Between the peaks of the Pyrenees and its pasture valleys, crossed by the " Gaves ", its pretty rivers, the nature of Béarn is preserved and offers an exceptional setting for many tourist activities . This rural and natural department has many treasures and has many surprises in store for us for original holidays . If you want to get off the beaten track , to discover another facet of the Béarn region, here are some ideas for accommodation and unusual activities , to live new experiences .
Looking to get out of the daily grind? Do you want a change, a change of scenery? First step, find your corner of paradise !
You are with your family and you feel the need to recharge your batteries in the heart of nature , in contact with animals, Paradis Perdu welcomes you in its wooden chalets, in a natural and preserved environment, with its wild and domestic animals. Whether farm animals, deer, or squirrels to admire from afar in the woods, your children will love this original, peaceful and secure place.
Read our report on Le Paradis Perdu ! Meet the deer!
Le Paradis Perdu, log cabins made by the owners, a magical place for the whole family.
Do you want to feel alone in the world ? La Cabane du Berger is for you. Very comfortable but isolated, this cabin offers you an exceptional panorama on the Pyrenees . Ideal for a romantic getaway or a serene solitary retreat.
A cozy nest, just for you… Photo @ La Cabane du Berger
And if you took a little height to sleep in a nest … Suspended on nets, the Nids du Béarn offer you its cozy cocoons for a unique experience , as close as possible to the birds of the forest. If you are with family or want more space, you will have the opportunity to make a childhood dream come true and stay in a treehouse perched in the trees !
To sleep or eat as close as possible to the canopy, aerial and original structures! Photo @ Nid du Béarn
Do you want even more sensations? The Nordic adventure takes you on an exotic journey . Much more than accommodation, it is quite an adventure that you are going to live. After a snowshoe excursion , a mulled wine at the foot of the brazier, a Nordic bath and some beautiful stories, you will spend the night in an igloo or a snow tipi .
Sleep in the snow, in a warm snow tipi facing the Milky Way! Photo @ Nordic Adventure
This time, it's a way of life that is revealed to you. Originally, yurts were used by Mongolian people, traditionally nomadic. Located in the heart of Vic-Bilh, the Yurt Coccinelle allows you to discover these original and yet very comfortable habitats.
Inside, it's a change of scenery and relaxation guaranteed. Photo @ La Yourte Coccinelle
If you are looking for other ideas, see our page dedicated to unusual vacation rentals . The Gites du 64, Béarn and Pays Basque , are also at your disposal to satisfy your wildest desires! You will find nearly 1,200 accommodations, verified and labeled " Gites de France ", for original and serene holidays .
In the town of Lasseube, near Oloron-Sainte-Marie , the Payssas arboretum offers a 1.2 km path through an " international " forest. Do not expect a space well organized by geographical area ... You enter a wild ecosystem , where plant species from all over the world coexist in harmony. Simple explanatory panels, with photos to find your way around, allow you to discover or deepen your knowledge of these remarkable trees , from all over the world.
In Urdos, near the border, the Fort du Portalet was intended to prevent the Spanish invasion by road to the Col de Somport. They are his "guests" famous during the 2nd World War: Blum, Daladier, Petain ... that brought him notoriety. When you enter this impressive building, it is a real immersion in the military universe . The very complete guided tour takes you to the barracks, the officers' pavilion, the bastions armed with cannon batteries, the troglodyte galleries ... Access is a bit sporty (many steps) and is not suitable for all public. This site is currently closed for development work.
The Fort du Portalet, a real fortress embedded in the rock Photo @ Lesley Williamson
For a gentle discovery of the underground world , we suggest you go between Lourdes and the bastide of Lestelle-Betharram , in the Caves of Betharram . You follow the river in a well-equipped course, on foot, by boat and by little train.
Magnificent caves to discover Photo @ Grottes de Betharram
If you fancy a more immersive experience, put on your outfit caver down into the cave of the Verna , the largest cave chamber in the world. A preview of the visit, would you like it? Here is our unusual adventure in the bowels of the earth at the cave of Verna .
A last one before we go ? On the other side of the border, the caves of Las Güixas are renowned for their magnificent stalactites, stalagmites ...
