Upper church in Lourdes
Famous medieval bridge in the old French town Orthez
Pont de la Legende on the Gave d'Oloron, France
M72-1298619 - © - Carmen Nasarre
A weekend in Béarn from Pau to Lestelle-Bétharram
Nature lovers won’t be disappointed! Exploring Béarn presents a series of grandiose sights: The Pic du Midi Ossau, the glorious passes of the Aubisque and Somport, surrounding mountains, the tumultuous Gorges of Aspe and Ossau. Your 4-day driving tour begins in Pau and covers over 400km to your destination Lestelle-Bétharam.
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Upon arriving in Pau, you can admire the view of the mountains from the Boulevard des Pyrénées. Head up to it from the lower town via the funicular or on foot from Les Sentiers du Roy. Next, stroll through the streets surrounding the castle.
On your way to Morlanne, the fortified church encircled by three towers is worth a look, as well as Château Féodal built by Gaston Phoebus, complete with dungeon and parapet walk.
Next, head out to Orthez, a medieval town and once the capital of Béarn and stronghold of the Navarre family. Climb to the top of the Tour Moncade, the sole remains of the castle, stroll through the historic centre and the picturesque Old Bridge spanning the Gave de Pau.
In the afternoon, reach Salies-de-Béarn, a charming village and small spa resort before arriving in Sauveterre-de-Béarn, a beautiful medieval town dominating the Gave d’Oloron.
Next, head to Navarrenx where you will spend the night.
MyTripTailor Advice: If you still have time at the end of the day, go to Château de Laàs which is worth a visit for its furniture of different eras and its French and English gardens.
You wake in Navarrenx, a pleasant Bastide founded in 1316 and totally hidden behind thick ramparts, before setting off for Monein.
Take the D34 through the vineyard covered hillsides past Lacommande and Lasseube to discover the Arboretum of Payssas with exotic varieties.
Finally, you reach Oloron-Sainte-Marie, capital of the beret, and it’s time to climb to the Tower of Grède, to see its Renaissance houses and the remains of the Roman baths.
MyTripTailor Advice: Make the obligatory stop at the Maison des Vins and the Wine Route of the Jurançon.
After you wake in Oloron-Sainte-Marie, visit the Cathedral of Sainte-Marie at the Romanesque portal before taking to the road again.
You should now head to the Béarnaise mountain via Aramits. From this village, the D918, followed by the D132, unveils stunning landscapes until you reach the ski resort of La-Pierre-St-Martin famous for its chasm and Lapiaz (a crisscross of limestone rocks crevices).
During summer it’s a major pasture area. Back in the valley, in Arette, follow the D918 towards the Aspe Valley, then the D241 via the Col d’Ichère. You can explore the Aspe Valley by heading up the N134 before stopping for the night in Arudy.
MyTripTailor Advice: Be sure to hike through the village of Lescun, amidst a circle of sharp peaks: it offers one of the most beautiful panoramas of the Pyrenees and numerous breathtaking walks.
Leaving Arudy, head down the valley to Laruns, take the D918 for the Eaux-bonnes and Gourette (ski resort) from where you can head up to Col d’Aubisque which offers immense views of Pic de Ger and over the Grand Gabizos.
This extremley scenic road continues past Col du Soulor where you can buy sheep cheese from mountain chalets.
From here, the picturesque D126 descends gently towards the Gave de Pau.
Next, join Nay where you will find both a Beret museum and the Béarnais museum installed in a beautiful Renaissance mansion.
Afterwards, head for the sanctuary of Lestelle-Betharram or to the caves.
You spend your last night in Lestelle-Betharram.
MyTripTailor tip: Extend your stay with a visit to Lourdes
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