Pic du Midi

Forums General Discussion Pic du Midi

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    Hi all,
    Looking for a bit of advice.

    I’m hoping to take about a weeks holiday, later this year, all being well, to pay a visit to the Pic du Midi observatory. I don’t wish to fly, and would much prefer to take the journey by either coach or train. Has anybody else in the Association attempted to do anything like this, and if so, what went well, and what didn’t? I’m budgeting for around the £1k mark, as it would just be myself. Any tips, suggestions or pointers would be most helpful. I’m thinking of late September, as I want there to be snow!

    Thanks in advance!

    Neil Morrison

    Hello Robert  If  you can  find a contact number  for Daiman Peach he may be able to help as  he wrote an article published in  I think it was astronomy now  a few months ago..  He was  describing how he and a team went to the Observatory to take high resolution pictures of the Planets.  Hope this  helps. 

    Neil Morrison

    Mr Leonard Entwisle

    A Google search with these parameters ‘pic du midi ciel et espace by rail and coaches’ will give you plenty of information to get you started. Sadly (with another UK  Yorkshire astronomer) we missed out on addition to IOTA-ES occultation conference in Spain that took in a visit to the Observatoire. Too long a trip by road for us at the time. Hope your trip comes off.



    Thank you Neil. I will look into that angle.


    Cheers Len,
    I will let you know how I get on. Obviously it very much hinges on the COVID situation regarding travel.

    Graeme Coates

    I have visited Pic du Midi, but I took the hard route and went up there by bike! (The Col du Tourmalet is a classic Tour and Vuelta climb :-).

    You’ll need to get the bus to La Mongie to visit, as this is where the cable car goes from. I think (in normal times) there is a bus from Lourdes or Tarbes to La Mongie, which may suit you as both have SNCF stations. There was talk in summer 2020 about the French Government reintroducing the Paris-Tarbes sleeper service, but this might not happen quite yet, and there is (again in normal times) still the Paris-Toulouse sleeper, and Toulouse-Tarbes/Lourdes via train is a couple of hours.

    There is also the Cité de l’Espace in Toulouse which I can recommend as well. 


    Thanks Graeme, that is very helpful indeed! I am hoping of course that I don’t have to delay this until next year! Very brave of you to do the climb by bike, you’re obviously fitter than me! 🙂

    Graeme Coates

    No problem – I should have said, the TGV may also work if you don’t want the overnight. I would probably look to do Paris -> Lourdes/Tarbes direct rather than going via Toulouse – the former is about 5hr, the latter 4h something plus the 2hr back…

    Really like the Pyrenees – it’s a great part of the world – super food, mountains, cycling, walking, places to visit etc (though personally I’d get in and out of Lourdes as quickly as I could…)   


    Lourdes too touristy?

    Graeme Coates

    Well, yep – touristy; if you’re not into the religious aspects, which is the main reason why so many people visit each year, there’s so many better places to go nearby.


    Hi Robert

    The Pyrenees are certainly a beautiful destination for a week’s holiday. I too am planning to go there (maybe in August), walk up, and maybe climb, to the Observatory.

    Alternatively, I would recommend the Campo Imperatore Observatory on the Gran Sasso d’Italia at 2130 m above sea level. I live in L’Aquila, a town at the foot of the Gran Sasso, and I go up to the observatory and beyond from the base station of the cable car very often.

    Come on, come to Abruzzo, I’ll guide you up to the Calderone glacier and to the western (2912) or eastern (2903 m) summit. These are the highest peaks on the Italian peninsula. Check out youtube and you will be convinced that it is worth it.

    In any case, I wish you an excellent holiday.


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