Tarbes is in the Midi-Pyrenees region, to the north of Lourdes. It is the capital of the Hautes-Pyrenees department and the town markets itself as being the gateway to the Pyrenees which lie to the south.

Explore Tarbes

There are attractive views of the snow-capped mountains from the town and the first Pyreneean ski resorts are about half an hour drive from Tarbes. It is not a town that features high on the tourist trail: the highlight of a visit to Tarbes is perhaps its parks and gardens.

Massey gardens in Tarbes

The most important of the gardens in Tarbes is the Jardin Massey - a substantial (25 acres) park dating from the 19th century - and much as you might expect to find in 19th century England. The sprinkling of statues and monuments in the park, which also features many interesting species of trees, make for a pleasant exploration.

You will see 14th century cloisters in the park, remains of an abbey that once stood here, and a museum in a large pink moorish style building.

Another park in the town of note is the Parc Bel Air, attractive above all for its view of the mountains. The tourist office will give you a map showing the best route to explore the green spaces of Tarbes.


Other sites of interest within Tarbes include the Cathedral Notre Dame de la Sede and a small museum dedicated to wartime deportation and resistance in the region.

The town hall, built at the beginning of the 20th century in the classical style, is a substantial building with a campanile on the Place Jean Jaures. You will also notice a surprising number of fountains as you explore Tarbes, most of these dating from the 19th century when the town was at its most prosperous.

Stepping back to the First World War, the birthplace of Marshall Foch, one of the French heroes of that war, is now a museum dedicated to the Marshall, it is also a listed National Monument of France.

The Napoleonic Haras (horse breeding and training) centre also plays an important role in Tarbes, as it has for the last 200 years.

Tarbes cathedral

Attractions nearby

Love it or hate it? You certainly have to visit Lourdes to decide while you are in this region.

In complete contrast to Lourdes, to the south-west of Tarbes you can visit the many chambers of the caves at the Grottes de Bétharram, one of the most important cave systems in the region and with numerous impressive rock formations.

You can find more travel ideas in the Hautes-Pyrenees guide and the Midi-Pyrenees guide.

See also Find Tarbes hotels

Photos of Tarbes

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Lourdes is of course very famous as a pilgrimage centre which attracts millions of pilgrims and visitors each year

Lourdes guide


Maubourguet makes every effort to hide its impressive monuments but take the time to explore the narrow streets and all will be revealed!

Maubourguet guide


It is the abbey church in Saint-Savin, and the surrounding countryside, that make a visit recommended

Saint-Savin guide
Col du Tourmalet

Col du Tourmalet

The Col du Tourmalet is a mountain pass in the Pyrenees, famous because the Tour de France passes here very often

Col du Tourmalet guide


The large town of Pau is well known for the views from the belvedere that cover a large section of Pyrenees mountains

Pau guide
Chateau de Pau

Chateau de Pau

The Chateau de Pau is an impressive combination of the renaissance and 19th century architectural styles

Chateau de Pau guide

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

Tourist classifications for Tarbes

Tarbes has received the following tourist classifications: ; village in bloom (ville fleurie) 4*

Address: Tarbes, Midi-Pyrenees, 65000, France || GPS coordinates: latitude 43.2307, longitude 0.0726

Plan your visit to Tarbes, Hautes-Pyrenees

Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby

  • Marshall Foch house: national monument
  • Jardin Massey: remarkable garden
  • Ourdis-Cotdoussan église St Jacques (monuments on French pilgrim routes): heritage site (21 km)
  • Grottes de Médous: site of natural beauty (22 km)
  • Grottes de Betharram: site of natural beauty (26 km)
  • Zoo d'Asson: zoo or wildlife park (30 km)
  • Gouffre d'Esparros: site of natural beauty (31 km)
  • Col du Tourmalet: site of natural beauty (36 km)
  • Pau: ville fleurie 4* (36 km)
  • Cirque du Litor: site of natural beauty (42 km)
  • Cirque du Lys: site of natural beauty (43 km)
  • Jardin de la poterie Hillen: remarkable garden (43 km)

Market days in Tarbes, France

Regular market(s) are held in Tarbes each Thursday all day. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)

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