GR10 Description in the Pyrenees

The Central Pyrenees from Arrens to Fos

GR10 Gavarnie

Cirque de Gavarnie

The Atlantic Pyrenees consist of the Pays Basque and the Bearn. The GR10 part here is about 260 kilometers and starts in Hendaye and ends in Arrens.

The GR10 part that goes through the Central Pyrenees (Hautes Pyrenees and Haut Garonne) starts in Arrens and ends in Fos. This part is about 260 kilometers.

The Ariege consists of the Bergtoppers domain where the GR10 starts in Fos and ends in Merens Les Vals. This part is about 225 kilometers.

The last part, the Pyrenees Orientales, ends towards the Mediterranean and that GR10 part is about 210 kilometers. You start in Merens les Vals and you end in Banyuls sur Mer.

In 2007 we offer the whole year backup from Melles to Goulier. You must think of luggage transport combined with the reservation of your accommodations.
We also offer the whole year (from june till october) 2 self lead GR10 stretches: from Melles to Seix and from Seix to Goulier.
We offer luggage transport, reservation of your accommodation, deliver maps and a detailed description and we can take care for your lunches. We also walk the part from Luchon to Merens every year to check if something changed (cabins open/closed, difficulties etc.)

From here a description of the GR10 stretches that I have done. I started at Hendaye and ended in Arrens. Of course any one can use the description but you can also contact Bergtoppers.

The Central Pyrenees

I walked from Arrens Marsous to Luchon in september 2006.

From Arrens Marsous (877 meters) to refuge d’Illheau (1973 meters)

Central PyreneesArrens is a very nice place with the necessary shops (baker, butchers, supermarket) and a beautiful museum at the community house with al the animals in the house that you can see in the Pyrenees. It is worth a visit.
At 10am I start hiking and very soon I meet some English people who also spent the night in the gite. They are here with an English touroperator. Later I met 2 dutch people who are traveling with another dutch touroperator. So this must be a very popular place.
Very nice but I take the wrong direction. I am not following GR10 but GRP. Fortunately I come also to the Lac d’Estaing but I had to climb for it. Also a nice track…..
From the lake it is a pretty heavy climb to and it start also raining so I decide to wear my raincoat. The track is marked pretty good and around 17h00 I reach the refuge.
The owner is not there but there is a stand-in. He is not very hostile but finally I am allowed to enter the refuge and I can sleep here. In the refuge I meet Bryan and 2 people from Belgium. We have a cozy evening and a little later 3 french fishermen arrive. They made a reservation (half board) before but had to convince the gerant that he had to cook for them.
The next day we all leave and also the Belgium people do not want to use this hostal “kot” again.

** The stretch from Arrens to the refuge d’Illheau takes about 7 hours **

From refuge d’Illheau (1973 meters) to the gite in Grust (975 meters)

GR10 Illheou

At 9am I leave the refuge and say goodbye to Bryan and the belgium copple. It rains a little. The GR10 is marked well.
Very soon I arrive in Cauteret, a pretty big spa resort with a Tourist office a lot of shops and a bus connection. What a difference between the mountains and here. In Cauteret is also a Maison du Parc with more information about the Pyrenees.

** The stretch refuge d’Illheau to Cauteret takes about 3 hours **

It is still raining so I decide to walk further to Luz St. Sauveur. One hour before Luz there is a village Grust with a gite. I stop here because of the rain. The owner is not here but a client opens the door and let me in. Fortunateley when the owner comes I can stay here. She gives me a towel and after a shower I feel reborn!

The stretch from the refuge d’Illheau to the gite in Grust takes about 8 hours.

From the gite in Grust (975 meters) to the gite in Luz St. Sauveur (700 meters)

At 7h45 I find the key to unlock the door so I start hiking. I want to be at 9 am in Luz to catch a bus (if the bus goes) to go to Gavarnie. It is a little hard to find the GR10 but with the map I arrive at 9 am in Luz at the tourist office.
Like Cauteret is Luz St. sauveur also a spa resort met baths. You find also a lot a shops (sportswear0 a swimming pool, the champion and in summer you can jump of the Napoleon bridge (bungee jumping).

The stretch from the gite in Grust to Luz St. Sauveur takes about 1 hour.

