This is a tradition which is still remaining in the Pyrenees.
In June, the farmers of the lower villages, such as Campan (see my last "off the beaten path tip") drive their herd of cattle and flocks of sheep towards the unfenced hig mountains. The animals will remain there, running free and grazing the fresh high mountains pasture all Summer, until it's getting colder again. Then they are brought back to the stables.
The farmers recognize their animals because they have a coloured stamped mark on their back, and also remain in the same herd. Some of the sheep and cows wear a bell and this jingling sound was omnipresent in La Mongie. The animals don’t restrict theirself to the pastures, they graze all the grass there is, and they walk shameless into the back yards and in the centre of the town, searching between the houses and the cars after a tasty weed sprouting between the pavings. Idyllic, … but watch out for their "presents". :-)
La Mongie, village in the bend
"Very small town"
Location: the first town , 400m East downhill the Col du Tourmalet, depending from the larger city Bagnères-de-Bigorre in the valley.
This is a typical ski-village with numerous ski lifts. Lots of tourists in winter, few in Summer.
The village is quite artificially built in a bent. Restaurants, hotels, condos and souvenir shops is all what you can expect.
Still, the place is unique for it's scenery.
The view we had over the peaks and the Pyrenean meadows, was really worth the trip. The photo above was made on the balcony of our condo. Check out my hotel tip.
La mongie is a "pastorale zone", which means that sheep and cows run free in the village and the surrounding meadows. Don't drive too fast, the animals lord over the road. (watch the videos)
"At the foot of the "Pic du Midi""
La Mongie is famous by the tramway to the "Pic du Midi".
An attraction for the wide view over the peaks and the aerologic observatory on the top.