Area reccomendations

Hi Everyone,

I am looking to move to the Hautes Pyrenees this year and am searching for suitable areas. I am a keen hiker and therefore am looking for a village near the hiking routes.

Someone has suggested St-Laurent de Neste.....does anyone have knowledge of this region?

Thanks in advance


Your welcome Tandy.

Sounds great what your up too.

I too work mostly from home and I too am a avid mountain lover!

Interesting to hear your motivation to move from the Massic Central (Auvergne?) to the Pyrenees.

What about the Alpes? Have you given thought? I personally prefer the Pyrenees as their less known (to me too).

Thank you everyone for your helpful replies and suggestions. This has given me a lot of information and has helped me a lot.

I am very used to living in the mountains as I used live in the ski resort in the Massif Central, but want bigger mountains!! I work from home. so just need internet, so remote and a satellite dish is fine.

I look forward to hopefully meeting up with some of you in the future :)

we look at this documentaries to get a glimpse of the region and people.

Les carnets de Julie

you may find it helpful too:

Why the enthusiasm for out of town grandes surfaces. The benefit of towns like Bagneres (and to a degree Lannemezan) is the range and quality of the independent shops which not only provide wonderful food but also add to the pleasure of buying food and talking French. The fact you can choose which butcher to use for which meat (all locally produced) and debate which boulangerie is best for which type of bread or patisserie is to me a mark of civilisation. Supermarkets are, of course, good for washing powders etc and exist in profusion but don't do much for the local economy or the preservation of family businesses.

I agree the Lannemezan Plateau does tend to have better weather, but if like us you are situated only just south of the A64, the wet and foggy days are not that frequent - as you point out, the further down the valley you go the worse it is.

Lannemezan is a nice small town and much less busy than Tarbes, but just down the road is Montrejeau with supermarkets etc and St Gaudens - although the smell from the factory there sometimes pervades the whole town, so it would not be my first choice!!

I have visited Nestier and the twelve small buildings, but did not know its history, so thanks. There are mana, many walking routes in the area and usually very quiet!

We visit/shop in Lannemazan usually on a weekly basis as it has most of what Tarbes does without the numbers of shoppers. In fact they have/are opening up new out of town areas and you can get virtually anything you need. Other than there, the best you'll find in a 20K radius will be a small Intermarche.

However it does rain (a lot) in that area, and has the fog etc. going further into the mountains is progressively more remote, but ideal if a Hermits life is what you want. For convenience and weather I would advise you live North of the A64 where you can see the Mountains (even moreso than being in them) but not be part of them. Personnally I would drive/Cycle to a starting point for taking a walk, but I am not a hardened/keen Walker.

During the autumn I spent a few days walking from near the Col d'Aspet via St Bertrand-de-Comminges, across the Baronnies to Gerde (our village) following the GR78 (one of the chemins de Compostelle). Over 6 days I passed one person following the route in the other direction, and saw no one in my direction outside of the villages (and not many in the villages).

Did you know that when St Laurent-de-Neste replaced Nestier as the chef lieu of the canton in the 19th century, the curé of Nestier built the rather bizarre 12 stage Calvaire above Nestier to make sure it continued to be known and visited - at least that is what I was told by the patron of the Monastère de Mont Arès.

I agree with you that being somewhere south of the A64 and north of the mountains is good, and the benefit of being at the top of a valley is that it gives easier access to several different valleys for walking, raquetting or skiing.

Hi Tandy,

I am in the neighbouring village of Tuzaguet, about 10 minutes drive west of St Laurent de Neste.

As mentioned by others, it depends on your needs. The villages bordering the Neste river are all very well served by roads and services such as Internet, but as you move further into the mountains, the roads get more difficult and Internet connection can get flaky.

In addition, living just a little back from the mountains, we don't often end up in the thick mist / fog which shrouds the mountains, which is a fairly regular occurrence in winter!! Also, bear in mind that being at the top of the valleys gives easier access to them all, as you can nip along the autoroute, but once in the valleys, getting to the others involves twisty mountain roads, some of which are closed for 4 - 6 months of the year by snow.

There aare good hiking route everywhere! In Tuzaguet, there is a local walking group that goes out every Monday afternoon. I can introduce you if interested.

Unless you really want the mountain life, I would recommend one of the small villages at the top of the valleys. I have always liked La Barthe de Neste as it is big enough to have shops etc, but still a small quiet village. Plus it is at the top of the road to St Lary Soulan and just outside the Barronies area - a wonderful walking area with tiny villages and little else!

Hope that helps


We live in Gerde just outside Bagnères-de-Bigorre and look out on the Pic du Midi. Depending on what balance you want between isolation and access to services there are several good villages in the Vallée de Campan and Bagnères is a lovely spa town with good shops and services. Lots of hiking in this valley, and of course, if one wants to go further plenty more in the adjoining valleys

No, not of the haute Pyrenees - but it's fair to say it's all beautiful :-)

It really depends on your needs besides hiking access. Are you retired? Do you need good Internet, do you need to be near a large town? Have you transport? Do you like the cold (and sometimes wet) winters? Do you like snow? Do you enjoy taking twice as long to get anywhere because of twisty roads?

If you are moving permanently, i'd advise a visit beforehand to get a feel of the different areas. Each small valley will have it's own micro climate - and % of foreigners.

Villages and towns not dependant on tourism (or at least not booming with tourism) can be very quiet, and we are actually losing services more and more every year.

How near the hiking routes do you need to be? As in, can you drive to reach one? Or do you intend to walk? Here is a site for trails - (you can select english language).

Good luck with your search and welcome to the Pyrenees :-)

Hi Bryan,

Thank you for your advice.

Definitely a remote hideaway...I am quiet a hermit!

Thanks Damaris,

I am really looking forward to some daily hikes! I have visited both in the summer and winter and think the mountains are just amazing. I found the people really friendly too.

Hi Tandy,

I live about an hour from St Laurent de Neste in the Vallée de Castelloubon. It's a beautiful area with seasonal work in summer and winter.

Definitely good for hiking, you have an amazing choice of mountains and all pretty much on your doorstep or within 40 minutes to an hours drive.

I would say that anywhere in and around these areas is great but then I absolutely love my region.

I would also consider the neighbouring department of Haute Garonne and even the south west of Ariege (where I am). All three departments border Spain with some fantastic hiking for all abilities. You will probably end up hiking through all of them anyway. Do you want a remote hideaway or somewhere with more year-round facilities?