With the beautiful Béarn region offers unique views of the Pyrenees. Together with the Basque Country, Béarn forms the department of Pyrénées-Atlantique. Snow and palm trees. A special combination. It exists in Pyrénées-Atlantique. The southern landscape between the Atlantic Ocean and Hautes-Pyrénées is dominated by the mighty Pyrenees, whose highest peaks are also white in the summer. The view of the mountain range is perhaps the most beautiful from the green hilly landscape of Béarn des Gaves with its delightful historic towns of Navarrenx, Orthez, Salies-de-Béarn and Sauveterre-de-Béarn.
Pau, the capital of the department, is worth a visit. Pau has a beautiful cathedral and the Château de Pau has a beautiful historical collection. It is good to walk in the castle gardens, as well as on the accompanying 19th-century boulevard des Pyrénées, from where you can see the impressive Pic du Midi d'Ossau, which rises 2884 meters above the valley of Ossau.
Eating tapas, with a fresh AOC Béarn rosé, is just as popular in the Pyrénées-Atlantique as with its Spanish neighbors. That brings us to the Basque Country, the "other half" of the department. The French Basque Country is rich in contrast: we find the tranquility of the mountains and valleys and the summer bustle of the coast of the Bay of Biscay with the longest beaches in France. We cannot ignore two famous places: the pleasant harbor and shopping town of Saint-Jean-de-Lutz and the fashionable seaside resort of Biarritz, which was once a tiny fishing village, but was discovered after Napoleon III and Empress Eugénie established a summer palace there in the 19th century had it built. Biarritz is also a perfect starting point for trips to the Basque Country.
Also inland, the French Basque Country offers a series of smaller towns that are worth a visit: Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, Oloron-Sainte-Marie, Ascain, Ainhoa and Sare. What certainly should not be missing from the list is Espelette, the name giver of the bright red peppers that hang on the balconies of the red and white houses to dry in summer. We find the "piment d’Espelette" in regional dishes such as Basque chicken, Axoa, a mild dish of minced lamb, and in Sakari, a spicy sauce that is mainly eaten with grilled meat.
A culinary delicacy that is exported worldwide from the Basque Country is Bayonne's ham. In the city is an impressive Gothic cathedral and a Basque museum. Large parts of the city walls are well preserved and pleasant for walking. The atmosphere in Bayonne is really Basque. The language and traditions are honored. There are many tapas restaurants and the national sport of the Basque Country is practiced fanatically: Pelota, a nice viewing game that has similarities with Frisian handball.
There is a lot to see and experience in both Béarn and the French Basque Country. In summer colorful local parties take place and many villages and towns organize markets and fairs. The market halls of Pau are open every day; Every Friday morning there is a large market in Jurançon, known for its white aperitif wine. If you want to experience the mountains in a special way as a family, you should definitely take a ride on the "Petit train d'Artouste" which offers a dazzling view of the Pyrenees at an altitude of 2000 meters.