** The stretch from Cauteret to Luz St. Sauveur takes about 5 hours **

From Gavarnie (1365 meters) to Luz St. Sauveur (700 meters)

The Tourist office is also the place from where the busses leave and my bus is still waiting. I am the only passenger and for 7 euros I arrive 40 minutes later in Gavarnie. There is a lot of snow at 2500 meter. In Gavanie it stopped raining so I decide to visit the Cirque de Gavarnie.

hiking GR10 Central Pyrenees Cirque de Gavarnie

Cirque de Gavarnie

It is indeed a very nice Cirque that will be very busy in summer. I take my time and take a look an the several souvenirshops that are here. Gavarnie is the most famous village in the Pyrenees because of the Cirque and his cascade of 423 meters. There are a lot of shops and accommodation. From here it is also possible to go the famous Breche de Roland.
The weather stays good so I decide to walk back to Luz St. Sauveur with the GR10. It is a bit hard to enter the GR10 but if you have found it, further on it is marked good. Today I met a French guy who started at the Mediterranean and is hiking for 21 days. He felled tired and is very wet so everything (rucksack, clothes) is wet and heavy weight. He is looking for a warm place to spend the night. I tell him that the gite I passed was closed because of renovation….
Around 7pm I stop hiking. I wanted to sleep in my tent but it is still raining so I find an old barn where I spent the night. I do not have a good night (hear a lot of animals) but the barn does not collapse.

The next morning I start hiking at half past 8 and at 11 am I enter Luz St. Sauveur. I meet the french guy here and he told me that he was allowed to sleep in the gite. He went back today because there would be snow at 2200 meters and he had to pass a col at 2700 meters. Probably a wise decision.
In Luz the swimming pool seems to be closed, where we should swim with the children. But in St Sauveur there is another swimming pool. I buy some dry socks in the Champignon and meet Bryan who is giving me a lunch.
Around 3 pm Ireen and the children come in Luz. The children are having a very good time in the gite and we drink some wine in the evening……

** The stretch from Gavarnie to Luz takes about 8 hours 30 **

From Cauteret to refuge de Baysellance (2651 meters)

This is a very difficult hike. Therefore it is recommended to start early, you have to climb about 1800 meters. You will reacht the highest point of GR10.

** The stretch from Cauteret to Baysellance takes about 8 hours 30 **

From refuge de Baysellance (2651 meters) to Gavarnie

This is a very beautiful but not so difficult hike. You can go to the top of the petit Vignemale (more than 3000 meters without backpack) or go down directly. After 5 hours you will reach the village Gavarnie where you will spend some time to take a lot of pictures.

** The stretch from Baysellance to Gavarnie takes about 6 hours **

From Luz St. Sauveur (700 meters) to cabin d’Ayges (2140 meters)
GR10 Tourmalet

Col de Tourmalet open

Bryan comes around 10 am and leaves a little later. We went to the town for a little visit and some time later Ireen and the children went back home.
I leave with food for the last 5 days what Ireen brought with her. After a while the GR10 seems to be blocked because of work. But there is a variant via Viella, Viey en Sens. An hour later I take my first break and catch up Bryan. The “Lazy Walker” enjoys walking and taking pictures (around 100 a day) so he needs some time. In the afternoon I arrive in Bareges. I meet some older french people who are looking very vital.

** The stretch from Luz St. Sauveur to Bareges takes about 5 hours **

Just outside Bareges you see signs with the famous Col de Tourmalet.

GR10 nat park

national park

Around half past 5 I see a sign with Cabin de la Pegue 1 hour 30 and Cabin d’Ayges 2 hours 30. I want to spend the night in cabin de la Pegue. Unfortunateley I do not find the cabin de la Pegue so I have to walk to the next cabin. It seems to be a very good cabin with some horses in the neighborhood. It is also a good track through a very beautiful valley only a bit misty………. So I hope that the weather will be fine tomorrow.

The stretch from Luz to the Cabin d’Ayges takes about 8 hours.

From cabin d’Ayges (2140 meters) to Vielle Aure (800 meters)

I leave around 8 and the weather appears to be good. After half an hour I see a sign with Col de Madamete and the reservation de Neouivielle 0h45. Around 9 I am at 2441 meters and walking through the snow not so much but it is snow. In an national park you are not allowed to put on a tent, take a dog with you, make a fire, leave garbage or bike.
At a quarter past 9 I am at the highest point of the GR10 (unless you came via refuge de Baysellance), the Col de Madamete at 2509 meters. This col indicates also the border with the national park Neouvielle. An hour later you come to a lake with a special place for a bivak.

