Notre Dame Cathedral. One of the most important examples of Roman architecture in the Aquitaine region. One must stop to admire the rich detail on the sculpted capitals and the impressive twelfth century mosaic depicting a one-legged slave. The cathedral houses the remains of the Kings of Navarre.
The village of Jurançon became a suburb of Pau. It gave its name to the communal Jurançon appellation in 1936.
Clos Lapeyre. An agricultural concern that has produced red fruit and grapes for the cooperative over the last three generations. When Jean-Bernard Larrieu succeeded his father on the estate, he built a wine store and then vinified, produced and bottled his first wine in 1985. The estate now encompasses ten hectares and was certified organic in 2005. A vineyard that is planted on the “Poudingues of Jurançon”: a stony land rich in siliceous gravel. The Vitatge Vieil Jurançon blend from very old vines make a wine that is smooth, open and fatty with tastier notes of fruit. The Mantoulan, the first vintage of which dates from 2006, is a very straight wine with a clear colour and a great purity, a mark of the Occitan cultivation methods. Visits of the wine store and the vine museum, and tastings of the wine and local produce. “The Jurançonada”: Jean-Bernard has created a walking tour among the vineyards accompanied by a small poetic guide book to go and discover the land and its wine growers. By appointment. www.jurancon-lapeyre.fr
Chez Ruffet. Located in an old farm in the Béarn region, Alexandre Paget’s restaurant knows how to remain discreet. One just has to see the number of cars parked around to understand quite how much the connoisseurs enjoy the Michelin starred restaurant. Some patience is required to discover the menu which evolves with the seasons and weeks depending on the produce. South-West cuisine delicately brought together with herbs and heirloom vegetables introducing new flavours to the dishes. A three course Menu of the Day is offered at lunchtime. 3 avenue Charles Touzet. Tel.: +33 5 59 06 25 13 www.restaurant-chezruffet-64.com
The village is located in the heart of the Jurançon vineyards. In the olden days, Jurançon wine was in fact referred to as “Wine of Monein” such was the concentration of wine growers around the village. The Green Gallant, Henri IV, is rumoured to have often visited the village of Monein as one of his mistresses lived on the Rue du Commerce.
Domaine Cauhapé. The path is steep up towards the vines and the wine store, a seventeenth century building, in pure Béarn style with grey pebbled walls from the Gave. Henry Ramonteu’s vineyard is stepped over the clay hills that rise to 400 metres in altitude. 42 hectares planted with petit and gros manseng and courbu vine plants. In order to reenergize his dry Jurançons, Henri brought back the camaralet and the lauzet, two grape varieties from Henri IV’s time. His vines are looked after very meticulously at Cauhaupé. The wine grower’s hand works the land, harvests it, tastes the grapes and sorts a number of times. Production is focused on dry and sweet Jurançon wines that are well-bred. La Noblesse du Temps, its sweet wine, is harvested when the grapes are very mature and reveals all the richness and purity of the aromas. A suave yet fresh wine, with aromas of candied fruit, honey and almond. The Quintessence du Petit Manseng is a syrupy and outstanding limited production of wines. When it comes to dry whites, Henri believes the future of the Jurançon lies with dry wines. His top of the range, Canopée blend, is a generous and fatty wine, musty and spicy on the nose, which opens up towards aromas of stewed fruits among others. Open every day from 8am to 6pm with visits and tastings. www.jurancon-cauhape.com
Clos Uroulat. Cow, pigs, poultry.. all flew the coop. Since 1983, the Béarn property, which used to practice polyculture like many others, has been dedicated to wine. A 32 hectare vineyard and two wine growers, Charles Hours, wine grower by tradition and his daughter Marie, modern and more focused on marketing; they each cultivate their own vines. Charles’ more traditional range is defined by its purity and minerality, wines to be put down. Marie’s trendier range, produced from young vines, plays on seduction, freshness and lightness. The two blends “Happy Hours Fruity” and “Happy Hours cool” define themselves as wines to drink in the evening with your friends and are much appreciated in the United States. Visits and tastings by appointment. www.uroulat.com
Château Lafitte The origins of Lafitte go back to the fourteenth century. The château as it can be admired today was built in the sixteenth century: a good-sized nobleman’s residence with agricultural land and vineyards. For the past twenty years, Philippe and Brigitte Araou have enriched the wine growing activity by introducing organically grown vines. Their aim is to produce good wines to be enjoyed and shared with friends. Something quite important in the Bearn! The Lisson is a sweet blend and the Marine a dry one produced from petit manseng grapes that reveal all the typicity of the Jurançon. www.château-lafitte.fr
Église Saint-Girons. From 1464 to 1530, three generations of builders succeeded each other to realise this treasure of Gothic architecture. The bell tower is the highest in the Béarn region and stretches up 40 metres such a dungeon. The gigantic wood frame looks like an upside down double hull, a real masterpiece by the master-carpenters of the time. Guided visits to be booked by the Tourism Office.
