This route climbs from the village of Génos up a series of ten switchbacks before opening out, with a few more hairpins, onto the high mountain at the Col d’Azet. A short detour will take you into the Val Louron ski station. Although pretty quiet outside the ski and peak summer season it is worth stopping to take in the spectacular views in all directions.
The descent down to Saint-Lary-Soulan is more gentle, passing through alpine meadows and then narrow mountain villages. Watch out for the usual scatter of walkers, campervans, cyclists and animals, but the route is rarely busy even in high summer.
This route follows typical rolling roads in the foothills of the Pyrenees and takes in the challenge of the Osmets-Luby Hill climb. The route is best run west to east as it steeply climbs and then gently descends, crossing a series of ridges that are oriented north-south. This is a main road, so can be slightly busy, but the straights crossing the valley floors give ample overtaking opportunities. It is a rural area so tractors are common.
There are distracting views towards the mountains in the south and the route passes through a couple of pretty towns with chances to stop and refuel (coffee or petrol!).
The D393 from Trie-sur-Baïse to Galan winds for 18km through classic Hautes-Pyrénées countryside - rolling hills, covered in forest with the occasional flat stretch across the valley floors. One of our go-to routes when the mountains are snow covered. Some tight corners, but no hairpins and rarely much traffic, although be aware of logging lorries and mud in the forested sections.
One of the lesser known Cols of the central Pyrénées (to visitors, anyway) but very popular with locals, cyclists and walkers. After climbing up the wooded valley road you climb to higher open mountain roads, often narrow and with the slippery evidence of passing animals, however it is quite possible to do the entire route without passing another vehicle.
The villages on the south side are pretty and the route spits you out - or begins - on the road up to the Peyresourde from Luchon.
Equally good in either direction.