This region of France is stocked with idyllic local towns and villages, complete with historic architecture and rural charm. Those only a short drive away include Monein and Lacommande, both key in the region’s wine production, and the spa town of Salies-de-Béarn, whose natural salt deposits have historically attracted royalty for their healing properties. Navarrenx was once a vital strategic town, and the centuries-old fortifications have been lovingly restored.
For nature lovers, La Maison Paul is in the foothills of the Pyrénées, close to the Pyrénées National Park, with its tumbling waterfalls, lush wildflower-meadows, austere glaciers and serene mountain lakes. The area is cradled by the valleys of Aspe and Ossau, which house ancient and beautiful pilgrimage routes including the route de Santiago de Compostela.
To find out more about those near to La Maison Paul, click here.
10 Things Not To Miss
1. Mountain hiking – experience the altitude in the spectacular Pyrénées, or follow ancient pilgrim routes (The path pilgrims took to Santiago de Compostela is over 1,000 years old, and is now a World Heritage site).
2. The Jurançon wine route – Jurançon is one of France’s oldest appellations (it was used for the baptism of King Henri IV) producing distinctive dry and sweet white wines.
3. The festivities (Fêtes) of the region – including the Fête de Bayonne; the annual celebration of hot red chilli peppers in Espelette; The Carnival Biarnès (Béarnais version of the Mardi Gras) and the annual Biarritz Surf Festival.
4. The Roman bridges over the Béarn des Gaves – at Navarrenx, Sauveterre-de-Béarn, Salies-de-Béarn and Orthez.
5. Lourdes – anoint yourself with the world’s holiest water in this world-famous pilgrimage destination.
6. Skiing – don’t miss the chance to ski the many and varied slopes of The Pyrénées.
7. Lescun – a centre for walkers and hikers set against a wonderful Pyrénéan mountain backdrop.
8. The Tour de France – if your stay is in July, check the route of this, the world’s most famous bicycle race – it’s a must see event. www.letour.fr
9. Ballooning – make a graceful ascent to view the region from its most flattering vantage point.
10. The Basque Country – Saint-Jean-de-Luz, Biarritz, Ainhoa, Saint-Jean-Pied de Port and San Sebastien.