The Abyss of Béout: Hautes-Pyrénées
High in the mountains of les Pyrénées in the south of France, the Summit of Béout towers hundreds of meters above ground level over the township of Lourdes. In 2000 the funicular lift or 'téléphérique' which serviced Lourdes was shut down and has remained in disrepair ever since.
The scattered buildings that once served the funicular now house herds of mountain goats and sheep who have found a safe haven in them and protection from the elements. The cable cars were removed at the time of closure, however one carriage was preserved and exhibited at a nearby funicular known as le 'Pic du Jer' which can be spotted from the summit of Béout.
A few hundred meters away from the derelict funicular, a large Abyss, also known in French as a 'gouffre' that was also once open to the public has since long been abandoned.
The heavily eroded stairwells leading down to the abyss have entire sections of steps missing, nevertheless the breathtaking views from beneath the abyss outweigh the perilous decent. If you are lucky you might even spot a shrewd toad that lives in the bottom of his lair as he waits for fly supper to drop his way.
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