Salies-de-Béarn, the Venice of Béarn

Salies-de-Béarn
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A few kilometers from the Basque Country but well anchored in Béarn , Salies-de Béarn is a pretty town whose architecture is worth seeing. But not only since the city is known for its salt, its thermal baths, its green spaces and its source of salt water . It is a must when you go to Béarn !

Salies-de-Béarn, a historic town


It's impossible not to marvel at the historical richness of Salies-de-Béarn when you set foot there!

The city enjoys a strong identity through its rich history and revolves around salt, but not only. The historic district literally wraps around the salt spring. During your walk in the district, you will be able to admire pretty typical houses of the XVIIth and XVIIIth century . Take the time to walk along the Le Saley river which crosses the whole town and wind its way between the stilts of the half-timbered houses: this is why Salies-de-Béarn is nicknamed the Béarnaise Venice ! Its charm is undeniable ... But Salies has other assets, in particular its thermal baths.

They date from 1857 and have one of the saltiest water sources in France. Its benefits are numerous (rheumatology, gynecology, child development disorders, etc.). Take the time to admire the Moorish-style building. It is a real immersion in the Belle Époque that you will experience when you visit this district. The public garden borders the thermal baths and, thanks to its large trees, offers many shaded areas. The bandstand and mini-golf allow the place to be lively. Resume your road. The streets of the city are narrow and at the bend of one of them, you will come across the Museum of Salt and Béarn Traditions.

Salies de Bearn Salies de Bearn


Salies de Bearn

Salies de Bearn

The charm of Salies with its river Le Saley

Salies de Bearn

Salies de Bearn Salies de Bearn

The spa district


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Salt, the city's heritage

The salt water source of Salies-de-Béarn dates back more than 200 million years . It has therefore strongly influenced the course of history, in this small town of 4600 inhabitants , mainly known for its salt. History says that a wild boar was discovered dead after a hunting party, lying near a source of salt water and in very good condition. It was after this discovery that the city was built around the source . The wild boar then became the emblem of the city! To best tell this story, the Salt Museum is the perfect place since it traces nearly 4000 years of history. Salies watches over its treasure, which still belongs today to nearly 500 Salisiens called the "Part-Preneurs" : it is a corporation of owners of the Fountain, the thermal baths, two wells, the saltworks of Oraàs, which The ownership of these places has been passed down from generation to generation since 1587!

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Two other emblematic places of the city are worth a visit.

  • The Bayaà crypt is one of the most visited places in the city, just under the main square . It is a mysterious and unusual place , an old well located in the open air, which was covered with a vault in the 19th century. The crytpe being entirely filled with water, it was emptied to allow the visit. Light gaming facilities highlight this unique place full of history!
  • Les Salines , on the edge of town, is also an emblematic place not to be missed! Not only will you be able to observe the salt harvest, but a visit with panels and a film traces the history of this salt so important to Salies ... A well-filled shop will allow you to leave with many gourmet products: salt, ham. Bayonne, salted butter caramel, pâtés ...

Salies de Bearn Salies de Bearn

The Salt Museum takes you into the world of salt

Salies de Bearn


The salt harvest at Les Salines

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A living city


Besides its salt and its thermal baths, the city is full of places to visit, starting with the Saint-Vincent church . Its architecture comes from a chapel that already existed in the 11th century. Since then, it has been enlarged, burned down and then rebuilt in the Flamboyant Gothic style. The altar dates from the 18th century. The half-timbered houses and the projecting walls are also part of the charm of the city. A commemorative fountain of the millennium of the city was built in 1927. You can also discover the remains of the castle of Saint-Pé , right next to the main square. On the Gave d'Oloron , from Salies-de-Béarn to the Eiffel bridge in Castagnède, an 8-kilometer greenway follows an old railway line. Suitable for family walks, it is flat and shaded, enough to spend a real moment of relaxation!


Salies de Beran Salies de Bearn

Saint-Vincent church and its altar

Salies de Bearn Salies de Bearn

The pretty views of the city

Sit on a bench and admire the view



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Article written by Anne Pinsolle for the Béarn Pyrénées Guide


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