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3-4 Nights On The GR10? Home Base?

Howdy,

The wife and I are avid backpackers here in the States, and would love to have that experience in France. After ~6 minutes of Googling, the GR10 seems to be a great fit! If only we had time (and PTO) for the full loop, but alas we are limited to 3-4 nights on a certain section.

Does anyone have any home base recommendation that 1) has easy access to the trail, 2) has a gear rental store, and 3) maximizes natural beauty for the hiking days.

Another minute of Googling brings up Hendaye on the West portion of the trail and Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port towards the center. Any opinions? Thanks!

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Cauterets would be a good fit. Plenty of gear hire, and you can catch the télécabine and chairlift out of town towards Lys, then on to the Refuge des Oulettes des Gaube via the Sentier du Lac du Chabarrou au Vallon de Pouey Trenous. That's 18 km (supposedly 8 hours). Overnight there, then on to Gavarnie (19km), from there to Luz St Sauveur (a relatively easy 20 km downhill) , the return to Cauterets via Bederet. (18km).

I used Organic maps for this route. It's good on altitude changes, and with some wrangling will use all of the walking paths.

Gr10 is variable in places, as is common on mountain paths. Some of it is well maintained, but there are patches where it feels like mountain climbing on the moon. The scenery is never less than spectacular.

I've walked some of this, but only day walks. I celebrated my 60th up there, and discovered I am no longer all terrain :(