An evening on top of the world at Pic du Midi – French Pyrenees
An evening on Pic du Midi in the French Pyrenees not only made me feel like I was literally on top of the world but was a real highlight during my trip in the Hautes Pyrenees At 2877 metres, Pic du Midi France gives you 360 degree panoramic views over the Pyrenees and was the perfect place to watch the sunset during my evening.
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It is so impressive that I could see Pic du Midi from most points that I visited during my trip in the French Pyrenees.
Pic du Midi was only opened to the public in 2000 and was classified as a National Nature site in 2003 because of the beauty of its surroundings. This amazing place is a wonderful learning centre, it houses an astronomical observatory and a star museum, which explains the history and the exploration of the universe.
Tourists who come up to Pic du Midi don’t realise that the areas that are open to the public are only the tip of the iceberg. There is an Interministerial Building that is completely self-sufficient and buildings that are reserved for science, like the Gentili Dome and its 1m telescope financed by NASA.
The best bit is that you can go to Pic du Midi all year round, so you will never have to miss out.
The Ascent and Descent
The ascent and descent from Pic du Midi is an adventure in itself, especially because I am personally scared of cable cars. It is a 15min journey from La Mongie to the top which includes two cables cars and changes over half way.
The first cable car I can handle as it is only going upwards to the first point where you change. It is the second cable car that has the most impressive views but it also the hairiest ride for me, as you go from one peak to the next peak and you are suspended in midair.
You will start your evening catching the cable car ride from La Mongie after 5pm, with your other fellow visitors. Once everyone is at the top and the daily visitors have left, the cable cars are closed.
Around 11 – 11.30pm once you have had your dinner and the evening activities completed, the cable car is reopened to take you back down to La Mongie.
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- Make sure that you have your special evening ticket because you won’t get up with general admission.
- You are more than welcome to go up before the evening’s events start at 5pm.
On the Summit
Once you’ve arrived, there are plenty of things to do and see before watching the sunset and enjoying the dinner. From being taken back in time in the planetarium to braving the walk out onto the pontoon with a glass floor, there is something for everyone one.
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Your hardest part is deciding what you are going to do first.
The best bit is you can learn not just about the centre but also about the Hautes Pyrenees and the solar system. There are various information boards at different points with landscape graphics to help you identify peaks across the Pyrenees.
There is even a telescope installed on the terrace that you can use to identify the mountains.
My favourite time of the day is sunrise and sunset, there is just something about them that makes everything clam.
After exploring Pic du Midi in daylight and just before we are about to have dinner, was time to head back outside to watch the sunset. I was not disappointed and it was definitely a magical experience. It was like the sky was on fire and the colours were dancing in the sky across the mountain peaks.
I was even lucky enough to be able to see through telescopes and binoculars that were designed to look directly at the sun.
New: The Pontoon in the Sky
If you have a head for heights and you want an adventure then check out the new Pontoon in the Sky, which opened this season. It is a 10m metal narrow walkway suspended at 2877m over nothing but thin air with a glass floor at the end to give you that extra thrill.
They say they are trying to achieve the desired effect of flying. However, I have to admit straight up that I was too scared to go out to the end of the Pontoon, it was windy and I definitely felt dizzy just standing at the entrance of the walkway.
- It is FREE and If you can handle it, you will be provided with some stunning views and some amazing photo opportunity.
- Focus on the horizon to brave vertigo.
Take a walk around the highest museum in Europe and learn about the history of Pic du Midi and how it was constructed. You can see and learn about the people and scientists in the area through modules and photos.
- Don’t worry if you don’t read French, as a lot of the information is also in Spanish and English.
After the sun has set and we had a wander around, it was time to take in the panoramic views of the Pyrenees from the restaurant, while we had our dinner. We enjoyed a bottle of wine (between 4 don’t worry) with a traditional 3 course meal prepared for everyone that was attending the evening by our chef.
Outside the evening program, the restaurant is open to anyone that is visiting Pic du Midi during the day. Unlike the evening set menu, the restaurant provides several choices on the menu. I understand that in summer when the weather is warmer you can sit outside on the terrace for a meal.
- Make sure that you let them know beforehand if you have any dietary requirements, as this is a set menu.
If you don’t want the evening experience to end or you just want to make your time on Pic du Midi a more unforgettable experience, then you can always spend the night up there in one of the 15 bedrooms that they have available to the public.
All the rooms have spectacular views across the Pyrenees and were originally used by scientists who would go up there to study the stars. You can spend the night all year around when the Pic du Midi is open.
Unfortunately, due to the forcast weather conditions the following morning, we were unable to stay the night on Pic du Midi. As we were not going to be able to get off the mountain. But I can only imagine what it would be like waking up and feeling like you are in the sky.
- If you don’t want to be disappointed and miss out, book your overnight as soon as you can online.
- A return trip by cable car to the summit and entrance to the museum – Adult: € 38 Child (under 12) : € 23
- Children under the age of 5 are FREE
- Family (2 Adults and 2 children) € 92
- All inclusive cost for an evening with dinner – Adult: € 99 Child (under 12) € 47
- A night on the Pic du Midi – Single Room from €339 per person Double Room from €399 per person
How to get to Pic Du Midi
The closest international airport to Pic Du Midi and Grand Tourmalet Ski Resort are Lourdes/Tarbes International Airport (Which is where I flew into). The best way to get to get there is either via transfer or car hire as there are no direct trains, it all depends on your budget.
- Toulouse International Aiport is two hours away and there are more regular international flight options available.
Due to the size of the Grand Tourmalet ski resort and where Pic Du Midi is located, there are not many options in regards to transfer companies. The best way to get there is to hire a car. It is roughly an hour drive from Lourdes, which will be a mix of highways and winding roads.
- There are no direct trains or buses, so your best option is to catch a train to Tarbes Train Station and then a bus from there to Bagnères and La Mongie.
- The number of places for this evening is limited to 80 people, by reservation only.
- It can get really cold up there, so make sure you wear warm clothes.
- Beware that if you have a drink that the ratio is three times greater at Pic than at sea level. So if you have a glass of wine, it will be like you are having 3.
- Take sunglasses and sunblock especially if you are there during the day as the Pic enjoys 300 days of sunshine
- If you have a Grand Tourmalet ski pass, you can go up for free.
- Access to the summit is by cable car. From La Mongie the ascension takes 15 minutes.
- The tours and talks are mainly in French, so double check online or speak to them.
Thank you for reading this article ‘An Evening on Pic du Midi – French Pyrenees’, I hope it helped you to decide where to go for your next weekend Ski trip. Pic du Midi is definitely a paradise in the sky.
Have you been to Pic du Midi or the Pyrenees France before? I would love to hear your experiences in the comments below.
Feeling adventurous or looking for other ideas, here are some of the other amazing activities you can book in the French Pyrenees
Video Highlights – From the top of the Pic du Midi