Bordeaux is the capital of the Aquitaine region and is situated on the mouth of the Garonne River. This beautiful city rivals Paris on the number of historical buildings and monuments, some dating back to Roman times. It also has excellent shopping with many exclusive shops and boutiques around the Place de la Cemedie. Bordeaux is of course very famous for its wines and hosts the largest wine fair in the world, Vinexpo
Also on the Garonne river, and joined to Bordeaux by the Canal du Midi, Toulouse lies just 150 kms from the Mediterranean. A similar size to Bordeaux it is the centre of the European aerospace industry and the headquarters for Airbus. It is also the site of the largest Cancer research centre in Europe. Its university in one of the oldest in Europe dating back to 1229 and hjas the third largest campus in France. A charming city well worth a visit.
Biarritz is only 18 km from the Spanish border and is in the heart of the Basque country. This once whaling settlement became popular in the 18th century when doctors sent their wealthy patients to bathe in the therapeutic waters. The beach and casino, opened in 1901 have both seen the rich and the famous and have been popular with royalty including Queen Victoria and Edward VII.
Pyrenees National Park
Created in 1967 the central zone covers 457km2 with a peripheral zone of 2063km2 which contains 86 villages with 40,000 inhabitants. The spectacular landscape is home to more than 70 species of animal and a huge array of flora. The refuge of the last French bears. Wonderful for walking through and there is a little train at Artonste.
This beautiful fully cloistered town with its wide pavements under the arches makes it a great place on a hot summers day to linger at one of the many shadied cafes and restaurants. There are some lovely shops to browse at all times of the year but for a fortnight each year Marciac hosts an amazing jazz festival. The town is alive from morning til night with a concert catering for 5,000 each night and free music from 11 am in the town square and around. Stalls cluster around the area selling pottery, funky clothes, handmade jewellery, musical instruments, spices, silks, pictures and so much more.
Cauterets and Pont dEspagne
Cauterets, La Mongie and Peyragudes are all great for skiing and snowboarding and are not as busy or expensive as the Alps. In the summer there are many activities up in the mountains when the wildflowers are in bloom. Pont d’Espagne on the edge of the Pyrenees National Park at a height of 1496m has beautiful waterfalls and 2 major valleys. Take the chair lift to Lac du Gaube high up in the mountains and dine by the lake nestling there.
A beautiful spot not only great to take in the views on foot or horseback but lots of sports including bob luge, climbing wall and whitewater rafting.
In 1858 St Bernadette saw the Marian apparition of Our Lady of Lourdes. This market town caters well for the many pilgrims who come each year. Situated at the foothills of the Pyrenees the town boasts a fortified castle and has a bloody history through the ages but now a centre for pilgrimage has many beautiful buildings to see.
Pau is the capital of the Pyrenees Atlantique department of France and also capital of the Bearn region and it is truly beautiful. Take the funicular from the station to the Boulevard des Pyrenees to be blown away by the spectacular views of the mountains that run on this 1.8km walk from the Chateau du Pau to Parc Beaumont. It is a university town so has a high student population. The shopping is good in Pau, try the Clemenceau area and the Gallerie Lafeyette . The chateau at Pau was the birthplace of Henry IV of France and was the holiday home of Napoleon and its gardens were once tended by Marie Antionette.
Everyone must visit this pretty little town with the wonderful ambiance of the Café du Centre. The quaint market square often has impromptu markets right outside the restaurants bustling tables. At 11 euros a head for 4 courses and including a carafe of quaffable red, which never runs dry, it may not be haute cuisine but it sure is tasty and fun.
Plaisance du Gers
Nestled on the Arros river this small town has two cloistered squares, one with medieval beginnings and the other 19th Century. It is the nearest supermarket town to the cottage at Castelnau , the Intermarche should be able to supply everything you require. Plaisance has a Leisure Centre where it is possible to swim in the pool, canoe and fish in the river, play tennis and mini golf or visit the cinema amongst other things.
