House | 4 bedrooms | sleeps 8
Maison Berchon is in a quiet location, yet only 30 minutes from historic Pau and world-famous Lourdes. So, there's plenty of sightseeing if you tire of relaxing in the garden or by the pool. Want to be even more active? Take your pick from golf, rambling, horse-riding, fishing and water sports - or, in winter, skiing, with both Cauterets and Gourettes just an hour away. Shopping in Nay's busy market is a delight and you can walk to the local baker for the all-important breakfast croissants.
The sitting room balcony overlooks the private garden, where there's plenty of space for children to play, trees to give shade and an area for al fresco eating. With 2 double and 2 twin bedrooms, the house is ideal for a large family, two smaller ones or a group of friends. The house has been newly renovated from top to bottom while taking care to preserve its many architectural features, including a stunning, traditional turned-wood Bearnaise staircase, original wood flooring and marble fireplaces.
Access to the swimming pool (occasionally shared with the owners) is via a secure gate in the garden. The pool (12 x 6 metres) has a rolling security cover that conforms to EU safety standards and a large tiled surround for sunbathing.
|Size||Sleeps up to 8, 4 bedrooms|
|Nearest beach||Lac de Baudreix 3 km|
|Nearest Amenities||300 m|
|Nearest travel links||Nearest airport: Lourdes 28 km, Nearest railway: Coarraze-Nay 500 m|
|Family friendly||Suitable for children over 5|
|Notes||Pets welcome, Yes, smoking allowed|
Features and Facilities
|Luxuries||Log fire, Internet access, DVD player|
|General||Central heating, TV, CD player, Telephone, Table tennis, Games room, Wi-Fi available|
|Standard||Kettle, Toaster, Iron, Hair dryer|
|Utilities||Clothes dryer, Dishwasher, Cooker, Microwave, Fridge, Freezer, Washing machine|
|Rooms||4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms of which 1 Family bathrooms and 1 Shower rooms|
|Furniture||Single beds (4), Double beds (2), Dining seats for 8, Lounge seats for 8|
|Other||Linen provided, Towels provided|
|Outdoors||Private garden, BBQ|
|Further details indoors|
Quality Travertine-tiled bathrooms with thermostatic shower mixers and all-white suites. Separate utility room with third loo. Electric window shutters to most windows.
Multi-games table in den and board games, books, DVDs and magazines available for when you want to relax indoors. Wii console with games.
Official rating 4* (Inspection Classement Hotel)
|Further details outdoors|
Wooden garden furniture and gas barbecue. Sun-loungers, chairs and inflatables available poolside. Off-street parking for two cars. Sliding front gate means garden can be fully enclosed for children's or pets' safety.
The Aquitaine/Dordogne region
Aquitaine in SW France is one of the most varied regions of France, offering everything from rolling hillsides covered in vines to mile upon mile of sandy beaches to fertile, green river valleys and, of course, the majestic Pyrenees. It stretches down the Atlantic coast some 300km from central France to the Pyrenees and covers five departments - including Pyrenees Atlantiques.
Bordeaux, its capital, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with some stunning 18th century - and earlier - architecture and great bars and restaurants. The Bordeaux wine region is world-famous and the city hosts major musical and theatrical events through out the year. If you want to visit before or after your stay in Nay, Bordeaux is just 90 minutes from Pau via the newly-opened A65 motorway.
The Pyrenees Atlantiques, as its name suggests, stretches from the Atlantic coast along the Pyrenees to the south. Its two regions are the Basque Country and the Bearn.
The Basque Country in France (the other half lies over the border in Spain) runs from Bayonne to Hendaye along the coast and inland stretches through Basse Navarre to the Soule, where the southern part of the Bearn begins. We can't begin to do justice to the rich traditions and culture of the Basques here - let's just say their language is unique, their cuisine one of the best and their traditions steeped in history.
