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le GR 78: Bagnères de Bigorre to Lourdes

#1
Bonjour, mes amis

...If you are following the GR78 or le Voie du Piémont and have arrived in Bagnères de Bigorre I would encourage you to continue along the GR78 to Lourdes. The views are very fine. This stretch can be done in two stages or, if the weather is fantastic and one commences at first light, in 10 -12 hours. The Tourist office in Bagnères de Bigorre has a brochure and can organise accommodation if needed.

The ascent from Bagnères de Gigorre is gradual along a series of zigzags to 1100m, (Les Allées Dramatiques) after which one heads across pastureland and through a forest until, voilà, one arrives at a stunning expanse in full view of snow capped Pics (not to be missed, awesome). Then one follows a broad trail to le rond-point d’Esquiou where there is a sleep-out with fireplace. The area is a zone pastorale, a riot of bird song and shrilling insects.

Grand descents and ascents follow until one reaches the bridge at de Soulagnets. Here there is a choice: turn left and follow the old GR78, 1h 40 m ascent (miss out on the café in Germs); or turn right and follow the new GR78, 2 hours climbing a serpentine road (restaurant; sleep in a Yourt or B&B).

From Germs to Juncalas again, the views are very fine….. etc, etc….

When I passed by in May the hospitalier in Bagnéres de Bigorre was promoting another route to Lourdes, a 6 hour short cut mostly on roads via Pouzacs, Ossun-ez-Angles & Les Angles.

Cheers

LK
 
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Felipe

Veteran Member
#2
So, an old GR, the new GR, plus an alternative recommended by hospitalier. Ok, getting lost is part of the experience of this lovely way.
Buy anyway, how do you distinguish between the old and new GR? I mean, are there different signposts?
 
#3
...Buy anyway, how do you distinguish between the old and new GR? I mean, are there different signposts?
Hi, Felipe

well, at the bottom of the hameau de Soulagnets one crosses a little bridge. At the end of the bridge one must turn either right or left along the D18, there's no other option.

No, there isn't a signpost for the old or new GR78 just the usual red + white GR symbols. Those indicating the old trail (left) are quite faded, those turning right are bright and newly painted.

On a lamppost at the end of the bridge somebody has taped a map outlining the old and new routes. The brochure which I acquired at the Tourist Office in Bagnéres de Bigorre only describes the old route (left) not the new one (right).

I walked the new route and wished I hadn't. It was 2 hours uphill in the searing heat on a sealed, serpentine road, a killer. The scenery was superb, though, and in Germs I did enjoy a coffee and a chat....

The GR 78 symbols from Bagneres de Bigorre to Lourdes were, in my opinion adequate. I never felt lost.....

cheers :)
 
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#4
So, an old GR, the new GR, plus an alternative recommended by hospitalier. Ok, getting lost is part of the experience of this lovely way....
Hello again

I set off from Carcassonne along the GR78 without a guide book just a list of villages, distances and places to sleep. Along the way I met other pilgrims following le Voie du Piemont using a guide book. The routes they chose had fewer ascents and descents than the GR78 and more road walking. Most evenings we met up and compared experiences. Getting lost or losing the signs along the way happened to us all....

A lovely, lovely experience, yes

ps there is another route between Saint Bertrand de Comminges and Lourdes which one can follow. Published by Radio Camino it is in 4 stages, 81 kms and primarily on roads. This is the route the hospitalier in Bagneres was promoting.
 
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#5
To see a map of the new GR78 trail at Soulagnets follow this link to Géoportail
* in 'Chercer un lieu' type in soulagnets, 65200 Bagnères-de-Bigorre then click

The pink trail you see is the new GR78 turning right after the bridge.

The old route can also be traced on the Geoportail map. Here's the Tourist Office description:

de Soulagnets à Germs sur l'Oussouet:
*(google translate) Cross the bridge and take the D18 left for 200m. Before a bridge, take on the right the tarmac track that rises between two houses and follow it to its terminus. Pass in the courtyard of a farm to find on the right a grassy path that goes up in the meadows: it rises straight down the slope in direction of a first barn that is left on the right. Continue to climb and pass below a second barn.

*Continue in an area of forest and coppice, turn left towards a ruin and then cross a gate. Continue along a moorland to a trail that runs to the left. Follow it to a farm (Pla de la Peyre).

*At the farm, turn left (West) towards Germs sur l'Oussouet. Follow a road and follow it for 1.8 km. It descends and then ascends to a crest (Calvary).

The GR 78 continues to the left.