The second largest metropolitan area in the Midi Pyrenees with a population of 110,000 inhabitants Tarbes has all the facilities of any large city. With many shops and business parks , leisure centres, parks and restaurants.
Grottes de Betharran
These caves, discovered in 1810 are considered to be some of the best in the world and are definitely worth a visit to see their interesting large variety of rock formations.
Try Le Petit Chateau golf course near Marciac with its stunning views or the cheaper course in Tarbes.
A pretty leafy town whose central road is covered in summer by an avenue of magnificent pollarded plane trees. Enjoy the shade whilst sipping coffee or a cool glass of rose at the Café du Centre, Maubourgetois or one of the other charming cafes in town. Super U is the nearest and largest supermarket to Castelnau and offers gourmet delicaces as well as your daily bread
Try Aignon lake with its sandy beach, flumes, lifeguard and tasty restaurant if you don’t take a picnic. The village is very pretty and has a number of places to eat or relax with a coffee.
The d’Artagnan museum at Lupiac is very interesting and tells Dumas’s exciting tales of the three musketeers and the history of that era
The people of Madiran are supposedly the longest living in France as the poultry diet washed down with the Madiran wine which is high in tannat is a very healthy one. Madiran is the village next door to Castelnau and its wines, although not to everyone’s taste must be sampled
Eugenie les Bains
Described as an oasis of calm and serenity it is a beautiful place to wander through even if you don’t take advantage of the thermal waters in the health spa. Beautiful gardens.
The smaller village fetes are low key but fun and very welcoming, try one. The firework displays are usually quite spectacular
The large black bull shaped notice boards you pass on the roadside are there to advertise the local bullfights. Even Castelnau has a bull fight in its arena on occasion. Not to everyone’s taste. They also host Course Landaise, which is where young, athletic men somersault over large horned cattle.
If you get the chance the open days at vineyards are well worth a visit. Sample the different wines produced in the area without pressure of having to buy a quantity.
Bordeaux, hub of the famed wine-growing region, is a port city on the Garonne River in southwestern France. It’s known for its Gothic Cathédrale Saint-André, 18th- to 19th-century mansions and notable art museums such as the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux. Public gardens line the curving river quays. The grand Place de la Bourse, centered on the Three Graces fountain, overlooks the Miroir d’Eau reflecting pool.
Toulouse, capital of France’s southern Occitanie region, is bisected by the Garonne River and sits near the Spanish border. It’s known as La Ville Rose (‘The Pink City’) due to the terra-cotta bricks used in many of its buildings. Its 17th-century Canal du Midi links the Garonne to the Mediterranean Sea, and can be traveled by boat, bike or on foot.
Biarritz, an elegant seaside town on southwestern France’s Basque coast, has been a popular resort since European royalty began visiting in the 1800s. It’s also a major surfing destination, with long sandy beaches and surf schools. A symbol of Biarritz, the Rocher de la Vierge is a rocky outcrop topped with a statue of the Virgin Mary. Reached via footbridge, it offers sweeping views of the Bay of Biscay.
The Cirque de Gavarnie is a cirque in the central Pyrenees, in Southwestern France, close to the border of Spain. It is within the commune of Gavarnie, the department of Hautes-Pyrénées, and the Pyrénées National Park. Major features of the cirque are La Brèche de Roland (English: Roland's Pass) and the Gavarnie Falls. About 2 hours drive from Labatut Riviere
The Château de Pau (English: Pau Castle) is a castle in the centre of the city of Pau, the capital of Pyrénées-Atlantiques and Béarn. It dominates that quarter of the city. Henry IV of France and Navarre was born here on December 13, 1553 and it was once used by Napoleon as a holiday home during his period of power.
Visit La Maison des Chameaux for a truly interactive experience for all the family! This family run animal park is on the border of the Gers and the Hautes Pyrenees and we have a fantastic bunch of animals for you to meet and interact with! Every 30 minutes at the farm there’s something different happening, learn to train our animals, take part, or just watch and enjoy in the shade of the trees. Meet and feed Gracie our famous miniature sheep, she is the worlds first sheep to do agility, you could even have a go at training her!