Breche de Roland

The Breche de Roland is a massive gap in a wall of rock in the Pyrenees between France and Spain. This stunning piece of geology, the Breche de Roland should not be confused with the Breche de Ronaldo, the massive gap between the incisors of the talented Brazilian footballer. 

Breche de Roland

The easier trail is now a little bit harder as poor drivers have to leave their cars at Le Col de Tentes, about a kilometre from the Porte de Boucharo. Here you can see the reason why.

Breche de Roland

A slightly hazy view of the Vallée des Especières with a view back down towards Gavarnie.

Breche de Roland

Once the Porte de Boucharo has been reached, the trail starts. Amazing views to the North (of Le Taillon and other mountains that form the natural border between France and Spain) and to the South (with the Pic de Tentes and zillions of other peaks).

Breche de Roland

No worries about losing this trail. It is common to hear marmots whistling to warn other marmots of your arrival. I was about to shoot one – with his camera – when a group of Spanish tourists arrived with their dog. After a brief conversation, the marmots had disappeared.

Breche de Roland

The only slightly difficult part of the route, following the path of the river up between the boulders. This section is more exciting in Spring when there

Breche de Roland

There are chains fixed to the rocks to help you up – or at least to stop you slipping on the wet rocks.

Breche de Roland

The Glacier de Taillon – looking a lot smaller than it does on my nine-year-old map. When will an American President sign up to Kyoto?

Breche de Roland

The amazing view towards Gavarnie. Shame about the haze.

Breche de Roland

This is the Refuge des Sarradets with a view of the Breche behind. It seemed half of France and Spain had decided to go there that day.

Breche de Roland

This is the glacier in front of the Breche. Despite appearances there is a safe path across the glacier. 

Breche de Roland

What are those sheep eating? Snow perhaps?

Breche de Roland

A final view of the Breche de Roland as the weather improved. Look closely and you can see people hiking across the glacier. Not a difficult hike but dangerous when the (frequent) fogs arrive within minutes.

Practical Information
Sadly the bus to Gavarnie from Luz only runs in Summer. So you will have to cycle up to the Porte de Boucharo at other times of the year.