Laruns, Pyrenees-Atlantiques tourism & sightseeing

Photo of Laruns (Aquitaine region)

Visit Laruns (Aquitaine, France)

Laruns is situated in a lovely setting the mountains of the National Park of the Pyrenees, 35 km south of Pau, in the Pyrénées Atlantiques department, with easy access to some of the finest scenery to be found in the Pyrenees.

Laruns village

The village itself contains some good examples of the typical Pyreneean architecture, as well as the 16th century village Church of Saint-Pierre and some houses with attractively designed lintels above the doors, also a large marble fountain in the main square. Although there are no great sites to detain you for long it is a pleasant town to explore.

Local events in Laruns

The weekly market in Laruns is held on a saturday morning, and on thursday evenings during the summer. On the 15th August each year there is a traditional dance, in costume, held in the village, and there is an important regional cheese fair held here the first sunday in october by the local cheese producers.

The mountains and lakes around Laruns

It is the position of Laruns in the mountains that attracts the visitors to the town. In the heart of the Ossau valley, steep wooded hills rise up around the village, which provides hikers with good access to the Pic du Midi d'Ossau at the head of the valley, and Gabas to the south of Laruns.

Among other natural highlights here are the picturesque lakes of the Ossau valley such as the Arremoulit lakes, Artouste lake, Bious-Artigues and Ayous, and famous mountain passes such as the Col d'Aubisque and the Col du Pourtalet.

The one hour walk around the edge of Lake Bious-Artigues is a good introduction to the region around Laruns, in a scenic setting in the shadow of the Pic du Midi d'Ossau, with longer trails around the other lakes or the Pic itself also starting from the lake.

While enthusiastic hikers will head for the peaks, others can enjoy the scenery very well from the Soussoueou and Brousset Valleys, or perhaps take the small tourist train that winds through the mountains and has a very scenic view across Artouste lake.

Numerous outdoor activities are available, including rafting, rock-climbing, mountain-biking, hiking and fishing among others. The brave might like to try canyonning, which includes walking, swimming and climbing in one sport that follows a fast-moving river through the bottom of a canyon (you need to do this with a professional guide, don't just go and leap in the river!).

Attractions nearby

There are many small villages and hamlets in the mountains around Laruns, often little more than a group of houses and a village church, such as Bielle, Assouste, Castres, Gabas and Béost.

France This Way comment: being in the Atlantic-Pyrenees department might lead you to think that Laruns is near the Atlantic but it is really quite isolated and the Atlantic sea resorts such as Biarritz are quite some distance from here: we took about two hours (each way) to drive here from the coast.

Although the area around Laruns is home to wild brown bears you are very unlikely to see one during your visit!

You can find more travel ideas in the Pyrenees-Atlantiques guide and the Aquitaine guide.

See also:

Map of Laruns and places nearby

Visit near Laruns with France This Way reviews

... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Pyrenees-Atlantiques

Address: Laruns, Oloron-Sainte-Marie, Aquitaine, 64440, France || GPS: latitude 42.983, longitude -0.416

Plan your visit to Laruns, Pyrenees-Atlantiques

Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby

  • Vallée d'Ossau: site of natural beauty
  • Col d'Aubisque: site of natural beauty (6 km)
  • Cirque du Litor: site of natural beauty (11 km)
  • Vallée d'Aspe: site of natural beauty (15 km)
  • Zoo d'Asson: zoo or wildlife park (20 km)
  • Grottes de Betharram: site of natural beauty (22 km)
  • Cirque du Lys: site of natural beauty (24 km)
  • Cirque du Marcadau: site of natural beauty (25 km)
  • Pont d'Espagne: site of natural beauty (27 km)
  • Eglise, Oloron-Sainte-Marie (monuments on French pilgrim routes): heritage site (28 km)
  • Oloron-Sainte-Marie: town of art and history (28 km)
  • Cirque de Saint-Engrace: site of natural beauty (33 km)

The French version of this page is at Laruns (Francais)