A whole mosaic of experiences
Béarn is a very special region. Its apparent calm hides a region riven by drama…as its history shows. Did you know that between the 14th and 17th centuries Béarn was an independent state? This country with its green landscape offers wonderful countryside where you can walk, involve yourself in outdoor sports or find out about the history of France. A region that knows how to take its time!
Béarn throws out its invitation to connect with the drama of its past centuries when Gaston Fébus led his fine country to independence and an early form of modernity (via Fors or courts which gave its inhabitants exceptional rights for the period). What’s more in the 14th century it was one of the only States in Europe not to experience war, famine or plague!
It's also a country where there was a major confrontation between Catholics and Protestants. Jeanne d'Albret Henri IV's mother was the great defender of the reformed church. Pau has the chateau of its illustrious son, Henri IV, who is also well known for his innumerable amorous conquests. There are a number of chateaux and bastides and fortified villages throughout the region for example at Morlanne and Montaner and a number of Romanesque churches and cathedrals as with those in Oloron-Sainte-Marie and Lescar.
This voyage through time can also be seen now in this Béarn which cultivates its "art de vivre". It has a high reputation for its willingness to share and its sense of conviviality. Local producers make the most of regional resources as shown by the Jurançon coteaux and delicious duck products.
Béarn also means many miles of river flowing from the mountains and the Pic du Midi d'Ossau. We love to live outdoors and in cool running water! Cycling and walking, kayaking and canoeing and fishing in the Gaves de Pau and Oloron. The little train at Artouste takes you round lakes and up mountains, the Grottes de Bétharram and Verna beckon you to spectacular underground exploration.
Béarn has developed a quality of life which is close to nature and bids us welcome our visitors as friends. Our maisons d'hôtes, Bed and breakfast and rented accommodation show that we take great pleasure in sharing our attachment to the region. And as nature is God-given, Béarn has worked out how to offer a high-quality welcome without worrying about the cost.
Béarn is a whole mosaic of experiences which, put together make for a surprising package !