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Discover our must-haves

Let yourself be transported to the heart of the Basque Country, in the provinces of Basse-Navarre and Soule!

The Béarn region is also a stone’s throw from the Basque Country, so why not drop in for a visit?

In a nutshell:

Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port (30 minutes from Cambo-les-Bains),

Irouleguy vineyard (30 minutes from Cambo-les-Bains),

Aldudes Valley (40 minutes from Cambo-les-Bains),

Col d’Ispeguy(44 minutes from Cambo-les-Bains),

Iraty Forest (1h20 from Cambo-les-Bains),

Holzarte(1h30 from Cambo-les-Bains),

La Verna cave (1h50 from Cambo-les-Bains),

Pau (1h23 from Cambo-les-Bains),

Train d’Artouste (2h24 from Cambo-les-Bains),

Jurançon vineyards (1h28 from Cambo-les-Bains),

Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port

A famous stopover on the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, this medieval city is the capital of Lower Navarre.

It takes its name from Saint-Jean-Baptiste, patron saint of the village, as well as its geographical location at the foot of the Pyrenean passes. Indeed, “port” derives from the Latin “portus” meaning “neck”. You’ll enjoy wandering the cobbled streets of its old town after passing beneath the still-standing ramparts of the fortified village.

As you stroll through the shopping center, you’re sure to spot one of the symbols of the pilgrimage: the scallop shell. Emblematic of this pilgrimage since the Middle Ages, pilgrims used to bring them back once they had reached the city of Santiago de Compostela.

To get a feel for the city’s setting, take a step up. The citadel, located on the Mendiguren hill, overlooks the town and offers an exceptional panorama over the roofs of its buildings and the surrounding peaks. Built between 1625 and 1627, and remodeled in 1640, the Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port citadel stands on the site of the former medieval castle. This listed building has been home to a secondary school since 1965, and tours are organized in July and August.

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Once you’ve enjoyed the town of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, take the path along the River Nive beside the Porte Notre-Dame.

Following the river, you’ll reach the Eyherraby stone bridge, where you can soak up the peacefulness of the area.

Tables are available in the surrounding area, making it an ideal spot for a family picnic!

Aldudes Valley

Located in the heart of Basse-Navarre, it comprises three villages: Banca, Aldudes and Urepel .

Sports enthusiasts and gourmets alike will find plenty to do here, since in addition to being a renowned hiking spot, the Aldudes valley is also home to many of the must-try Basque gastronomic delights. Banca trout, Basque kintoa pork, ewe’s milk cheese… there’s something for everyone!

The valley also has a strong mining heritage, with Banca’s iron and copper mines dating back at least to Antiquity. The Olhaberri mining and metallurgy heritage interpretation center provides an insight into the industry that has left its mark on the region. For total immersion, opt for the guided tour, which takes you into a 40-metre mine gallery!

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Take the Basque pig discovery trail set up by Pierre Oteiza!

Open all year round, this free, open-access trail lets you learn more about pig farming using QR codes along the way.

Allow 1 hour for this easy hike!

Irouleguy vineyard

Created in the 12th century by the monks of Ronceveaux Abbey, the Irouleguy vineyard now produces a PDO wine.

Terraced to adapt to the slopes of the Pyrenees, the vineyard covers 270 ha and the appellation encompasses 15 communes.

Irouléguy is one of the smallest vineyards in France and the only one in the northern Basque country.

Every year, a number of growers work hard to produce this wine, resulting in a multitude of parcels located on soils with different characteristics.

The vines are often planted on steep slopes and terraced. Manual labor is the order of the day.

Irouleguy is available in 3 colors: red, rosé and dry white.

To discover their flavours, the producers and the Cave Coopérative are opening the doors of their vineyards, which have been awarded the “Vignobles et Découvertes” label! Now all you have to do is choose how you’d like to discover the vineyards: tastings, guided tours, signposted walks or even electric scooters…

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Once you’ve enjoyed the town of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, take the path along the River Nive beside the Porte Notre-Dame.

Following the river, you’ll reach the Eyherraby stone bridge, where you can soak up the peacefulness of the area.

Tables are available in the surrounding area, making it an ideal spot for a family picnic!

Ispeguy pass

Just a 15-minute drive from Baigorry, the Col d’Ispeguy rises to an altitude of 672m. Accessible by car, it offers some of the most spectacular scenery in the Pyrenees! The road to get there is a narrow, winding mountain road that will delight road bike enthusiasts!

Once you’ve reached the top of the pass, continue on the Spanish side. This will enable you to discover Navarrese villages such as Erratzu and Arizkun. Once you’ve crossed the border, you’ll be able to see the difference in the architecture of the houses.

To make sure you don’t retrace your steps, on your return to France you’ll head for Amaiur, a small village in the heart of the Baztan valley. All that’s left to do is cross the Otxondo pass and Dancharia to return to France!

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Once you’ve reached the Ispeguy pass, you’ll come across some “ventas”, Spanish establishments where you can get something to eat.

Originally, ventas were simple farms set up close to the border, often serving as supply points for the local population, and later as staging posts for smugglers. Over the centuries, and particularly in the second half of the 20th century, they have multiplied and evolved.

Iraty Forest

The largest beech forest in Europe, the Iraty forest stretches between Lower Navarre, Soule and Navarre.

A favourite with nature lovers, it’s a place to enjoy all four seasons. The dense green of the beech trees in summer transforms into a palette of dazzling colors in autumn, creating a dazzling visual spectacle. Hiking, mountain biking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing or simply strolling through the forest… there’s something for everyone!

