«This is the most mysterious of buildings, by the most mysterious of architects; it's nature's Colosseum, it's Gavarnie»
As soon as you come out of the village, the cirque of Gavarnie jumps into sight, making you gasp, making your heart beat faster! A monumental amphitheatre sculpted by nature, more than 5 kilometres wide, its sheer 1,500-metre-high cliffs streaked with hundreds of waterfalls, backed by a series of peaks rising upwards of 3,000 metres.
A masterpiece of nature, almost too perfect to be real. In Victor Hugo's wonderful words, this is "the most mysterious of buildings, by the most mysterious of architects; it's nature's Colosseum, it's Gavarnie!"
Gazing up at this spectacular colosseum, you'll find it hard to believe it's not the only one of its kind. And yet, not far from here lie Estaubé and Troumouse. These are, like Gavarnie, cirques of breathtaking beauty listed as World Heritage sites.
Gavarnie was once the cradle of "Pyrénéisme", a spiritual movement that inspired adventurers everywhere to set out on great expeditions in the 19th century. The graveyard remains a moving testimony to the leagues of sherpas who used the village as their basecamp, and to their countless exploits. Nowadays, the village is popular not just with experienced mountaineers but also with all kinds of people who come to admire the majestic surroundings. No need to scale summits to experience the magic of Gavarnie!