27 Best Places And Things To Do in Tarbes, France

Tarbes is a charming city located in the Occitanie region of southwestern France. With its rich history, picturesque landscapes, and vibrant culture, Tarbes offers visitors a delightful mix of attractions and activities. Here are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Tarbes:

1. Jardin Massey

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One of the city’s most enchanting spots, Jardin Massey is a beautifully landscaped park spread over 12 hectares. It features elegant gardens, serene lakes, and colorful flowerbeds. Visitors can take leisurely strolls, have a picnic, or simply relax in this peaceful oasis.

2. Tarbes National Stud Farm

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Known as the Haras de Tarbes, this prestigious institution is dedicated to horse breeding and equestrian heritage. Visitors can explore the grounds, admire the majestic horses, and learn about the history and traditions of horse breeding in France.

3. Tarbes Cathedral

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The Cathedral of Notre-Dame de la Sède is an impressive architectural gem that dates back to the 12th century. With its stunning Gothic style and intricate details, the cathedral is a must-visit for history and art enthusiasts.

4. Museum of the Hussars

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Tarbes has a strong military heritage, and this museum pays tribute to the Hussars, a renowned cavalry regiment. It houses an extensive collection of uniforms, weapons, and artifacts, offering visitors a glimpse into the history of these brave soldiers.

5. Place Marcadieu

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Located in the heart of Tarbes, this vibrant square is a hub of activity. Lined with cafes, restaurants, and shops, it’s a great place to soak up the local atmosphere, enjoy a meal, or simply people-watch.

6. Pyrenees National Park

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Tarbes is an excellent base for exploring the Pyrenees mountain range. The Pyrenees National Park is a short drive away, offering breathtaking landscapes, hiking trails, and opportunities for outdoor activities such as mountaineering, skiing, and wildlife spotting.

7. Parc des Expositions

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If you happen to visit Tarbes during a fair or exhibition, make sure to check out the Parc des Expositions. This modern venue hosts various events throughout the year, including trade shows, concerts, and cultural exhibitions.

8. Local Cuisine

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Tarbes is known for its gastronomy, particularly its regional specialties. Don’t miss the opportunity to savor the famous Tarbais beans, Garbure (a hearty vegetable and meat soup), and Gateau à la Broche (a traditional cake). Explore the city’s charming restaurants and cafes to discover more local delicacies.

9. Fête de Tarbes

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If you’re lucky to visit Tarbes in July, you can experience the city’s annual festival, Fête de Tarbes. The festivities include street performances, live music, fireworks, and a vibrant carnival atmosphere.

10. Les Halles de Tarbes

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This covered market is a paradise for food lovers. Discover a wide range of fresh produce, regional cheeses, meats, and other local specialties. It’s an ideal place to immerse yourself in the flavors and culinary traditions of Tarbes.

11. Musee International des Hussards

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For those interested in military history, the Musee International des Hussards is a must-visit. Located in the nearby town of Tarbes-Lourdes-Pyrenees Airport, this museum showcases an extensive collection of artifacts, uniforms, weapons, and memorabilia related to hussars from around the world. It provides fascinating insights into the cavalry and its historical significance.

12. The Bigorre Golf Club

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Golf enthusiasts can enjoy a round of golf at The Bigorre Golf Club, located just outside Tarbes. This 18-hole course offers stunning views of the Pyrenees mountains and provides a challenging yet enjoyable experience for players of all skill levels.

13. Lourdes

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While not technically in Tarbes, the nearby town of Lourdes is a significant pilgrimage site and is worth a visit. Known for its religious significance and the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, Lourdes attracts millions of visitors each year. Explore the Sanctuary, attend a Mass, or simply take in the peaceful ambiance of this spiritual place.

14. Les Bains du Rocher

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If you’re looking for relaxation and rejuvenation, head to Les Bains du Rocher. This wellness center and spa in nearby Cauterets offers a range of thermal baths, saunas, steam rooms, and wellness treatments. Pamper yourself and unwind in the soothing waters, surrounded by the stunning mountain scenery.

