The 8 Most Beautiful Villages of Bearn


Last Updated on 10/01/2023 by Alfred

If you are going to the South-West of France, do not miss visiting the most beautiful villages of Béarn!

Béarn is a former sovereign principality that is now part of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department. In the foothills of the mountains and not far from the Atlantic Ocean, this region is an ideal stopover for a holiday between nature and culture.

Its thousand-year-old history is inscribed on its territory through many fortified medieval cities and pretty hamlets on the way to Santiago de Compostela.

Thus, to help you prepare for your trip, we have selected for you the most beautiful villages of Béarn.

1. Navarrenx

This pretty village of Béarn has the particularity of being the oldest bastioned city in France. The ramparts were built between 1538 and 1547, nearly a century before the first achievements of the architect Vauban. 1,657 meters long and reaching 10 meters high, they exude a feeling of power that will not leave you indifferent.

Since its fortification, the village of Navarrenx has never been defeated! During a walk inside the enclosure, you can admire the powder magazine, the military fountain or the arsenal that could house up to 30,000 cannonballs.

Navarrenx is also the Gave d’Oloron, a majestic river that runs along the ramparts. It is suitable for water activities such as kayaking or rafting. The village also gives itself the title of salmon capital. These fish go up the river every year and give rise to mythical fishing and cooking competitions.

Finally, Navarrenx is located on the way to Santiago de Compostela, on the way to Le Puy-en-Velay. The city is one of the most beautiful stops for pilgrims. Here we find a warm welcome and the opportunity to rest in an exceptional historical environment.

2. Salies-de-Béarn

Salies-de-Béarn takes its name from the source of salt water that gushes on its territory. In the village square, observe the boar fountain, a symbol of the city.

Legend has it that a wounded boar died in the marshes of the city and was found in a good state of conservation several days later. The inhabitants would have discovered the salt spring that makes the reputation of this village of Béarn. Many tourist attractions are related to white gold, such as the Salt Museum or the crypt in bayaà square.

You can also visit the spa district, with its buildings dating from the Belle Époque, its Moorish-style thermal baths from 1857 or its casino. And if you feel like it, book your spa treatment in this pleasant village of Béarn, as many dukes and duchesses have done before you…

3. Lescun

On the foothills of the Aspe valley, some 900 meters above sea level, lies one of the most beautiful villages in Béarn. Visit Lescun, in the heart of a circus surmounted by the mountains of Ansabère, Pic d’Anie, and The Orgues de Camplong.

This quiet hamlet is an ideal base from which to explore the Béarnaise Pyrenees or simply rest in the heart of nature. You will be surrounded by majestic cliffs and impetuous torrents hurtling down from the peaks. Many hiking trails allow you to discover the surroundings for beginner walkers as well as experienced hikers. Equipped with a pair of binoculars, meet isards, vultures and marmots.

Finally, visit the small church of the sixteenth of this village of Béarn, which is on the tolosane way of Santiago de Compostela.

4. Sauveterre de Béarn

Built on a promontory, this village of Béarn dominates the river Gave d’Oloron. In the fourteenth century, this thousand-year-old city was one of the most important villages in the region.

Initially intended to be a refuge, it quickly became a commercial crossroads and a respected stronghold of Béarn. This is evidenced by its many medieval constructions, which can be contemplated from the Pont de la Légende, classified as a historical monument.

Let yourself be told the many stories related to this bridge by admiring the river below, the Monréal tower and the ramparts. From the terrace of the Saint-André church, you will enjoy a panoramic view of the region, with the Pyrenees in the background.

Around the village, many activities await you, such as kayaking, trout fishing or salmon fishing. Another option, the educational course of the island of Glère. And if you pass by this village of Béarn on the third weekend of August, do not miss the fair of the Blonde d’Aquitaine. This breed of cow that had almost disappeared is honored by the farmers of the region through numerous animations and competitions.

5. Sarrance

This pretty village of Béarn nestles in the heart of the Aspe Valley. On both sides of the rue du Haut, admire the beautiful houses with slate roofs of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Pass by the fountain, the washhouse, the monastery and the church of Our Lady of the Stone. It was named after the legend of a bull that was found by its shepherd near a statue of the Virgin of the twelfth century.

All around the village, forests cling to the slopes of the mountains, providing a perfect playground for hikers. From the heights, you embrace the whole valley and you can see the village nestled in a hollow, on the banks of the river.

6. Morlanne

Dating from the Middle Ages, this village of Béarn is best known for its castle of the fourteenth century. Erected by Gaston Fébus during the Hundred Years War, it is protected as a Historic Monument. By visiting it, you will discover an original architecture mixing ashlars and bricks, as well as a museum space.

From the castle, explore between seventeenth-century mansions and fortified church. In the Belluix house, discover the farmers’ market and taste the local specialties!

7. Accous

Once the capital of the Aspe Valley, this small village in Béarn is an ideal destination for nature holidays. At the confluence of the Berthe and the Gave d’Aspe, Accous welcomes you in a green setting at the foot of the mountains.

The hiking trails are numerous and allow you to quickly gain height to enjoy magnificent views of the valley.

On the cultural side, you will appreciate the small Romanesque church of the twelfth century. Go to the cheese ecomuseum to discover the know-how of shepherds and all the ripening techniques of the famous Ossau-Iraty. Also, the tour ends with a tasting. Another good reason to make a stop in a village of Béarn of the most authentic.

8. Borce

This village of Béarn borders Spain and represents the last French stop to Santiago de Compostela on the Tolosane way.

Many monuments and constructions testify to the medieval history of the village. The houses date from the fourteenth to the seventeenth centuries and walking through the alleys, you will discover ancestral fountains, a bread oven or a washhouse.

On the heights, do not miss the fort of Portalet, built on the side of a cliff and overlooking the Gave d’Aspe. Several dolmens, megaliths, mounds and tumulus are also visible during a walk in the surrounding area.

Finally, the animal park teaches you more about the Pyrenean fauna, with isards, ibex, marmots and even brown bears.

And you, from all the villages of Béarn, which one is your favorite?

Alfred

Alfred is the author behind the Travelvibe travel blog and is always searching for the quieter, less-visited corners of the world.

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