - Fabrèges ‘little train,’ originally built to take workers and materials to the building site. The Little Train of Artouste is the highest in Europe (2000 m), allowing you to discover the wonders of nature, the azure blue Lake Artouste and enjoy a guided tour of the underground tunnels.
Or, if you prefer somewhere closer to Laruns Village, why not directly cross the Valley D’Ossau (only about 2 miles) to the magical little village of Béost (520 m. altitude 197 population) where you can follow the village’s heritage tour to admire and learn more about the village’s floral, religious, political and professional (set square, compass) inscriptions so typical of the Ossau Valley that decorate the walls, stones and lintels of its buildings. The scallop shell decoration, the 12th century castle and the church are reminders that Beost is a stage on the Santiago de Compostella pilgrimage.