GR10 cabane

Today is a very nice stretch with several lakes that you pass, the Lac d’Aamour, the Lac d’Oredan and Lac d’Oule. Around 1 I had lunch at refuge de l’Oule.

** The stretch from Bareges to refuge de l’Oule takes about 8 hours **

From refuge de l’Oule you can pick up the GR10 at the other site of the lake. There you find also another cabin but that one is closed. Today is another beautiful day with a lot of descending and ascending. Around half past 6 I arrive at the camping in Bourdisp just outside Vielle Aure where you can spend the night for 5 euros. In Vielle Aure you find a tourist office and a big supermarket.

The stretch from Cabin d’Ayges to Vielle Aure takes about 12 hours.

** The stretch from refuge de l’Oule to Vielle Aure takes about 6 hours **

From Vielle Aure (800 meters) to Granges d’Astou (1139 meters)

Around 8 I start walking because I want to be in Loudenville before noon to buy a bread. In France all the shops close around midi. I arrive in Loudenville at half past 11 so I can buy a bread in the supermarket. There are some other shops and a tourist office. It is also possible to take money from the wall. An hour later I arrive in Germ where I have lunch with my bread.

** The stretch Vielle Aure to Germ takes about 6 hours **

In Germ is a centre de montagne with swimming pool that looks very good. The auberge was less guest free. A few hours later You come to a beautiful place where you find a cabin. Because it is so early I decide to walk further but it was a pity. During the ascend to the col I got really tired so I stop several times. I think I hear a wolf or a beer but a sheppard tells me later that this is a male deer. Later I see for the first time (in this period) some deer.
If You come to the col de Couret d’Esquierry at 2131 meters, then you pass the border from the Haut Pyrenees to the Haut Garonne.

Haute Garonne: From Col de Couret to Melles

Around 7 I arrive at the gite/auberge in Granges d’Astou. The woman gives me a nice room with a balcony but she tells me that 3 bikers will arrive. A little later they arrive and they eat in the restaurant. Because I want to leave early I sleep downstairs so I do not wake them. They will put my mattress back.

The stretch from Vielle Aure to Granges d’Astou takes about 11 hours.

From Granges d’Astou (1139 meters) to Luchon (620 meters)
gr10 espingo

refuge espingo

I start hiking at 8 and see a sign: Lac d’OO (1h15) and Lac d’espingo (2h45). Both lakes have a refuge where the water should be good for fishing.

** The stretch from Germ to refuge d’espingo takes about 8 hours **

After almost 4 hours I reach the col. From here the view is very good and you can also see the other col on the other side where you have to go to. You reach this col after one hour walking and I met other people at that col. From Luchon it is possible to go by car or by cable to superbagneres. That is the ski station above Luchon. From Superbagneres you walk in 1 hour to the col.
I take my lunch at this col and a little later I go to Superbagneres. From here you have to go down for 1200 meters.
I arrive Luchon at 5. Luchon is the biggest spa resort in the Pyrenees where you find all the facilities you need (Tourist office, casino, nightclub, supermarkets, railwaystation, banks, hotels etc).

The stretch from Granges d’Astou to Luchon takes about 9 hours.

** The stretch from refuge espingo to Luchon takes about 6 hours **

This is walked in 2005

From Luchon (650 meters) to Fos (544 meters)

GR10 Arthur

This is a very long stretch.
The GR10 goes next to the railway that you can pickup if you go pass under the railway. You walk on the road and soon you reach Luzet. From here you ascend via a little path to the gite d’Artigue. Here you can spend the night.

** The stretch from Luchon to the gite d’Artige takes about 3 hours **

From the gite d’Artigue you climb further. In the beginning easy, later a bit heavier. After 2 hours you pass a lake that can be dried up. After the lake you find a cabin where you could spend the night.
After the cabin you pass a sink from where you can go to Fos via the Cretes or another path. Of course you take the cretes. Also because I had some difficulties to find the other path.
After the Cretes you are descending to the right. Soon you come to a very special place near a little lake. The rocks are very special here.
From here it is another 3 hours descending to Fos.
In Fos you find a baker, a butcher, a hotel and a gite. You can also come here by bus.

The stretch from Luchon to Fos takes about 11 hours.

** The stretch from gite d’Artigue to Fos takes about 8 hours **

From Fos to Melles takes you about an hour and is not very interesting.