From Nay, it's a short trip to towns such as Mauleon Licharre (the manufacturing centre for espadrilles - those brilliant rope-soled sandals) and only 75 minutes on the motorway to elegant Biarritz (surfers' paradise and favourite resort of the Empress Eugenie). A bit further down the coast, you'll find St Jean de Luz - a small but perfectly formed resort that's worth the trip in the summer to enjoy the regular 'fuego del toro' celebrations or eat in one of the many great seafood restaurants.
Nay is in the Bearn, which runs the length of the Basque Country's eastern border. A landscape of alternating hills and valleys gives way to the steeper gorges and impressive peaks of the Pyrenees. Two major rivers - the Gave d'Oloron and the Gave de Pau - carve through the region, offering some of Europe's best salmon and trout fishing. The warm climate and fertile soil make this ideal farming country.
Nay is a bastide (Medieval new town) dating back to 1302 and you can still see parts of the original walls. Take the time to visit the lovely 15th century St Vincent church and Renaissance Maison Carrée in the centre of town and the unique Musée du Beret. For arts lovers, the Minoterie, an old industrial warehouse converted into studio and exhibition space, holds regular art shows – as does the Maison Carrée, which also has exhibits about the local area, including its rich industrial heritage. Maison Berchon itself was built by one of Nay's major 19th century textiles magnates.
The Gave de Pau, runs through the town and offers lots of opportunities for fishing, riverside walks and water sports. Nay also has a very modern swim pool - Nayeo - with plume, two pools and fitness centre, while the Lac de Baudreix with its sandy beach, lake and restaurant/bar is just 3km away. Within an hour's drive, golf lovers have the choice of nine courses. The closest are the two at Pau, including the oldest golf club in France, and an 18-hole picturesque course at Lourdes.
Every local village has its fete during the summer months and Nay's five-day extravaganza in August is one of the biggest - with a funfair, children's entertainments and a big parade.
Nearby Pau was the birthplace of Henri IV and you can visit his splendid chateau, visit art galleries and museums, shop in the lovely boutiques or impressive markets - and stop for a drink at one of the cafes on the Boulevard des Pyrenees to enjoy the magnificent views of the mountains. An ultra-modern sports complex, including a centre for pelota, the fastest ball game in the world, lies on the north side of Pau - as well as a major racecourse. In May, Pau hosts two Grand Prix weekends for vintage and Formula 3 cars and it's often a staging-post for the Tour de France in July.
Within 10 minutes of Nay, you can visit the Grottes de Betharram, an impressive group of caves, complete with underground train - and Lourdes, the world-famous pilgrimage site, is just 20km away. The Parc National des Pyrenees, with its abundance of nature trails and magnificent scenery, begins only a few kilometres from Nay - a fabulous resource for those who like mountain biking, rambling or climbing.
Nay's large mixed market on Tuesdays and local produce market on Saturdays give you plenty of opportunity to look for bargains or buy high-quality food from local farmers. You can shop for daily essentials at the supermarket and excellent boulangerie just round the corner while the centre of Nay offers even more bakeries, a butcher, deli, post office and range of other shops.
If you want to eat out, local restaurants include the Spanish-influenced Le St Georges in the centre of Nay and the Vieux Logis 4km away at Estelle-Betharram for classic French dining. And watch out for places offering Assiette de Pays - which promote local specialities, on a plate. The two main cafes in the centre of town both serve brasserie-style meals at midday while other eateries include a creperie and pizzeria. For lots more choice, Pau's the place to go - you can take your pick of cuisine from Basque to Vietnamese, grilled meats to vegetarian.
5 December to 16 February 2014 - Pau Hippodrome winter races
9 to 11 May 2014 - Grand Prix de Pau - unusually preceding the Historique in 2014.
17 to 18 May - Grand Prix Historique de Pau - all the colour and excitement of a bygone age.
24 July - the Tour de France comes to town, with the 18th Stage starting in Pau and passing by Nay on the way to Hautacam. A must-see for cycling enthusiasts.
21 to 24 August - Pau's fab summer festival Hestiv'oc takes over the town.
22 to 26 August - Nay celebrates its 60th annual Fetes de Nay.
22 to 26 October - Les Etoiles de Pau **** world class horse trials.