Travel to Spain/Barcelona to Pyrenees
Victor, we will be in Europe a couple of weeks in April including a few day transit from Barcelona to Nice. We want to drive this through a beautiful part of the Pyrenees stopping along the way. Research suggests perhaps a travel route through Bielsa or Vielha for a night and then Cauterets France may be a great drive with nice spots for sight seeing and charming towns, hotels, and dining. But I hoped to get recommendations from you for routing options and nice towns along the way. We enjoy driving the mountains provided they are safe and wide enough. We would be making this transit the last week of April, 2014 and any help on which passes would be open or closed during this timeframe that would affect our routing should be considered. We are not concerned with cost - just quality. Thank you so much for your help Victor!
Yes, the route by bielsa or Vielha is quite scenic, for Vielha specially if you go via Bonaigua pass instead of the tunnel.
The towns in your way are mostly tiny villages with not much to see, others are developed around ski resorts, such as Vielha and Bielsa. Because of this there are many hotels in both places.
If you don't mind a detour, you could get to France via Vielha by the tunnel, but explore first the nearby valley of Boi, has some very interesting romanesque churches, specially the Taull church.
There are national parks also in that areas but visiting them means you have to do some trekking, if that's in your list of things to do, then the national park of aigues tortes by any of the two gates at Boi or at Espot and the magnificent national park of Ordesa by the gate of torla, but may this is a big detour of your route by Bielsa.
The roads are safe. Natianl roads are wide too. Other regional roadas such as the Boi valley are narrower but safe, i drove several years ago there and i don't remember thenn as dangerous or difficult.
In April passes would be normally open, in case of very bad wather (it could happend despite chances are low) use the route by the tunnel to Vielha/Viella.
There are some PAradores also in the area, in very good locations, PAradores are known to be quite good and in general also with very good restaurants too.
you have one in bielsa and one in Vielha and other one near vielha.
I hope this helps a bit.