Arthez de Béarn
A village with three chapels. As if dropped at the top of a ridge, as early as the Middle-Ages, Arthez formed part of Gaston Fébus’ system of defences to protect the Béarn from any invaders: a Citadel with bridges and gates that included, in its centre, a castle framed by two square towers. The Lord’s dwelling was surrounded by the convent and the Augustins Chapel. The old Chapel of the Commanderie of the Order Malta has since been converted into a concert hall. The Gaubin Chapel contains a magnificent recumbent statue of a knight in armour in its nave over which sits the Andoins crest.
Chapelle de Rousse
Château de Rousse Originally, the château was Henri IV’s old hunting lodge. Vines have been cultivated since the fifteenth century. The Labat family today owns the estate with ten hectare of vines on the hilltops. They produce dry and sweet white wines. The Château de Rousse Quatuor vintage 2007, a dry white with yellow green highlights, develops on the palate, fresh with hints of vegetables. Open from Monday to Saturday and by appointment. Tel.: +33 5 59 21 75 08
Domaine Barthélemy The Barthélemy estate, an eighteenth century wine estate that had fallen into disrepair, owes its new lease of life to the passion and adventure of the Tessier family. The six hectares of vines planted on the ridgeline with petit and gros manseng vine plants traditionally produce dry and sweet Jurançon wines. Vintages that Patrick Tessier, inspired by his travels and the sea, has turned into poetry. The St Barth blend has a deep golden colour, perfumed, full bodied and very fruity; it is a wine for celebrations. The Doigts de Fée bottle is dressed with a label that shows Polynesian women and is signed Titouan Lamazou. A fairy-like blend with aromas of caramel, coffee and toasted bread, produced from December harvests, vinified and matured for two years. Visits by appointment.www.jurancon-barthelemy.com
Domaine du Cinquau. In the family since 1617, this remarkable nine hectare estate is a growing winemaking concern thanks to Pierre Saubot’s vitality. The large Béarn residence is surrounded by outbuildings and ultra-modern installations developed to produce Jurançon according to the tradition. The wine store’s large glazed doors open up onto a terrace that overlooks the vineyards. A spectacle of nature with hills and vines, designed into a half moon, and a small wine growers house to the side. Concerts, plays, and shows are all organised outdoors. Antoine, Henri, Jeanne, Marguerite… the Cinquau estate’s blends are named after members of the family, Christian names that were also borrowed from History! The Antoine blend, a dry Jurançon from gros manseng and courbu grapes, fresh and ample in mouth with a zesty finish, is the bee’s knees. The Bernadotte blend, for those later harvests of petit manseng, draws closer to quince paste, with wooden, smoother notes. Guided tours and tastings. Walks in the vineyards and forest by appointment. Tel.: +33 5 59 83 10 41 www.jurancon.com
La Maison des Vins du Jurançon. Opposite the Commanderie, the very dynamic Maison des Vins is dedicated to the wines of the South-West. It brings together 65 independent winemakers and showcases over 140 carefully selected excellent vintages. Blending food and wine, tastings of wine and local produce are friendly occasions led by wine experts. Each time, three to four vintages are chosen and introduced by the winemaker. Tasting workshops by appointment. The Maison des Vins supports Art initiatives at the Commanderie of Lacommande. Tel.: +33 5 59 82 70 30 www.vins-jurancon.fr
