Michael Grant de Longueuil
1. My regular visit to one of the Gems of the BÃ©arn
WeatherOur six weeks in October and November were wonderful.
We were still in shirt sleeves in November as it was mostly sunny weather.
We were also there in March and spring was already well established which is very different to where I currently live on an island off the west coast of Scotland.
HolidaySo great, I now have an apartment there! A very special town that was rebuilt and fortified by Leonardo Da Vinci's partner Fabricio Siciliano.
He had worked with the Great Man during Leonardo's first salaried employment as military architectural advisor to El Moro who was the Duke of Milan.
Once Navareenx had been rebuilt under the request of Jeanne D'Albret by Fabricio, many of Leonardo's innovations were to be found in the structure.
So that when Marshall Vauband refortified France 200 years later this was the first bastion he visited to discover how to make a place almost impregnable.
At the end of the Peninsula War, Wellington camped opposite with his troops and decided against a siege despite a skeleton garrison. "Too many good men would have been sacrificed".
The town is charming and welcoming with some very hospitable cafes and bars. The people are hospitable and proud of their individualistic Béarnaise heritage.
Navarrenx nestelles in a bend in the Gave d'Oloron, my grandfather started fly casting for salmon there in 1919, now it is the capital of Salmon fishing for the Pyrenees.
We sat on the 11th century bridge arose the Gave in November and counted a mixture of large fish, some thirty or so clearly visible at one counting.
Places RecommendedThere are great lunch time meals and good hospitality at the Bar des Sports, the Bar du centre opposite the town hall does drinks and meals also.
At the east end of the town there is the Bar St Jacques, with a variety of meals on the menu and a bar with evening entertainment.
Lots of chamber d'hôte es:
Especially for pilgrims as Navaarenx is on one of the main pilgrimage routes.
What is Great is that it is an hours drive or less to Lourdes, like wise to Biarritz, and Bayonne, and the nearest Spanish border is forty minutes or less.
Two wonderful valleys in the Pyrenees, the d'Aspe and the d'Osseau are an hour away from the Spanish border, both valleys are spectacular and very different to each other.
I've been in love with this corner of France for many decades.
If you go there then keep it a secret!
Recommend Navarrenx to others