The presence of the astronomical observatory of the Midi de Bigorre makes this the most accessible top of the Pyrenees. Both in its French side and in Spain. And it is that up there, at more than 2,700 meters of altitude, a cable car goes up. And once there, we are much closer to the stars. If you want to check it out, come with us.
History of the observatory of Bigorre midiObservatory - Anibal Trejo
Astronomer François de Plantade ascended to the top of the Midi de Bigorre in the French Pyrenees in 1714. He already knew that he was going to contemplate a lavish starry sky, but what he saw left him fascinated. And since then the peak became famous as an ideal place to see constellations, planets and astronomical phenomena.
That fame was growing, so in 1878 it was decided to build an astronomical observatory there, which at 2,778 meters of altitude was going to be one of the highest in Europe. Something admirable, since at that time everything was climbed on foot and in cavalries because the current cable car, of course, did not yet exist.
The rise to the Midi de Bigorre currentlyCable car - Anibal Trejo
Instead, todayit only takes about 10 minutes to get on the cable car, which starts from the winter resort of La Mongie, one of the most visited by French skiers in the Pyrenees.
It is an ascent that saves a drop of 1,000 meters and that has a really spectacular stretch. It is the one that goes from the Pic Taulet, to 2,342 meters, to the Midi de Bigorre. A section in which there is only cable between the two peaks, without any support, vibrant but safe. Of course, perhaps those who suffer from vertigo should refrain from climbing.
By the way, This cable car works every day of the year, except if it is very windy. The reason is that thanks to him people who live continuously in the observatory of the Midi de Bigorre are supplied, which has also become a fantastic tourist destination for a day in the mountains.
The surprises from the topTelescope - Anibal Trejo
It is amazing what awaits us in that observatory. Of course there is all the first level scientific instruments and facilities for all the staff that works there. But also,there is a cafeteria where you can have a drink, a museum to learn more about the cosmos and an exhibition About this place.
In that exhibition, among other things, it is discovered that since the Midi de Bigorre has collaborated with NASA programs, for example in relation to the trips that were made to the Moon with the Apollo missions.
Astronomical tourismMidi de Bigorre - Anibal Trejo
The Midi de Bigorre observatory promotes different activities that combine tourism and science. For example, it is possible to reserve a place to sleep up there, and thus see some wonderful starry nights.
Or also on the esplanade of the observatory, surrounded by the domes of the telescopes, activities are done like looking at the sun during the day, to see the constant solar flares emitted by our nearest star.
"From the smallest place in the world, any man can contemplate the immense grandeur of the sky."
The other views of the Midi de BigorreMidi de Bigorre - Philippe Garcelon / Flickr.com
And in addition to the vision of the stars, the ascent to the summit of the Midi de Bigorre, it also offers an exceptional panoramic view of the mountain range. From there you can see the highest peaks located in Spain, such as the Aneto.
In addition to that, there are also other mountains of two national parks, that of the Pyrenees in Gallic territory, and that of Ordesa in Hispanic lands. A panorama, no doubt, spectacular.
But there is still a very interesting vision. And it is the one of the nearby port of the Tourmalet, which concludes at the foot of the Midi de Bigorre and which, like the observatory, is a good destination for an excursion. In this case for cycling fans who want to emulate the Tour de France professionals.