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Navarrenx and Béarn des Gaves

Automatic translation

The Gave, the name given in the region to this beautiful torrent which descends from the high mountains nearby, is omnipresent here. Coming from the valley of Aspe, or that of Ossau to become the Gave d'Oloron, it creates a natural geographical separation between the neighboring Basque Country and this historic region of Béarn.

Map of Navarrenx and Béarn des Gaves

You will discover here during your visit, a historical heritage of the first order, at the bend of pretty medieval towns perfectly preserved. We fell in love with Sauveterre-de-Béarn, built on a rocky outcrop, which deserves more than a simple stopover, but you will also appreciate Navarrenx, a fortified city, or even Salies-de-Béarn, at old-fashioned charm and the sweet art of living, without forgetting all these small villages such as Aren or Laàs where life is so good. The gaves, tumultuous, capricious and which sometimes get out of bed... are an ideal playground for the practice or the discovery of white water sports, such as kayaking, rafting, canyoning or sport fishing.

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Rafting on the Gave d'Oloron
Rafting on the Gave d'Oloron, with Rafting 64 in Navarrenx

Salies de Béarn, salt from Béarn

A pretty little spa town, Salies de Béarn has happy days in a peaceful atmosphere, and as in any spa town, you will appreciate the tranquility of the place, except at the time of the Salt Festivals, the second weekend in September. Built on a marshy area, rich in salt, Salies has always known how to take advantage of this White Gold, and the inhabitants of the town have also developed a system giving them title to this raw material, passed down from their father in son.

Today, the salt festivals are a reminder of its rich natural heritage every year, and a Salt Museum will allow you to deepen your knowledge on this theme, as well as the Salines Museum, which will tell you about the extraction of this white gold. Salies-de-Béarn is also today well known for its hydrotherapy which made the modern fortune of the city, but it is still a story of salt since it is salt water that makes the success of the thermal baths that you can also visit.

Salie de Bearn
Salie-de-Bearn 2   Salie de Bearn 3
Salies-de-Béarn, a pleasant town to walk around, to explore the heritage and learn all about salt

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Sauveterre de Béarn

Here is a very beautiful medieval hilltop city, dating from the 11th century. Come and walk there to admire the remains, at the foot of the Gave d'Oloron. It is located on the way to Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle from the Vézelay route and its natural environment makes it very attractive for a stay in Béarn. Discover the Saint-André church (go to the terrace, which enjoys a beautiful panorama), classified as a historical monument, continue to the Pont de la Légende, also classified which overlooks the turquoise river, there is no only an arch and a door remain.
Sauveterre-de-Béarn is arched by defensive ramparts and you can also appreciate the 33m high Monréal Tower, a former dungeon... Continue to the Ile de la Glère opposite the village, with an educational stroll. In a wild place in the heart of nature (accessible by a bridge near the campsite)

Read our article on the most beautiful villages of Béarn, of which Sauveterre-de-Béarn is of course part !

Bearn's Sauvterre
Sauveterre-de-Béarn, the legendary bridge above the opal-colored Gave!

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Laàs, the multifaceted village

Small 12th century village, Laàs went through several states before becoming a charming holiday destination, which we know today. Lordship, then barony, then first principality of Béarn in 2014 (a proclamation made by the Municipal Council) ! We will discover the Serbat Museum, in an old noble house with pretty gardens, as well as the Castle of Laàs, which is now a tourist site that will appeal to the whole family : the Castle of Enigmas. An original way to enjoy the heritage, while having fun. There is also an Escape Game in the castle, for lovers of this type of modern adventure.

Visit the museums of Béarn, find our article to choose the one you prefer

Laàs   Laàs
The Castle of Laàs
Le Château de Laàs -photo Tourist Office of Béarn des gaves Cc BY SA 4.0

Navarrenx, the fortified city

Navarrenx undoubtedly deserves a stopover, it is the only fortified city of this kind in the region, and the hardness of its structure contrasts with the green environment that surrounds it, in the middle of which flows the very beautiful Gave d'Oloron, Mecca for fishing and water sports. On the roads of Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle, Navarrenx offers a large number of accommodation in lodges, and here pilgrims' menus are required. Take a walk in this Green Station and appreciate its riches (such as its 1.6 km of ramparts) and its interesting location from which to explore the region.

Read our article report on the city of Navarrenx, come and visit the small streets of the city, stroll on the ramparts

Navarrenx 2   Navarrenx 3
Walk in Navarrenx - Photos @ Lesley Williamson

Les Gaves, a Mecca for Sports Leisure

The Gave d'Oloron and its tributaries are a hotspot for trout and salmon fishing, they form a first-class hydrographic network, essentially classified in the first category. The omnipresence of these mythical fish attracts professionals, amateurs and passions to the edges of these sometimes turbulent waters.

The Gave d'Oloron is also the longest salmon river in France. Fishing Guides instructors will be able to share their knowledge, techniques, and favorite fishing spots with you. Discover their site by clicking here (fr). You will become true fishing enthusiasts after your visit to the Gave d'Oloron.

But the gaves are also very suitable for other activities such as Rafting, Canoeing, which you can practice around Sauveterre and Navarrenx in a more or less sporty way. You will discover the details of these activities by following this link.

Bearn des Gaves   Sauveterre-de-Béarn
Bearn des Gaves, for nature and sport lovers