Places to visit
Within 10 minutes' drive - Nay, Baudreix, Lestelle-Betharram
Nay is a busy market town with a mixed market on Tuesdays and local produce market on Saturdays. A lovely 15th century church and the Renaissance Maison Carrée are major attractions in the centre, which is a 12 to 15 minute walk from the house (1.2km) – less than five minutes by car. The unique Musée du Beret celebrates the town’s textiles heritage.
The Gave de Pau (the river shown in our title picture) runs through the town and offers lots of opportunities for fishing, riverside walks and water sports.
Nay tennis club is 10 minutes walk away, almost opposite Nayeo, the town’s brand-new pool complex, which has indoors and outdoors swimming, a plume and fitness centre.
For arts lovers, the Minoterie, an old industrial warehouse converted into studio and exhibition space, holds regular art shows – as does the Maison Carrée, which also has exhibits about the local area, including its rich industrial heritage. You can walk to the Minoterie in about 15 minutes
Lac de Baudreix – is a pleasure lake complex 4km away with a sandy beach, restaurant and bar. Here you’ll find decent food and a lovely setting, including a mapped nature trail. And if you're feeling energetic, the Lac also offers ski nautique - a water skiing experience where you are pulled along by a long wire attached to a cable rather than a motor-boat.
Within 30-45 minutes' drive - Pau, Lourdes, Pyrenees National Park
Pau is famous as the birthplace of Henri IV, king of France. The city offers a lovely old town centre, including Henri IV’s imposing chateau, and lots of modern attractions, including high fashion boutiques and food emporia, splendid markets, modern shopping centres, multi-screen cinemas and open squares.
Surprisingly cosmopolitan for a city of only 85,000 inhabitants, Pau was a favourite destination of the British during the 19th century, reflected in the architecture of some imposing mansions and the legacy of France’s oldest golf course. A magnificent modern sports complex, including a centre for pelota, the fastest ball game in the world, lies on the north side of Pau - as well as a major racecourse.
Lourdes, the world-famous pilgrimage site, is an easy 20km drive from Nay. Even the non-religious can't fail to be impressed by the magnificent chapel and the evening torch-lit processions. The holy water is piped from its source in the grotto and you can fill a bottle or several from one of the many taps. Lourdes' beautiful setting in the Pyrenees creates a spectacular backdrop to the town's well-regarded 18-hole golf course.
The Parc National des Pyrenees, with its abundance of nature trails and magnificent scenery, begins only a few kilometres from Nay. Wildlife lovers will enjoy a visit to the Zoo d’Asson, just south of Nay, while the Falaise aux Vautours at Aste-Beon, some 30km away, lets you get up close and personal with the magnificent birds of prey that hover over the Pyrenees.
Within 60-95 minutes - Atlantic coast beach resorts, Pyrenean ski stations
Taking the A64, you have easy access to the Atlantic coast and its renowned resorts, such as Biarritz and St Jean de Luz. You can steep yourself in Basque culture in the ancient city of Bayonne or relax on any of the sandy beaches that stretch all along this coast.
Ski resorts – Cauterets and Gourette are both just an hour away. Check if there’s snow on the mountains – and then away you go!
For further information about the many sights and sounds of the Bearn and Basque Country, take a look at our links page.