I've been to La Mongie a few times, in both winter and summer. There's something about ski resorts, surrounded by huge mountain peaks, that makes you feel alive. Perhaps the realisation of your own insignificance!
I adore this ski station - partly because it's not big and full of tourists like some of the more popular stations in the Alps, partly because of the amazing tartiflette and (my favourite) fondue you can get in the local hostelries, but mostly because it has something no other ski resort has (to my knowledge!) - a huge observatory on one of the peaks.
It's mind-boggling to contemplate that the building of the observatory began in 1878, long before helicopters and modern cable cars. You'll understand what I mean when you're up there!
You cannot visit Bagneres-de-Bigorre, Tarbes, Pau or even Toulouse without taking a detour to La Mongie to ride the cable car to the Pic du Midi observatory, it truly is incredible.
From the nervous multi-lingual banter and giggles in the cable car, to the astounding views of the Pyrenees, it doesn't get much better than this. If you're a photographer, and you time your visit right, you will get some amazingly beautiful shots.
And if you're really adventurous, why not stay? There is some accommodation at the peak (that needs booked well in advance!) it's not too fancy, but that's not what it's about. During your stay you can eat well, and get up in the night to look at the stars through some of the high-powered telescopes. Wow!
One of the best, and most memorable places I have ever visited.
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