This is a fabulous area for those who enjoy the great outdoors. For most activities, you’ll find lots of useful maps and brochures in Maison Berchon.
If you like rambling or cycling, you’re spoilt for choice. There are many sign-posted rambles taking in the wooded lowlands and the magnificent scenery of the Pyrenees. Cycling is hugely popular here – and you’ll find circuits to test the most demanding, including stages followed during the Tour de France. If you bring your own cycles, we offer safe storage and workshop space for them.
If you prefer water sports – try fishing in one of the many rivers or white water rafting. Fishing licences are cheap and readily available while there are a number of centres close by for white water rafting, kayaking and canoeing, including in Nay itself. Pau has an international standard water sports complex.
Horse-riding is hugely popular and you’ll find several equestrian centres within 15 minutes drive of the house. Watching the races at Pau racecouse is one of the highlights of the winter season – when there’s a very full calendar of races between December and March. And for those interested in eventing, Pau is host to one of the top six international three-day events in October – Les Etoiles de Pau.
The south-west of France is famed for its many golf courses, stretching from along the Basque coast to Lourdes and Tarbes. There are two courses in Pau – one of them, founded by the British in the 19th century, is the oldest course in France, complete with traditional pavilion.
And, in the winter months, if you'd like to combine skiing with other activities, it's an easy hour's drive to the ski resorts of Cauterets or Artouste.
Car enthusiasts should come to the Béarn in May for the two Pau Grand Prix. The Grand Prix Historique brings together vintage racing cars as well as souped-up Minis and displays of the most beautiful, restored classic cars. The Grand Prix for Formula 3 drivers offers the excitement of watching the stars of tomorrow (Lewis Hamilton won here before he went into Formula 1) and the cars of tomorrow, as the many races include one for all-electric vehicles.
And those who prefer watching sport to participating can take their pick not just from the horse and car racing but also from professional basketball or rugby; pelota matches in all their forms; and Basque games of strength (especially in the summer).
Tourist activities and events
Aside from a plethora of tourist attractions, ranging from châteaux to animal parks and zoos, underground caves and museums, the region also offers many local festivals. You’ll find a fête is on at one village or another virtually every weekend from early summer through to autumn. Listed below are just some of the entertainments on offer in the near future.
22-24 May - Grand Prix de Pau
30-31 May - Grand Prix Historique de Pau
5 July - The Tour de France comes to Pau.
21-25 October - 4 Etoiles de Pau – world class three-day event
We’ll update this events listing on a regular basis – so do come back and check it out when next you’re thinking of taking a break in France. You'll also find links to most attractions on our Links page.