We’ve done some great hikes around Luchon, but our best of the trip was a loop that we completed from the Hospice de France. The Hospice de France, dating from the 14th century, was once a staging post for mule-trains trading across the border of Spain. It belonged to the Order of St. John of Jerusalem (Knights of Malta). Fees and taxes were levied on travelers crossing the border with their mules laden with goods.
Today, the Hospice de France is a gite, restaurant, small museum, and the starting point for some spectacular hikes, including crossing over the Spanish border, with superb views of the Maladeta massif(from the Spanish montes malditos, which means “Damned Mountains”) and of the Pic d’Aneto, the highest summit of the Pyrenees (3,404m).