*Follow the road on the right for 1 km and reach the village of Germs sur l'Oussouet.
 

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Felipe

Veteran Member
#6
Merci, j' ai pris des notes.
I walked from Lourdes to SJPP; this previous section is on my wish list.
What you describe is typical: there is the easy (meaning mostly paved, local roads) way, the "pleasant weekend walk" (sometimes marked as the "Chemin de Saint Jacques"), and the GN (which has usually stunning views...and is quite tough).
I liked the idea of a less structured, still fluid way. And quieter, certainly.
If you are in the "Chemin" right now, be careful at Rieulhes (after Lourdes); that's the village where everybody get lost.
Bon chemin!
 
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KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
#7
Bonjour, mes amis

...If you are following the GR78 or le Voie du Piémont and have arrived in Bagnères de Bigorre I would encourage you to continue along the GR78 to Lourdes. The views are very fine. This stretch can be done in two stages or, if the weather is fantastic and one commences at first light, in 10 -12 hours. The Tourist office in Bagnères de Bigorre has a brochure and can organise accommodation if needed.

The ascent from Bagnères de Gigorre is gradual along a series of zigzags to 1100m, (Les Allées Dramatiques) after which one heads across pastureland and through a forest until, voilà, one arrives at a stunning expanse in full view of snow capped Pics (not to be missed, awesome). Then one follows a broad trail to le rond-point d’Esquiou where there is a sleep-out with fireplace. The area is a zone pastorale, a riot of bird song and shrilling insects.

Grand descents and ascents follow until one reaches the bridge at de Soulagnets. Here there is a choice: turn left and follow the old GR78, 1h 40 m ascent (miss out on the café in Germs); or turn right and follow the new GR78, 2 hours climbing a serpentine road (restaurant; sleep in a Yourt or B&B).

From Germs to Juncalas again, the views are very fine….. etc, etc….

When I passed by in May the hospitalier in Bagnéres de Bigorre was promoting another route to Lourdes, a 6 hour short cut mostly on roads via Pouzacs, Ossun-ez-Angles & Les Angles.

Cheers

LK
Nice to see you're on the road again ;)

Bon chemin!
 
#9
...If you are in the "Chemin" right now, be careful at Rieulhes (after Lourdes); that's the village where everybody get lost.
Bon chemin!
Thanks, Felipe. I passed through Rieulhes without difficulty. All the way from Carcassonne the trail is beautiful: wild flowers + tiny strawberries, lush vegetation, excellent hiking....

After Oloron Ste Marie I hiked over le Col du Somport then followed el Camino Aragonés to Puente la Reina before hiking back to St Jean PdP. Now I am resting up and preparing for something new...
 

sjeanmarc

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aachen (Aquis Gran - Aix la Chapelle) -Santiago-Finisterre-Porto
#10
Bonjour, mes amis

...If you are following the GR78 or le Voie du Piémont and have arrived in Bagnères de Bigorre I would encourage you to continue along the GR78 to Lourdes. The views are very fine. This stretch can be done in two stages or, if the weather is fantastic and one commences at first light, in 10 -12 hours. The Tourist office in Bagnères de Bigorre has a brochure and can organise accommodation if needed.

The ascent from Bagnères de Gigorre is gradual along a series of zigzags to 1100m, (Les Allées Dramatiques) after which one heads across pastureland and through a forest until, voilà, one arrives at a stunning expanse in full view of snow capped Pics (not to be missed, awesome). Then one follows a broad trail to le rond-point d’Esquiou where there is a sleep-out with fireplace. The area is a zone pastorale, a riot of bird song and shrilling insects.

Grand descents and ascents follow until one reaches the bridge at de Soulagnets. Here there is a choice: turn left and follow the old GR78, 1h 40 m ascent (miss out on the café in Germs); or turn right and follow the new GR78, 2 hours climbing a serpentine road (restaurant; sleep in a Yourt or B&B).

From Germs to Juncalas again, the views are very fine….. etc, etc….

When I passed by in May the hospitalier in Bagnéres de Bigorre was promoting another route to Lourdes, a 6 hour short cut mostly on roads via Pouzacs, Ossun-ez-Angles & Les Angles.

Cheers

LK
I walked this way. Yes the views after Bagneres when you are after Monné mountain are one of the most beautiful in Pyrenees with the Pic du Midi just in front of you.
The interest of this way is also the Cotdoussan church. If you have the opportunity to visit the church, the retable is a marvel. The church is part of the monuments of the UNESCO world heritage for the way to Santiago in France.
 


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