Live comfortably inside a tastefully renovated house with every convenience, then open your door and step back 300 years into the tiny twisting streets of a unique Bearnaise town, a perfect location for exploring this idyllic corner of France. Although the house can sleep eight people, it works really well for smaller groups and even a couple would feel at home here.
The property: This is a 300 year old typical Béarnaise house on three floors, but completely renovated. The ground floor has a 35 m² day room, comprising fitted kitchen, dining area and seating area. Behind is a utility room with the usual machines and storage. A superb winding staircase leads to the three first floor bedrooms and shower room (with WC) and continues to the top floor 30 m² sitting room, which is light and airy and has splendid views of the Béarnaise rooftops. The fourth bedroom and bathroom (with WC) are also on this floor. Many of the rooms are decorated with the traditional toile de jouy papers and coloured Basque floor tiles and other period features abound. There is no garden but the top floor has a (narrow) balcony looking to the church and along this very special street. There is also reserved parking available for one car.
Just 45 minutes from the stunning Pyrenean mountains and the white sand beaches of the Atlantic coast, this is an area which can be enjoyed all year round. There are endless outdoor activities ranging from whitewater rafting or skiing to gentle country walks or a game of golf.
There are many beautiful medieval towns and villages nearby and during the summer months, both locals and tourists flock to the traditional fetes. You can also enjoy the bustle and chic of Biarritz’s Grand Plage or Pau’s Boulevard de Pyrenees. If this leaves you in need of relaxation, visit Salies’ thermal baths and enjoy the hot pool or a luxurious beauty treatment.
As a wine producing region with a strong gastronomic tradition, there are excellent restaurants which offer good value for money. Don’t forget to visit the local vineyards and sample the fine Jurancon, Madiran and Bearn wines.
|Size||Sleeps up to 6, 4 bedrooms|
|Rooms||4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms of which 1 family bathroom and 1 shower room|
|Nearest beach||Biarritz 50 km|
|Nearest travel links||Nearest airport: Pau or Biarritz 50 km, Nearest railway: Puyoo 8 km|
|Family friendly||Great for children of all ages|
|Notes||No pets allowed, No smoking at this property|
|Luxuries||Fireplace, Internet access, DVD player|
|General||Air conditioning, TV, Video player, CD player, Telephone, Satellite TV, Wi-Fi available|
|Standard||Kettle, Toaster, Iron, Hair dryer|
|Utilities||Clothes dryer, Dishwasher, Cooker, Microwave, Fridge, Freezer, Washing machine|
|Furniture||Double Beds (3), Single Beds (2), Dining seats for 8, Lounge seats for 8|
|Other||Linen provided, Towels provided, High chair available|
|Outdoors||Balcony or terrace|
|Access||Parking, Not suitable for wheelchair users|
Owners live close-by in case of problems or queries
This idyllic corner of France has a warm and sunny climate, without being unbearably hot, which makes you just want to get out and about and discover the beautiful countryside and outdoor activities. It's an area of sea, mountains and rolling hills, as good for producing wines as it is for fishing for salmon. No wonder that in the past it was invaded by both the English and Spanish.
PLACES TO GO
Biarritz (45 minutes) - a chic and vibrant town popular with tourists and surfers, Biarritz has some of the best beaches in Europe and its surfing is world class. Good for shops, restaurants and people watching. It’s easy to feel underdressed here!
Pau (45 minutes) - is a beautiful city and the Boulevard de Pyrenees, which stretches from the Chateau to the Parc du Beaumont, has stunning views of the mountains. Enjoy a coffee or a glass of wine in one of the many cafes on the Boulevard. A visit to the Chateau and the old town, which has a good range of restaurants in its cobbled streets, is a must.
St Jean de Luz (60 minutes) - a very pretty seaside resort based around a beautiful circular bay. It has excellent seafood restaurants, stylish shopping and a gorgeous sandy beach. Visit the picturesque fishing port of Ciboure or work off your lunch with a walk along the cliff tops to Hendaye.
Espelette (45 minutes)
A picturesque Basque town which is famous for its hot red peppers - during the summer months they are hung outside the houses and shops to dry. A good place for buying souvenirs, market day is a Wednesday. There is also a castle and a 16th century church.
Sauveterre de Bearn (10 minutes) - a pretty fortified town with an impressive castle overlooking the Gave d’Oloron. You can swim in this beautiful river or take part in a wide range of watersports, see Things to Do
San Sebastian (60 minutes) - vibrant Spanish city set around a perfect circular bay. Great for shopping, tapas and nightlife.
Lourdes (90 minutes) Pope Benedict is expected to visit this fascinating town in September 2008 to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the shrine. Lourdes can be extremely busy in high season - it boasts more hotels than any other French city except Paris!
Dax (45 minutes) is a pleasant spa town with hot springs which maintain a constant temperature of 64 degrees. There is an excellent range of clothing boutiques and larger stores including Galeries Lafayette. There are also some excellent patisseries.
