Astro-Tourism: Pic Du Midi, France

pic-du-midi-observatoryIn southwest France, you can have a stargazing experience like no other, and stay overnight in an observatory on a mountain peak. Perched 2,877m above sea level in the Pyrenees, the Pic du Midi de Bigorre observatory is open for both day trips and exciting overnight stays.

Plus, this year sees the launch of its own planetarium – the highest in Europe.

There are just 15 guest rooms and the overnight visit includes a spectacular 1,000m cable-car ascent up to the observatory, a sunset pre-dinner cocktail while admiring nearly 200 miles of mountain summits, and a mouthwatering meal of traditional Pyrenean cuisine.

The astronomy action takes place in the observatory’s iconic Charvin dome, where views from the 400mm Smith-Cassegrain telescope are projected onto screens. With some of the clearest skies in the world, guests can gaze at Saturn’s rings, Jupiter’s moons and the Andromeda galaxy. Then, the following morning, breakfast is served as the sun rises.

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