Barcus is in the Pyrenees Atlantiques (Aquitaine region) in the south west of France, 35km from Pau, the department capital. The village has two excellent bars/restaurants.
This spectacularly beautiful area of France offers ideal relaxation or alternatively a great activity holiday.
Choose from days out to the beautiful seaside resorts of the South Atlantic coast, amazing mountain scenery of the Pyrenees or easily pop over to Northern Spain for extra shopping or sightseeing. This is a truly remarkable region with unspoilt sleepy French villages.
Popular places to visit
La Madeleine (8km) it’s amazing 360 degree panoramic views is some 800 meters above sea level with views across to Spain. There is also a charming chapel. What a fantastic picnic spot!
Hopital St. Blaise (10 km) is a small hamlet with a 12th century Romanesque church, listed as a UNESCO world heritage monument in 1998. Should you want lunch there are two typically French restaurants to choose from.
Gurs (17km) is now a museum but during the occupation Gurs was an internment camp for Jews of any nationality except French, as well as people considered dangerous by the government. After France’s liberation, Gurs housed German prisoners of war and French collaborators.
Oloron Sainte Marie (18km) is a charming market town with the church of Notre-Dame and Place de la Resistance. There is the Lindt chocolate factory with its shop, many shops, bars and restaurants. The Friday morning market has a wide selection of local produce. Oloron has many sporting activities including white water rafting and a water park (Aquabearn). The beautiful river was host to the world championship salmon fishing competition. Fresh salmon, brown, rainbow or sea trout can be fished here.
Navarrenx (23km) an ancient fortified town on the banks of the river Gave where there are water rafting activities. There are several charming bars and restaurants. A music festival is held yearly.
Gorges de Kakuetta (28km) At the heart of the Basque mountains, discover Sainte-Engrace, one of the most picturesque villages and also one of the most legendary. Within the Amazon temperate latitudes, its lush wilderness, and fierce beauty guard the secret of these gorges.
Laas (32km) A pretty village with a beautiful Chateau and gardens (open to public in season). A picnic in the Chateau gardens or lunch at the charming Auberge de la Fontainne restaurant in the village makes a lovely day out.
Arette la Pierre Saint Martin (39km) The village is nestled in a lovely forest of mugho pines at the foot of the pistes. This is certainly the ideal resort for discovering the joys of skiing. The panorama is superb! The Bearn Pyrenees mountains open onto the Pic d’Anie and stretch towards the Spanish peaks.
In the winter season, the French ski resort of Arette la Pierre Saint Martin has direct access to 20 individual pistes, served by 13 lifts. With skiing above 2000 metres, snow cover is generally reliable.
– 1 Black Piste
– 6 Red Pistes
– 9 Blue Pistes
– 4 Green Pistes
– 5km Cross County Pistes
Sauveterre-de-Bearn (39km) is a pretty medieval village perched above the Gave d’Oloron and facing the Pyrennes. It was an outpost on the pilgrimage trail from southwest France to Santiago de Compostella in Spain. It guarded Navarre and Gascony from invaders. Today, Sauveterre de Bearn is a pleasant medieval village worth a visit. You’ll want to visit the tourist attractions from the old bridge called the “Bridge of Legend” to the Romanesque Eglise St Andre.
Sallies-de-Bearn (45km) A beautiful and well preserved mediaeval spa town centred around the river. The town is full of listed 16th/17th century Bearnaise houses. Sallies has a lively weekly market and is famed as a spa centre A number of annual fetes take place, especially the famous Salt festival in early September. Sallies has plenty of bars and restaurants and even a Casino. Friday is Fish and Chips day at the Sallies Bar.
St Jean Pied de Port (50km) is one of the traditional starting points of the Camino de Santiago, the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostella in Spain. Pied-de-Port means ‘foot of the pass’ as the town sits at the base of the Roncevaux Pass through the Pyrenees. This ancient walled town is overlooked by its Citadel perched above. It is a picturesque and charming town and well worth a visit.
Pau (52km) The charming city of Pau with its castle, stunning views of mountains from the Boulevard de Pyrenees, beautiful parks, vibrant cafes and chic shops is a must to visit. Pau has the oldest known golf course in Europe, a horse racing course and also a vintage grand prix is held each May.
Lourdes Sanctuaries Notre Dame de Lourdes (77km) Lourdes is a town established by folklore as a sacred site with healing waters. Most people go to Lourdes to seek healing or renew their faith. Steeped in history, Lourdes is also a tourist attraction for its scenic beauty with its grottos, lake and archaeology.
Biarritz (116km) One of Europe’s most beautiful and stylish cities, resting on the French/Spanish border this coastal town embraces three cultures (French, Basque and Spanish). Its mild climate makes it a good destination all year round. People are drawn to the stunning beaches, the surf and the golf.
St Jean de Luz (122km) A beautiful seaside resort and active fishing port not far from the Spanish border Saint Jean de Luz is a lively and cosmopolitan town.
The Pyrenees National Park covers an area of over 45000 hectares across the Hautes-Pyrenees and Pyrenees-Atlantiques.