Le Pic du Jer

Tél:0033 (0)562 940 041

picdujer@ville-lourdes.fr

59, avenue Francis Lagardère

65100 Lourdes

From the town center you can take the city bus or the little tourist train every half hour

Book on line

 

Opening times for 2016

From march 25 to july 3 and from september 5 to october 30

Everyday from 9.30 am to 6 pm

Last climb :  5.15 pm

From July 4  to September 4

Everyday from 9.30 am to 7.00 pm

Last climb : 6.15 pm

From october 31 to november 2

Everyday from 9.30 to 6 pm

Last climb : 5.15 pm

From december 23 to 31 december (closed 25)

Everyday from 10.00 am to 5 pm.

Last climb : 4.15 pm

 

 

 

The site

History of the Pic du Jer funicular railway

In 1858, Mary's apparitions to Bernadette Soubirous led the bishopric of Tarbes to have a basilica built and pilgrims started to come.
The railway arrived in Lourdes on 9th April 1866 and since then the number of pilgrims has not stopped increasing..  


Agrandir

It was very natural to develop the touristic potential of the region and the idea of a funicular railway to the summit of the Pic du Jer at the edge of Lourdes was given the go-ahead.

Work started in August 1898 and ended 15 months later, in December 1899. The funicular railway was operational by May 1900.

It was inaugurated in June of the same year.
The speed with which the work was carried out was due to the presence of an overhead cable which, every day, carried up to 50 tons of stones from a quarry situated in the Petit Pic du Jer. All the rubble from the tunnels and the cuttings were removed with wheelbarrows or shovels, then put back into the hillside.
The normal load of dynamite was doubled in order to save labour. Thus, rubble was blasted out on both sides without any human effort.
The builder, the Compagnie du Funiculaire du Pic du Jer, benefitted from a 75-year concession, which was extended because of the war, but the town of Lourdes reclaimed its property in 1986. Today the funicular railway is exploited by the local council.

Technical specifications :

- The track
Track length 1110 metres, slopes from 28% to 56% (about 1 in 3.5 to 1 in 2)
Track gauge 1 metre
Altitude of the lower station 450 metres
Altitude of the upper station 930 metres
Difference in altitude 480 metres
Two tunnels of 70 and 65 metres cut into compact limestone
The cutting is 400 metres long and 10 metres deep
The viaduct: 12 arches, 200 metres long, 4 metres wide, 18 metres high .

- The funicular railway
From the latin word funiculus, meaning small string, it was Stephenson who invented it in 1825 to help steam engines get over English hills.

The basic principle of funicular railways resides in the balance between two vehicles linked by a cable: when one cabin is at the lower station, the length of the cable is such that the second cabin is at the upper station.
In order for the cabins to be able to cross each other on a single track, there are points at the mid-point; in Lourdes, the passing track is situated on the viaduct.
The initial movement is achieved through the driving force of electricity.
Electric 185 horse-power engine situated in the higher station.
Cable: 1155 metres long.
Two cabins, weighing 5500 Kg when empty and with a capacity of 80 people.
6/10-minute trip, maximum speed 11 km/hour

The restaurant

Restaurant Haut de Lourdes

The bar-restaurant and its panoramic terrace next to the upper station offers

- Hot and cold drinks, ice creams, cakes.
- Meals at lunch time and snacks at all times.
- Group meals on booking
(capacity 80 people)


The Grottos

The highest grottos in France

40,000 years ago, when the glaciers melted, water percolated through and dug a hole in the Pic du Jer's summit. The moraines settled there and blocked the entrance, only allowing access to a passage a few metres long.

Work was carried out and the cave was excavated up to a depth of 40 metres. Bones were found there!


see map

They were open to the public in 1958.


Guided visit with Hélène, every afternoon in july and Daily every morning and afternoon in Augus.

The observatory

At an altitude of 1000 metres

Situated at the 1000-metre summit, there is a path from the upper station, a 360° panoramic view over the town of Lourdes, Pau and its surrounding countryside, Tarbes, the Gaves valley, Argelès-Gazost and the central Pyrenees range, Pic du Midi, Vignemale, Montaigu, etc.


Wildlife

roe deer, moufflons, vultures...

A site like this has two major assets which attract certain animals, namely its altitude together with the fact that there are plains and valleys nearby, but the animals often take refuge on the side of the Pic which is most difficult to access.
You can catch sight of roe deer, moufflons, fawn-colored black vulture, Egyptian vulture