Leisure and relaxation in Midi-Pyrénées, the paradise of thermal waters

After months of hard work -who has it-, family problems, personal conflicts… we finally find ourselves with those long-awaited days of rest that never seemed to come. Days that body and mind need to disconnect. However, on too many occasions the remedy ends up being worse than the disease. The first problem arises even earlier: where to go? What if it is very far, if it is expensive, if it is cold… It seems that you cannot have everything. Or if?

There are many places in this world worth visiting, but not so many that offer true well-being and, above all, with facilities. Because nobody wants to complicate life on vacation;  simply (sometimes not so simple) enjoy. One of those places is Midi-Pyrénées, an extensive but not at all crowded region in the south of France that has become, without falling into ‘tourism’, one of the most attractive natural beauties of our beloved Europe.

Because the French Pyrenees is much more than snow and mountains that touch the sky. It is landscape, nature, history, culture, gastronomy… in short, relaxation = happiness. And you don’t necessarily have to take your skis to get to this magical place. Midi-Pyrénées offers a pleasant climate that allows you to discover it throughout the year. With or without snow, its rural villages, its dollhouses, its hidden alleys and its affable inhabitants invite you to enjoy quiet but complete tourism, suitable for all tastes and ages.

Spas and wellness centers

But if there is something worth highlighting in addition to its endless skiing or hiking proposals, it is its thermal offer. Up to nine spas and thermal leisure centers are distributed throughout the region, endowing Midi-Pyrénées with the richest collection in all of France in this genre.

Jacuzzis, jet pools, bubble beds, waterfalls, musical baths, hammams, fun showers, saunas, massages, facial and body treatments… Indeed, we also have that in Spain. But not with views, and even within itself, of several of the world’s most impressive peaks.

An incomparable landscape that can be appreciated not only through the windows of each center, but also from exterior lagoons that allow you to immerse yourself in its thermal waters while literally being outdoors and between mountains. A unique sensation.

Route through Midi-Pyrénées

Just a two-hour drive from Toulouse and next to the Pyrenees National Park is the town of Cauterets, famous for its thermal springs and access point to Pont d’Espagne, a protected natural site at an altitude of 1,500 meters above sea level. municipality whose waterfalls and mountains evoke the strength of a wild landscape that transports you to another era, when places of this beauty could still be found without urbanization.

Where to eat: Restaurant L’Abri du Benqués

Where to rest: Les Bains du Rocher Wellness Center (image of the lagoon outside the spa)

Where to sleep: Hotel du Lion d’or

In just one hour from Cauterest, you can reach Bagnères de Bigorre, a spa town with a long history that had its peak during the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries as a center for cures and wellness treatments thanks to the properties of its waters.

Where to eat: Restaurant La Courte Echelle

Where to rest: Aquensis Wellness Center

It takes just over an hour from Bagnères de Bigorre to reach Luchon (image above), a city surrounded by 13 of the most famous peaks in the chain, such as Pico Aneto (3,404 meters), the highest point of the Pyrenees. Larger and more commercial than the previous towns, it offers all kinds of offers and facilities for skiers, cyclists, hikers and other sports lovers.

Where to eat: Restaurant Les Caprices d’Etigny

Where to rest: Luchon Health and Well-being

Where to sleep: Hotel Acta

An hour and a half from Luchon is Saint-Lizier (image above), recognized as ‘the most beautiful village in France’. It is not for less. A stopover on the Camino de Santiago, this ancient Gallo-Roman city transports us to a small world of charm with unbeatable views of the Pyrenees. You cannot miss visiting its cathedral, a curious 18th-century pharmacy and the Palace of the Bishops, although just walking through its squares and terraces is enough to feel the peace radiating around you.

Where to eat and sleep: Hotel Chateau de Beauregard, in Saint Girons.

In an hour and a half by road we enter the Ariège department, where there are at least two essential visits: the medieval castle of Foix and the Prehistory Park, a unique place to discover the origin of man; In addition to its elegant El Grand Atelier museum, it has participatory workshops for children and adults where they can learn the first hunting techniques, art and even fire lighting.

Where to eat: Restaurant Le Boutequin (in the same park)

Where to rest: Les Bains du Couloubret, in Ax les Thermes.

Where to sleep: Hotel Le Chalet

More information

How to go: Air Nostrum, with connections from Madrid and Seville to Toulouse (1.15 and 1.45 flight hours respectively).

How to get around the region:  Transportes Paseíto

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