The Caves of La Verna, to visit with his explorer outfit Photo @ Lesley Williamson
The Béarn is crossed by the “ Route des Cols ”. It is a very old tourist route, since it was opened in 1859, under Napoleon III. At that time, the spas were established in the Pyrenees and attracted their first tourists. This road then bore the name of “ Thermal Route of the Pyrenees ”. It served resorts from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea , from Hendaye to Perpignan. It crosses the Pyrenean Valleys of Béarn d'Arette, in the Barétous valley , in Laruns , in the Ossau valley .
To get an idea of what you will see there, we take you for a hike in the Ossau valley to the Ascension du Pic d'Escurets .
The Barétous Valley and its landscape wonders Photo: @ Mélanie Oliva
The Nordic adventure in Béarn begins at nightfall, at the Eaux-Bonnes resort , for a night-time snowshoe ride . Then, you make a restful stop to warm up with a good mulled wine, near a brazier or in a Nordic bath ... It's time for tales and legends , told by the fireside and which end during of the descent that brings you back to the hut.
This is the real Nordic Adventure, well accompanied to discover the mountain, at night… Photo @ Aventure Nordique
In the heart of the Pyrenees National Park , meet at the Parc 'Ours, between Urdos and Lescun . In their natural environment, you can admire many mountain species and especially brown bears . For children, a treasure hunt is planned to show them the wild flora and fauna in a fun way. Follow our blogger in the footsteps of the bear ...
Parc'Ours is a place surrounded by nature where you can see bears, but not only! Photo @ Lesley Williamson
For a more distant trip, it is at the Zoo d'Asson that you can meet white tigers, snow leopards, ocelots, etc., but also lemurs, kangaroos and tropical birds. The animals are free and the park offers activities in direct contact with the animals .
In the beautiful valley of Aspe , Ludopia is an amazing park to awaken your senses and share unusual sensations with the family. Whether it is a discovery of one's body and mobility for the youngest or a balancing act for the older ones, it is an experience that is both physical and sensory , and above all very fun.
Fun and riding, in the heart of a mountain setting Photo @ Ludopia
On Lake Baudreix , the Ô Kiri leisure center offers you giant structures and adrenaline: giant slides, water ski lift, water jump, drop in, stand up paddle, canoe, kayak ... to have fun with your family or between friends .
We tested it for you: Check out our family day of sport and relaxation at the Ô Kiri leisure center on Lake Baudreix .
A park just 20 minutes from Pau, with a multitude of activities to do, all day long!
Here is another way to discover the Pyrenees: canyoning in white water ! This mountain aquatic sport is very intense. Rafting 64 offers you not only canyoning , but also rafting , paddle , big SUP (a giant paddle). More unusual, you can also practice Bubble Foot and become totally one with the ball, since you are inside! Or even introduce you to paintball .
The good idea: Read our article on bearn des gaves sport
Rafting is very fun and safe with a top team at Rafting64
Between Pau and Lourdes, the “ Sonnailles de Daban ” factory is more than a workshop for making bells and bells for animals. This company has been an institution since 1795. It is above all a question of traditional know-how , a profession of yesteryear that has endured and passed on for six generations ...
On the border between Béarn and the Basque Country, in Bidos, another factory opens its doors to you. The Lartigue workshop shows you the weaving techniques and the modern evolutions of this craft of yesterday and today!
Les Sonnailles de Daban, the making of these traditional bells Photo @ Les Sonnailles de Daban
Saint-Girons has a beautiful treasure, yet little known. Its Gothic church , in addition to an impressive bell tower, presents a very original architecture. Its asymmetric plan is already atypical with a main nave and a single side aisle… Its very rare “ overturned double hull ” frame is also worth a look and the ascent of the 72 steps leading to the bell tower.
The good idea : Monein and Orthez offer unusual tours of their little heritage . You can go on a treasure hunt with Terra Aventura . It is a very popular activity for children which allows them to discover the region, while strolling and having fun!
This is the end of our unusual journey in Béarn. We hope to have given you another look at this beautiful region which offers you many original activities to have fun.
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Article written by Stéphanie Tempier for the Guide du Béarn Pyrénées.