As well as being an exceptional playground for sports enthusiasts, the Iraty massif is also renowned for its ecological and ornithological wealth. 218 species have been listed by the Ligue de Protection des Oiseaux. In summer, the ornitho chalet opens its doors for you to learn more about bird migration.

To fully immerse yourself in the atmosphere of the Massif, opt for the Chalets d’Iraty, accommodation in the heart of nature!

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Taste mountain gastronomy!

From April to November, l’Etxola on the Iraty plateau opens the doors of its cheese bar for tasting and buying good ewe’s milk cheese. You’ll also have the chance to discover transhumant pastoralism through an exhibition on the lives of shepherds. Information and reservations on +33 (0)9 88 19 12 37 or etxola.cize@orange.fr

La Verna cave

Located between the Basque country and Béarn, in Sainte-Engrâce, the grotte de la Verna is an exceptional underground site. This is the largest lit underground chamber open to the public. Guided tours are offered to suit different audiences. Whether you’re an adventure-seeker or a curious explorer, there’s something for everyone!

The discovery of the 300-meter-long Lépineux chasm in 1950 marked the start of exploration of the Pierre Saint Martin massif. The gigantic cavity was reached in 1953 and was recognized as the world’s largest natural underground chamber at the time.

Today, access is via a 660-metre tunnel that leads into the bowels of the Pyrenees, at the end of which visitors discover a gigantic valley of rock. To give you an idea of the cave’s immensity, it could hold seven times Notre-Dame de Paris…and a hot-air balloon flew there in 2003!

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The number of visitors per tour is limited.

Sightseeing tours of varying degrees of difficulty and caving adventures are on offer to satisfy as many visitors as possible. Always make sure you’re well covered, no matter what tour you choose!

Please note: tours are by appointment only: www.laverna.fr

Holzarte footbridge

The Holzarte footbridge, “between the walls” in Basque, is suspended 150m above the Olhadubi gorge at Larrau. Built in 1920, it originally enabled loggers to reach the logging sites on the other side of the river.

The footbridge is only accessible on foot!

It’s a 1-hour hike from the Logibar inn, 14km from Tardets. For the more courageous, it’s possible to continue the journey by looping around the Olhadubi Gorge. On the other hand, this 4-hour hike requires a good hiker.

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The parking lot for the “Passerelle d’Holzarte” hike is small and always crowded.

We advise you to take the shuttle bus (line 60 – stop “parking d’Holzarte”) from Larrau or Tardets. It operates every day for 6 weeks during the summer (see timetables on www.txiktxak.fr )

Pau

Located at the foot of the Pyrenees, Pau offers a wide range of activities. Lovers of architecture, heritage, gastronomy and culture will be delighted. The city of Vert Galant will seduce you, whatever your interests!

As you stroll through the cobbled streets of the old town, you’ll discover half-timbered houses, lively squares and quaint boutiques. The Place Royale is an emblematic place where you can soak up Pau’s charming atmosphere.

For art lovers, head for the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Pau, home to an exceptional collection of paintings, sculptures and objets d’art, offering a journey through the ages and styles of art.

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During your visit, take the opportunity to visit the Château de Pau, set in the heart of the city.

Built in the 12th century, the monument was first a feudal castle, then over the centuries became a royal, imperial and national palace, and finally a museum. Famous for being the birthplace of Henri IV, King of France and Navarre, you can discover the legendary turtle shell that is said to have been his cradle.

Artouste train

Situated at an altitude of over 2,000 meters, the resort of Artouste welcomes you with breathtaking panoramic views.

Surrounded by majestic peaks and verdant valleys, the resort offers an exceptional natural setting. In summer, the Alpine meadows are adorned with colorful flowers, while in winter, the snow transforms the region into a white paradise for winter sports enthusiasts.

One of the resort’s most emblematic attractions is the Petit Train d’Artouste. Embark on a journey aboard Europe’s highest narrow-gauge train! The adventure begins with a 10-minute gondola ride up from the Sagette station.

Whether you’re into hiking, mountain biking, fly fishing or winter sports, Artouste offers a myriad of outdoor activities.

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For the train, we strongly advise you to reserve your seat in advance at the Cambo-les-Bains Tourist Office or via thewwww.artouste.fr website.

Several tickets are available: “Discovery” for a 3h30 excursion, “Escapade” for a day trip, “Camper” if you want to spend a night (or more) under the stars in the Béarn mountains!

Jurançon vineyard

Jurançon is an AOC white wine covering almost 1,000 hectares of pre-Pyrenean hills in the Béarn region. Dry and sweet white wines are produced. The Jurançon vineyards stretch over rolling hillsides, benefiting from a favorable microclimate created by the proximity of the mountains. The varied soils, composed of pebbles, clay and sand, give the grapes a distinctive aromatic richness, characteristic of the region’s wines.

The noble grape varieties grown in Jurançon contribute to the renown of its wines. You may be familiar with some of these names: Gros Manseng, Petit Manseng, Courbu blanc

A visit to the Jurançon vineyards offers an opportunity to taste these exceptional wines while enjoying the rolling countryside. Numerous wineries open their doors to visitors, offering tastings accompanied by enlightened commentaries from passionate winemakers. Don’t hesitate to meet them to learn a little more about this local wine, its history, respect for traditional practices and winemaking methods.

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To promote the Jurançon region and its key players, Cave de Gan is offering an immersion into the heart of its vineyards.

4 fun and educational trails with explanatory panels to help visitors make the link between terroir, winemaking and tasting.

This free, self-guided tour is divided into 4 loops of varying lengths. Allow between 30 minutes and 1 hour.