St Jean Pied de Port - an impressive hilltop fortress town and the traditional start of the Santiago de Compostella pilgrimage.
Vallee d’Aspe (60 minutes) - enjoy spectacular walking and climbing in the mountains, purchase cheese made by shepherds and visit the animal park at Borce with bears, marmots and other Pyrenean wildlife.
Holzarte (45 minutes) experience a climb up to the top of the gorge and then walk along the Himalayan style suspension bridge for breathtaking views. Not for the fainthearted!
Sorde l'Abbaye (10 minutes)
A pretty medieval village with a beautiful church and a monastery which is open to the public.
THINGS TO DO
Markets - enjoy the sights and smells of the traditional French market where you can buy eggs, milk, cheese, foie gras, honey, fruit and vegetables, breads and cakes, Basque fabrics and berets, clothes, handmade gifts, soaps. Market days: Orthez - Tuesday mornings; Peyhorade - Wednesday mornings; Salies - Thursday mornings
Vineyards - excellent Jurancon whites, both sweet and dry are produced around Pau. The Pays Basque is famous for its Irouleguy reds and Madiran is also produced nearby. Closer to home, the Lapeyre Guilhemas vineyard in Salies, only 5 minutes walk from the house, produces excellent Bearn reds. Tasting is available every day except Sunday.
Surfing & Body Boarding - Biarritz and Hossegor are less than an hour’s drive if you want to demonstrate your boarding skills alongside the best in the world.
Walking - Salies is located in beautiful rolling countryside dotted with picturesque villages. There are numerous signposted walks ranging from short strolls to challenging day walks. Further afield, the Pyrenees offer some of the best walking in the world, from day walks to the mammoth GR10 and Haute Route Pyreneen which run from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean
Alpine & Nordic Skiing, Snowboarding, Snow walking - there are multiple resorts, both French and Spanish, within a 90 minute drive from Salies. Pierre St Martin www.lapierrestmartin.com (good for beginners/intermediate); Gourette www.gourette.com; Cauterets (very pretty resort with good après ski) www.cauterets.com; Bareges La Mongie (largest ski area in the Pyrenees) www.bagneresdebigorre-lamongie.com; Somport (Nordic Skiing only), Astun www.astun.com, Formigal www.formigal.com
Sports - Base de Plein Air de Mosqueros (5 minutes). Excellent sports facilities located in a lovely wooded park including tennis courts (hard, clay and indoor), badminton courts, table tennis, a pelotte court and an outdoor swimming pool with two paddling pools and a pretty grassy sunbathing area. Tel: 05 59 38 15 53
Water Park - Oloron (45 minutes) A great day out for the whole family includes swimming pools, slides, boat rides etc. Tel: 05 59 39 20 75
Water Sports - Sauveterre - A range of water sports for all ages and abilities including kayaking, canoeing and rafting www.aboste.com
Swimming - at Mosqueros in Salies during high season and Mourenx (30 minutes) all year round - Fantastic new 30 metre pool opened December 2007, glass wall with views over the Pyrenees. Also paddling pools and large chute. www.vert-marine.com
Golf - a beautiful 12 hole course and driving range just a ten minute walk from the house. www.golf-salies.com
Casino - Biarritz’s casino is famous across Europe but you can hone your skills closer to home at Salies’ recently reopened and renovated 19th century casino
Rugby - No, not to play, to watch! There are top division clubs at Dax, Biarritz and Bayonne.
Cinema – in Salies - Brush up on your French with a movie. There is a full programme throughout the year which includes some English language films.
EATING AND DRINKING
Spoiled for choice with a restaurant either end of the street, you can choose between a delicious 12 euro three course menu on the riverside at La Terrasse or go a la carte at the recently renovated and stylish Les Voisins.
Across the square lies the l’Auberge des Fontaines Fleuries, where you can eat
al fresco under the wisteria. Alternatively enjoy the grandeur of the dining room at the Casino where you can dine under the chandeliers.
Il Capitello is a cosy Italian restaurant with wide range of pizzas, pastas and an extensive ice cream menu.
For an aperitif you can try Bar de Saleys - a stylish bar with comfortable seating which has a cocktail menu and serves snacks. The locals favour Le Tivoli - join them for a glass of red wine on Thursday mornings.
And if you’re feeling homesick , there’s always McGuires – an Irish pub which serves Guinness and shows major sporting events. Closed Sundays and Mondays.
Beyond Salies there is an enormous variety of restaurant s, too many to list here. A couple of our favourites are:
Tea rooms - Sauveterre de Bearn
Set in an idyllic location beside the river, this open air English tea room serves sandwiches, cream teas and knickerbocker glories. Toys and games are provided for children while you relax on the sun loungers.
Belle Auberge - Castagnede - fantastic value and excellent food, 12 euro lunch menu, in a beautiful setting