The Little Train Of Artouste: Embark On A Dizzying Journey In The Pyrenees
If you spend your holidays in the Atlantic Pyrenees, don't miss one of the most beautiful train rides in the region! The Artouste little train winds its way up the mountainside at an altitude of 2000 m and offers everyone the chance to see the wonders of the mountains. Come and discover the local fauna and flora, as well as the magnificent lake of Artouste.
The highest tourist train in Europe
Contrary to what one might think, the highest tourist train in Europe is not in the Alps but in the Pyrenees!
It criss-crosses the mountains in the Bearn region, in the heart of the Ossau Valley, not far from the Spanish border.
This tourist train called petit train d'Artouste passes on the mountainside at nearly 2000m altitude on the highest track in Europe.
Like a tightrope walker on its narrow tracks, it crosses landscapes of breathtaking beauty for the great joy of tourists.
A railroad created to build a dam
Before becoming a must-see tourist attraction in the region, this train was used for the construction of the Artouste Dam.
Starting in 1920, the Compagnie des chemins de fer du Midi began laying a construction railway to access the dam construction site.
For 8 years, the little train of Artouste allowed the transport of 2000 workers to the construction site, as well as material, fuel and tons of cement necessary for the construction of this giant.
Today, passengers arriving at the Gare du Lac can still admire this colossal dam inaugurated in 1929.
A must-see tourist attraction
Today, the train continues to carry technicians to the hydroelectric plants below the dam.
But above all, every summer, the little train of Artouste is back in service to offer tourists passing through the region an unforgettable excursion.
Thanks to this vertiginous railway, winding at an altitude of nearly 2000 m, the mountain landscapes become accessible to all, including seniors and families with young children.
From the village of Fabrèges, you just need to take the Sagette gondola for a ten-minute ascent. It will take you from 1250 m to 2000 m of altitude while offering you a breathtaking view of the Pic du Midi d'Ossau.
From there, you will board the train for a 10 km trip on the mountainside, in the heart of a preserved nature. The departure station is located in a ski resort in the Pyrenees.
The journey offers 55 minutes of wonder and reserves some strong sensations... Keep your eyes open because it is not uncommon to see marmots along the railway!
At the end of this spectacular journey, another wonder awaits you... Count 20 minutes of walking to reach the lake of Artouste. You will have 1h20 of free time by the lake with the Discovery ticket or the whole day with the Escapade ticket.
Please note that this little train gives access to many hiking trails.
The little train of Artouste is accessible from the village of Laruns, 20 km away.
In summer, it runs every day (from 12 June to 3 October 2021 this year). The timetable varies in low and high season.
The fare includes the gondola ride and the return train with a longer or shorter stop at Artouste lake.
Reservations are recommended (see the website below).