In the twelfth century, the Commanderie was part of a network of hospitals set up by the Crusader Gaston IV. A hospice for monks and poor people and a place to stop for pilgrims on their way to Compostella. The monks would clear and cultivate the vines and produce a brew to provide comfort to their visitors. Architecturally speaking, this outstanding building, which has now been restored, has gone back to welcoming and looking after pilgrims and travellers. The hall of the old Commanderie provides a magnificent setting for modern art events. Other high level cultural events are organised in partnership with the County Council. The cemetery, adjacent to the garden, is a treasure trove for old and rare thirteenth century discoid stella. The Roman church, dedicated to Saint-Blaise, with sculpted capitals showing biblical scenes, is remarkable. Open to visitors. www.vins-jurancon.fr
L’Estaminet. Jean-Luc and Pierre Samson’s restaurant on the main square is always full at lunchtime. It is advisable to book ahead. The food is good and the portions generous. The whole region is in on this secret and winemakers from all around come to enjoy a plate of garbure, snails, home-made duck breasts and other local specialities. Tourists are just as delighted to sample some of these rich dishes, that used to be known as the “pauper’s meals” with a nice bottle of Jurançon from behind the counter. All of this at a very reasonable price. Tel.: +33 5 59 21 30 18. www.lestaminet.fr
Château de Cuqueron. At the heart of the Jurançon appellation, and as early as 1324, Lord Arnaud de Cucuro brought life to the estate and baptised the village with his name. Today, it is thanks to the determination of the owners that the château has found its splendour again and gone back to winemaking. The 16 hectares of vineyards are south-facing and undergo a very elaborate vinification process. The petit manseng grapes that makes up the Alchemist blend, with its golden colour, is a real explosion of softness with aromas of candied and citrus fruit. Mixing tradition with modernity, the château Cuqueron has added a guest house in one of the outbuildings. Visits and tastings by appointment. Tel.: +33 5 59 21 33 42
It is thought that Lucq was founded around 544 by Childebert, the son of Clovis. A typical village of the Béarn region that has preserved the ruins of an old Benedictine Abbey.
Saint-Vincent Church. One of the most beautiful religious monuments in the Béarn region. The first church to have been given back to the Catholic Church after the Wars of Religion. In the Romano-Gothic style, it contains an outstanding white marble sarcophagus from Paleo-Christian times that was used as an altar. Open to visitors every day from 8am to 8pm, outside of mass times.
Château de Jurque. A story of father and daughter. Pierre-Yves Latrille, an agricultural engineer, acquired the property in 1959 with 40 hectares of uncultivated land. He started with just 11 hectares of vines planted with petit and gros manseng grapes and has almost 36 hectares today. It is in 1999 that Marion, having obtained her degree in viti-oenology, came to work with her father. She waited until the day of the Epiphany to harvest the late gros manseng and saved the vineyard from a storm. Her vines thus saved from flooding and the vintage produced, Marion names it Epiphany. Opulent, with fine notes of candied fruit, its amber coloured wine is a real success. “If our wines were put to music, a harp would pick up on their fluidity and simplicity, a double bass would set the rhythm and bring out their fabric, and finally a deep and powerful voice would portray their volume and breath.” Marion is an artist. Visits and tastings by appointment. www.chateau-jolys.com
Domaine de Souch Vineyard
The perfect equation! Our three colours can be found at the Domaine de Souch: red for our “crush”, pink for the woman and green for organic. This estate is an absolute must-see!
We fell for Yvonne Hegoburu, a great lady of wine that planted her vineyard at the age of 60 and who has continued for the last 20 years to work on her vines with tenderness to make wine that is sheer happiness. Yvonne is respected by all the winemakers of the Béarn region and those further afield. She is also renowned in Japan. Her three Patous dogs, white as the snow, her golden blend and herself were stars on Japanese TV, a great endorsement for Jurançon wines.
