The Area Around Lichos
Lichos is a pretty hamlet on the banks of the River Saison, set in the rolling foothills of the Pyrenees. On the route of the famous St Jaques de Compostelle, there are many gorgeous walks and bike rides in the area, and everything that you could wish for within a short drive. From visiting chateaus to white water rafting, this is an ideal location to explore this truly stunning part of South West France.
Mauléon-Licharre is the closest town to Lichos, just 10 minutes drive away with a good range of supermarkets and boulangeries. It is also the espadrille capital should you need to pick up a pair of the famous rope-soled canvas shoe.
Two beautiful castles, listed as Historic Monuments, are the pride of the town of Mauléon-Licharre: the imposing medieval castle fort of Mauléon, perched on a hillside and dating from the 12th century, with its walkway offering a magnificent view over the Saison Valley and the Pyrenees; and Andurain Castle in Maytie, in the Renaissance style, with mullioned windows and sculpted dormers. The latter, built by Arnaud de Maytie in the early 17th century, boasts splendid carved fireplaces and a library containing books from the 16th and 17th centuries.
Perched on a gentle promontory above the rushing waters of the Gave d'Oloron, the medieval town of Sauveterre-de-Béarn not only has a remarkable architectural heritage, but also a wonderful natural environment.
This particularly harmonious scene can be admired from the picturesque Legend Bridge (Pont de La Légende). A listed Historical Monument, of which an arch and a fortified gate remain, it once played an important role in the defense of the town. Take the time to soak up the atmosphere at this wonderful site, admiring the view of the Gave d'Oloron surrounded by greenery, the Monréal Tower, the bell-tower of the Church of St Andrew and the walls of Sauveterre-de-Béarn.
Protected by imposing fortifications, the fortified town of Navarrenx, located in the heart of Béarn, proudly towers over the Gave d'Oloron. Its entrance, St Anthony Gate, and the high walls built around it in the 16th century reflect its important military past.
For a spot of shopping, don't miss the market in Navarrenx, held on Wednesday mornings throughout the year on Place d'Armes and Place Darralde, and on Sunday mornings from May to September! Fishing enthusiasts can indulge in their hobby to their heart's delight, by casting their rods into the fish-rich waters of the Gave d'Oloron.
A short 15 minute drove from Lichos, the origins of St Palais date back to the twelfth century. Featuring among others an equestrian center, sports facilities, there is also a good range of restaurants and bars, in which to sample the local fare. Saint-Palais also many shops.
The small town of Oloron-Sainte-Marie, located at the edge of the Aspe and Ossau valleys in Béarn, has a remarkable architectural heritage. This is evidenced by the Cathedral of St Mary, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of the Way of St James, and its beautiful carved Romanesque doorway dating from the 12th century. Also worth a look is the medieval district of Sainte-Croix with picturesque old houses and the charming Promenade Bellevue: as the name meaning "beautiful view" suggests, this walk offers a lovely panoramic view of the town skyline and the Pyrenees!