15. Rue Brauhauban

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Take a leisurely stroll down Rue Brauhauban, a charming street lined with cafes, shops, and historical buildings. Admire the beautiful architecture, indulge in some shopping, and stop by one of the cafes to enjoy a cup of coffee or a delicious pastry.

16. Parc Bel-Air

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For a relaxing outdoor experience, visit Parc Bel-Air. This tranquil park offers lush green spaces, walking paths, and a children’s playground. It’s a perfect spot for a picnic or to simply enjoy some fresh air and nature in the heart of the city.

17. Maison natale de Maréchal Foch

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Discover the birthplace of Ferdinand Foch, a French military commander and Marshal of France during World War I. The Maison natale de Maréchal Foch is a museum dedicated to his life and achievements. Explore the exhibits and learn about this influential figure in French history.

18. Rue Maréchal Foch

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Wander along Rue Maréchal Foch, the main shopping street in Tarbes. Browse through a variety of shops, boutiques, and department stores, offering everything from fashion and accessories to local products and souvenirs. Enjoy some retail therapy and take home a piece of Tarbes with you.

19. Tarbes en Tango

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If you’re a fan of tango or simply enjoy vibrant cultural events, make sure to visit Tarbes during the Tarbes en Tango festival. Held in August, this international tango festival attracts dancers and enthusiasts from all over the world. Experience the passion and elegance of tango through live performances, workshops, and social dancing events.

20. Balnea

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Located in the picturesque village of Loudenvielle, a short drive from Tarbes, Balnea is a luxurious spa complex nestled in the mountains. Offering a range of thermal baths, saunas, Jacuzzis, and wellness treatments, Balnea provides a serene retreat for relaxation and rejuvenation.

21. Maison de la Montagne

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For outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers, a visit to the Maison de la Montagne is highly recommended. This information center provides resources and guidance for exploring the mountains and outdoor activities in the region. Learn about hiking trails, mountain biking routes, and other adventure opportunities in the Pyrenees.

22. Château de Mauvezin

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Venture a bit outside of Tarbes to visit the impressive Château de Mauvezin. Situated atop a hill, this medieval fortress offers panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. Explore the castle’s towers, courtyards, and underground passages, and delve into its intriguing history.

23. Cirque de Gavarnie

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Embark on a day trip to the stunning Cirque de Gavarnie, a natural amphitheater and UNESCO World Heritage site. Marvel at the towering cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and the iconic Grande Cascade, one of Europe’s highest waterfalls. Hike the trails to fully appreciate the awe-inspiring beauty of this mountainous wonder.

24. Parc Animalier des Pyrénées

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Animal lovers will enjoy a visit to Parc Animalier des Pyrénées, a wildlife park located in Ayzac-Ost. This park is home to various species native to the Pyrenees, including bears, wolves, chamois, marmots, and birds of prey. Take a leisurely walk through the park and observe these magnificent creatures in a natural setting.

25. Maison de la Gespe

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Music enthusiasts should visit the Maison de la Gespe, a cultural center dedicated to contemporary music. Attend a concert or a live performance showcasing various musical genres, including jazz, rock, and classical. The center also hosts workshops and exhibitions related to music and sound.

26. Eglise Saint-Jean

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Admire the beauty of the Eglise Saint-Jean, a stunning Gothic church in Tarbes. Marvel at its intricate stained glass windows, impressive organ, and architectural details. Attend a religious service or simply take a moment to appreciate the tranquility and spirituality within.

27. Les Halles Marcadieu

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Another notable market in Tarbes is Les Halles Marcadieu. This covered market is a bustling hub of activity where locals gather to purchase fresh produce, meats, cheeses, and other regional products. Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere, interact with vendors, and indulge in some gastronomic delights.