Vines that are certified organic and biodynamic produce some exceptional wines: wines whose plain description would be to be straight and naturally generous. Yvonne has maliciously baptised her latest creation “The Undocumented”. An Undocumented that took root on the estate. A bright and joyous wine, “outside of the formal administrative framework but with a wine of France label”, she adds. One had to have the courage to dare! These AOC Jurançon wines are already on the tables of all the grand restaurants at the Plaza Athénée or the George V, it would be so trendy if the chefs and wine waiters could also house the “Undocumented” under the beams of their palaces. Visits and tastings by appointment. Tel.: +33 5 59 06 27 22. email@example.com
Sauveterre, from the ancient Latin “terra salva”, safe land. Around 1230, a “sauveté” was a place that had been rescued from the feudal system. Placed under the administration of the Church in the Middle-Ages, the city of Sauveterre-de-Béarn was granted a right of ecclesiastical asylum in opposition to the feudal system. As such it attracted slaves fleeing their statute where their masters could not pursue them. Having been fortified by Gaston VII of Moncade, it was strengthened as a fortified town of the viscounty of Béarn by Gaston Fébus. Sauveterre had to resist Spanish invasions and suffer the battles between Catholics and Huguenots during the Wars of Religion.
Sauveterre Church. The Church of Sauveterre-de-Béarn was built between the end of the eleventh and the beginning of the twelfth century. During the Middle-Ages, this fortified building dedicated to Saint-André was part of the city’s defences. Its architecture sits between Roman and Gothic with a superb sculpted tympanum above the main gate and an impressive steeple; the church is one of a kind in the Béarn region.
The fortified bridge was one of the four crossing points of the Gave in the whole of the viscounty of Béarn. Originally made out of wood, it was then rebuilt in stone and augmented with a draw bridge under Gaston III de Foix Béarn, commonly known as Gaston Fébus.
Château de Laàs. This seventeenth century manor house with 12 hectares of grounds houses one of the most beautiful collections of decorative arts in the whole of Aquitaine. The guided tour of this former barony of the Béarn allows one to discover Aubusson tapestries, paintings by Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun, Breughel, Rubens, Fragonard but also porcelains, ceramics, and furniture. In the park, one can wander between centenary trees, French gardens, the orangery, rosary, exotic bamboo forest and the orchard that overlooks the Gave of Oloron. Visits. Tel.: +33 5 59 38 91 53.
The city of salt.
Recent digs testify to the production of salt going back 3000 years, In the Middle-Ages, the inhabitants of Salies-de-Béarn, owned the salt fountain collectively and had organised themselves into a corporation to split the riches that came from the salt production. Having a monopoly over the production of salt was something that was rare, precious and highly coveted. Salies exported its treasure on the roads of the kingdom and along the “Cami Salié” (the salt route). Neither Louis XIV, nor the Revolution were able to abolish these rights. The abolition of the tax on salt and the competition with marine salt put the local artisans under pressure. Even though production has been modernised, the creation of the Salines site, meant Salies needed to diversify its activities. By focusing on the spa industry, the town, under the direction of Doctor Nougaret, offered a medical outlet to the White Gold. The first spa was opened in 1855.
Place de Bayès. It covers the old “eye of the source” and the pond where the inhabitants would come and draw the salted water. The town grew around this source in the Middle-Ages. The diversity of architectural styles, half-timbered houses and the Salesian houses on stilts define the town’s style. A great example of this is the Maison Bourg built in 1385 under the reign of Gaston Fébus.
Museum of Salt and Béarn traditions. The Museum of Salt, to which an area dedicated to Béarn traditions was added at the beginning of the year 2000, displays the results of archaeological and historical digs as well as the most important testimonies of daily life. Located in a seventeenth century half-timbered house, it welcomes visitors over three storeys. Open to visitors except Sundays, Mondays and Bank Holidays. Rue des Puits Salants. Tel.: + 33 5 59 09 31 99
The Thermal Centre. Moorish architecture with a tower and a minaret, this listed historical monument is now devoted to treatments and the benefits of thermal baths. Visits of the baths can be organised through the Tourism Office.
Lavignasse Chocolate Shop.The “Grain de Sel”, the “Petit Béarnais” or the “Crottines de Sanglier” are handmade by this pastry chef and chocolatier, who specialises of course in chocolate flavoured with Salies-de-Béarn salt. 3 Cours du Jardin Public. Tel: +33 5 59 38 17 57
Les Voisins restaurant. A seventeenth century house in the old part of town commended in the Hachette Guide as “a good little table in the Pyrenees”. Laurent Génestet is proud to cook up and serve his traditional young lamb, the salmis and the Andouille to which he adds a pinch of the exotic. A very good result on the Béarn black pudding as well! 12 rue des Voisins. Tel.: +33 5 59 38 01 79