Things looking up for summer French sky viewings

Pic du Midi observatory, stars qnd sky by night

With a glimpse of Venus, a partial solar eclipse and meteor showers, there is lots to see in France this year, says Samantha David

Stargazing is best done in places with low light pollution, and if possible even above low cloud cover – which is why planetariums tend to be built on mountain peaks.

Not all of them are at altitude, however; most large cities in France have an observatory including Paris, Lyon, Bordeaux, Marseille and Toulouse. The Observatoire du Pic du Midi de Bigorre (accessible by cable car from the tiny Pyrenean village of La Mongie, pictured above) is one of the oldest in Europe and has fabulous views of the sky. (It also has a small museum and a café.) Take warm jumpers because it’s chilly at night, even in the summer.


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