Printer-friendly version

Current Size: 100%

History of the area



The Boucharo pass (port de Boucharo, or Puerto de Bujaruelo in Spanish) - with an altitude of 2270m may seem high up, but compared to the surrounding mountainous territory of Vignemale and Gavarnie, it forms a low point in the terrain through which easy access can be made between France and Spain.


The site of Gavarnie was not always known to tourists around the world and it has not been marked by a pastoral tradition as strong as its neighbor "Gèdre." However, the village is located on a major route through the Pyrenees near the Boucharo pass. The church of Gavarnie was a must for travelers, who demanded the protection of the Virgin of the Good Pass before taking the road to Spain. In 1794, the Boucharo pass was subject to special supervision on the French side, since a camp of soldiers was sent to protect the territory from Spanish incursions, at the time of the war between the first Republic and the coalition of neighboring monarchies.


Gavarnie is the birthplace of the Pyrenean Mountaineering (discipline combining both climbing and mountain culture, the romanticism of high places) and the village is the birthplace of some of the most well known French mountaineers including the Passet family and François Bernat-Salles.


Famous people

Count Henry Russell

Franz Schrader, Pyrenean cartographer

Margalide and Louis Le Bondidier

Guides: the Passet family, François Bernat-Salles



GèdreAt an altitude of over 1000 metres, Gèdre gets its name from the local patois - "yer" is the summer pasture for livestock, itself a contraction of "Yerbo" - grass.


Gèdre has always been a pastoral village.


A hamlet of Luz for a long time, Gèdre became a village in its own right in 1789. The first families settled in the 12th century.

The town is extensive with over 14,000 hectares and is composed of many hamlets which developed at ancient places of herding with water points


The road between Luz and Gèdre was constructed in 1947. Before that only mules were used for transport.

The late 50s saw the construction of the Pragnères hydroelectric plant, one of the largest in France along with its supply network including Néouvielle lake.

  • Unesco
  • Patrimoine mondial
  • Grands Sites de Midi-Pyrénées
  • Gavarnie-Gèdre
  • Région Midi-Pyrénées
  • Union Européenne