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Bareges

After Chamonix, Barèges is the oldest ski resort in France and it doubles up as an amazing spa town too. The turn of the millennium saw it become part of the Grand Tourmalet area, shared with La Mongie, meaning you now have one of the Pyrenees’ biggest ski areas to explore.

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At a glance: • Tree lined pistes • Grand Tourmalet ski area • Historic spa town

Great for: • Off piste • Cheap ski holidays • Ski & spa

After Chamonix, Barèges is the oldest ski resort in France and it doubles up as an amazing spa town too. The turn of the millennium saw it become part of the Grand Tourmalet area, shared with La Mongie, meaning you now have one of the Pyrenees’ biggest ski areas to explore.

Bareges Resort

Barèges sits on the western side of the Col du Tourmalet – there ain’t no mountain road higher than this in the French Pyrenees, which in the summer acts as a famously fiendish stretch of the Tour de France. In the winter, it’s slap bang in the centre of a ski area, which connects Barèges with the resort of La Mongie on the other side of the pass. They joined hands in 2000 to form the Grand Tourmalet, which at 100km is one of the biggest ski areas in the Pyrenees.

It mightn’t be a household name like Chamonix, but after the legendary mountain town, this is actually the second oldest French ski resort. The local ski school opened its doors back in 1921 and the first lift was installed a few years later in 1936.

And as if having a sizeable ski area and historic status weren’t enough, Barèges isn’t just a ski resort. It’s a spa town too, home to Les Thermes des Barèges where hot healing springs have attracted visitors for donkey’s years. Unlike other Pyrenean spa towns, it wasn’t the Romans who unveiled the benefits of bathing here – but sheep. Local shepherds noticed that when injured, their flock would lie in the water to recover, which lead to the discovery of the healing properties of the springs… Would ewe believe it?! Napoleon famously sent his troops here to bathe their wounds, and these days the wellness facilities in the Cieleo spa are incredible.

The town itself is authentically Pyrenean with more modern additions built in recent years and the Bastian river running through the middle - all surrounded by wooded valleys.

Stats & FAQ

Location: Midi-Pyrenees, France

Established:

Open: December – April

Downhill: 100km 61 runs

View our detailed Bareges snow forecast or snow report and see all live webcams, piste maps, road and travel maps and lift pass prices. For a picture of historic snow conditions see the snow depths month by month with our Bareges snow history.

Nearest Airport & Transfer Time:
Tarbes Lourdes Pyrénées Airport (LDE)54km, 1 hour
Pau-Uzein Airport (PUF)103km, 1.5 hours
Toulouse-Blagnac Airport (TLS)215km, 2.5 hours
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced
  • 38 runs

  • 17 runs

  • 6 runs

Top Altitude:2500m
Bottom Altitude:1400m
Resort Altitude:1250m
Longest run:
Slope Orientation:N S
Vertical Drop:
Skiable Vertical:
Night Skiing:No
Glacier:No

Snow Report

  • Top
  • 15cm
  • Base
  • 100cm
  • Forecast
  • 130cm

Web Cam

Bareges web cams
Downhill Runs:100km 61 runs
Beginner slopes:
Intermediate:
Advanced slopes:
Lift Pass Price: €223 (adult 6 day)
Nearby resorts: Cauterets

Skiing/BoardingSkiing in Bareges

If you’re driving, there are car parks by the lift stations at Bareges and Tournaboup, otherwise a bus runs between the resorts. We love the variety of skiing in the Grand Tourmalet, with wooded runs around Bareges and open, sunny terrain in La Mongie.

Beginners can learn the basics in Laquette, progressing onto the easy Tournaboup green for a confidence boost. There are oodles of blue runs, reaching over to the La Mongie side to let improvers really explore. The Gaubie blue piste back to Barèges is a terrific route through the trees.

For intermediates, the Castillon and Caoubere chairs each serve two red runs – Neouvielle and Caoubere are often left ungroomed after snowfall, for a technique testing, bumpy descent. The wide, sunny slopes in the Col de Tourmalet area are some of our favourites for a cruisey and scenic descent.

Black runs include Ricao, which the grooming machines often leave be for a steep, mogulled challenge. Over around Mongie, Coume l’Ayse mixes open fields with flatter stretches and testing walls.

Getting a guide to show you the off piste terrain is well worth it: from natural gulleys and chutes to powder fields, there’s some incredible terrain – especially around Pourteilh, Pic Quatre Termes and Pic du Midi. We’ve heard great things about the ski touring in the Neouvielle national park too.

Bareges Apres Ski

This isn’t a big party resort, and the atmosphere is generally more family friendly and food focussed. That said, you can find a good bar if you need one: La Laquette’s one of the most popular après spots for drinks on deckchairs and hearty burgers. Patrick provides a warm welcome to Bar L’Isba, where you’ll find good wine and awesome tartiflette.

For foodies, Chez Louisette is worth seeking out (via a drive, then short walk) for regional food in a rustic setting.

The thermal baths in Barèges make a good stopping off point after skiing where you can relax in the hot sulphuric springs. Located at the top of the main street, the thermal baths have a wide range of water therapies including whirlpools, saunas, thermal baths and showers, water massage and an aqua-gym with exercises specifically to develop the skiing muscles. Lourdes with its world famous Grotto (cave) and healing waters makes a good day trip from here. The story of the Grotto dates back to 1858 when an "apparition" appeared several times to a local peasant girl, Bernadette Soubirous. During these sightings the young girl was apparently told to dig at a certain spot and when she did a spring began to flow. The water from this still flowing stream has shown remarkable healing power although it contains no curative property that science has been able to identify. Lourdes has become a modern shrine with worldwide visitors coming here to bathe in the waters.

Besides rejuvenating sessions in the Cieleo Spa, activities include paragliding, snowshoeing, dog sledding and snowmobiling.

Best time to go

Best time to ski Bareges

When is the best time to ski Bareges?

If you’re skiing here early on in the winter, the Tourmalet pistes are usually sunny and the runs down to Bareges nice and sheltered by the trees. Meanwhile, the Pourteilh area towards La Mongie is north facing, with high altitude pistes from 2500m. This is where you’ll find the best conditions if you visit later in the season.

Peak Dates

Ski pretty, tree-lined pistes and enjoy warm Pyrenean hospitality over Christmas in Barèges.

Celebrate the New Year in Barèges with skiing, spa sessions and delicious local cuisine.

With holidays tending to be cheaper in this neck of the woods, booking Half Term in Barèges is a brilliant way to get some quality time on the snow without having to spend too much.

The snow tends to hold out well for Easter in Barèges, and if conditions aren’t great in the afternoon there’s always the spa to escape to…

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Families in Bareges

The ESI Ecoloski run a range of group lessons for children aged 3-12, using a gentle snow playground for learners and the snowpark and slalom for more experienced sprogs. Set off to explore the Grand Tourmalet while they’re in good hands, or slip away to the spa for some well-deserved R&R…

If you’re a family of adventurers, book a snowmobile or husky safari and fly across the landscape, while broods of history buffs can visit the Musee Salies and Musee du Marbre to learn about the area’s past.

GroupsGroup Holidays Bareges

A ski resort that doubles up as a spa resort can be brilliant for groups of skiers and non-skiers. While SNO lovers set off to discover all four corners of the 100km Grand Tourmalet, those who prefer a slower pace of life have all manner of wellness facilities and treatments at the Thermes de Barèges. Share stories of the day over drinks at La Laquette or L’Isba, or book a table at Chez Louisette for a grand group dinner.

More Bareges Holiday Resources


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