‘Funiculi funicular’ and the Pic du Jer

Having bombed out on doing the Pic du Midi Bigorre cable car ride we decided that we must definitely make an effort to go somewhere else high in some other scary-looking machine.

On the outskirts of Lourdes is the Pic du Jer with access by a funicular railway – a mountain-scaling train/inclinator – I don’t know how else to describe it.

Operational since 1900, it’s segmented so that each ‘cabin’ remains horizontal while ascending and descending. There are two trains sitting on a central track, one at the top and the other at the bottom. They’re connected to each other by cable so when one sets off the other is activated to head in the opposite direction. (One of them wouldn’t want to get the timing wrong – there’d be all sorts of chaos). There’s a point midway where the track splits into two sections and they pass each other before returning to the central track.

So off we went with a preliminary jolt and slowly trundled up the mountain at a 45 degree angle. Lourdes stretched out below plus the surrounding fields, pastures and mountains. It was beautiful.

There was a small restaurant at the top and a viewing platform a further 5 minutes up a track. Now here was a view – 360 degrees of absolute magnificence. Apart from the view of Lourdes, the snow-capped mountains stretched 180 degrees from the west across next to us and over to the east. The remaining 180 degrees seemed to be a vast plain of patchwork quilt fields and grass for as far as the eye could see. Spectacular.

Tina and Heather

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