LA BASTIDE CLAIRENCE > AUX ALENTOURS > PAYS DE BIDACHE

> Château des Ducs de Gramont

Situated 15 kms (9 miles) from La Bastide Clairence, Bidache has a rich past. The most well known historical monument is the Chateau of the Dukes of Gramont, where the Dukes who controlled the region resided as early as the XIVth century.
Over the centuries, the Chateau has been quite damaged by fires and looting. The current ruins attest to the destruction wrought during the French Revolution. In 2006, the Chateau was classified a "Major Cultural Site of Aquitaine", as was the nearby Chateau of Guiche. You can visit the Chateau through guided tours, starting at the Tourist Office of Bidache. The tour lasts 1 hour.
June-September: Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 4pm
July-August: Everyday at 3pm and 4:30pm
For more information and for reservations: Office du Tourisme du Pays de Bidache
Tel: +33 5 59 56 03 49
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website: www.tourisme-pays-de-bidache.com

> Churches

Every village in the Bidache District has its own charming church. Do not hesitate to visit them.

> Forest of Mixe

Between St. Palais and Bidache, the forest of Mixe is an important regional forestry asset, managed by France's National Forestry Office. It covers 655 hectares (1,600 acres). A "discovery trail" will seduce you by its calm and fresh air. It will also provide information on the numerous tree varieties which populate the forest.

The Apatharéna trail offers a particularly easy 2 km walk. Parking and picnic areas available.

> The Abbaye of Arthous

In the Adour Valley below Hastingue, the Abbaye of Arthous was built in 1167 by the Prémonté order of monks as their base to convert the nearby Basques to Catholicism. It also was an important stop on the Compostela pilgrimage, sheltering pilgrims through the Middle Ages. It is in roman style, with beautiful original sculpted "capitals" outside, around the church's apse. The Abbaye prospered for centuries thanks to the farming of its surrounding land holdings. It created the fortified village of Hastingue in 1289. Since the XVIth century, history has not been kind to the Abbaye. It was devastated during the several wars against Spain and also during the French Revolution. In 1791, the Abbaye hosted only 3 monks, and it was sold to private interests.
Today, the Abbaye is a Regional Center for Culture and Patrimony, with ethnographic research facilities. A permanent exhibit shows some prehistoric artifacts found nearby, and the beautiful mosaic of a nearby roman villa decorates the Abbaye's center courtyard. It also shows a fascinating movie (in French) relating the region's history and man's activities since prehistoric hunting gathering times, through roman and medieval times, the dangers faced by Compostela pilgrims, and the evolution of agriculture and industry in the Adour valley and the Bidache region.

April-October: from 10:30 am to 1 pm and from 2 pm to 6:30 pm
November-March: from 2pm to 5 pm
For groups, open year round upon reservations

Centre Départemental du Patrimoine
Tel: +33 5 58 73 03 89
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website: http://www.arthous.landes.org/

> The Santiago de Compostela Pilgrimage

In the Middle Ages, the villages of Arancou and Bergouey-Viellenave welcomed pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela from Tours. Viellenave-sur-Bidouze prospered, as it offered food and shelter to the pilgrims. Imagine yourself back in the Middle Ages, a pilgrim on the long spiritual journey, crossing the Bidouze river on the old Roman bridge, with your walking stick, satchel and scallop shell, symbol of the "Camino". Stop by the St. James the Magnificent chapel before continuing your journey to Santiago de Compostela.

> The Chair Museum in Cames

The village of Cames has always been a major center to make chairs and armchairs, with numerous artisans specialized in producing and assembling the various components of chairs. Chairs from Cames have been exported as far as the USA.

The family-owned Chair Museum shows a typical workshop with more than a hundred traditional tools and it details all the techniques which artisans used to create chairs; testimony to the collective memory of a village.

Open all year round: 10-12 am and 2-6 pm. Closed Saturdays and Sundays.
Tel: +33 5 59 56 05 12
Website: www.museedelachaise.fr

> Center for artifacts from the Bourouilla cave, in Arancou

The Bourouilla cave in Arancou was discovered in 1986. It was inhabited by prehistoric men around 13,000 BC, during the Upper Magdalénien period. Various artifacts - arrowheads, axes, tools and clothing accessories - are displayed in the Center for Artifacts for the Bourilla Cave in the Arancou townhall.

>>Visits upon request, Monday-Friday
>> http://arancou-site-archeo.pagesperso-orange.fr/
>> Tél. (+33) 5 59 38 42 65

> Discovery Itinerary with MP3

Following Bidache's three main East-West streets, the discovery itinerary highlights various homes and buildings, each chosen for its specific architectural or historical importance. The stories which these buildings relate to are all anchored in the inhabitants' own family histories and memories.

Signs will explain the history and architectural characteristics of each building. You can pick up the MP3 guide for free at the Bidache Tourist Office.

>> Tél. (+33) 5 59 56 03 49

> Miremont Hill in Bardos

The old water tower has been transformed into a belvedere, with a magnificent 360º view of the Pyrénées Mountains, the Basque Country and the Landes region. You will also find a picnic area and a play area for children, open all year round. A great spot for family vacation memories.

Directions: from Bardos, take the D253 towards Guiche and Sames, and follow the sign "Miremont" on the left.

> Walking along the Bidouze river

Enjoy a leisurely walk on the banks of the Bidouze river. Along the trail, you will enjoy the panels with explanations and discovery games, and learn of the river's secrets, its ebbing and flowing with the ocean tides, the "barthes" (swamps which until the 17th century covered most of the Adour valley), the "pibales" (extremely sought after baby-eel delicacies), the storks (newly arrived in the region), the still abundant fishing, the local stone quarries and the threats from invasive species.

You can bike on the trail.
Tel: +33 5 59 56 03 49 or +33 5 59 56 28 57

> Discovery Itinerary of the Adour Valley – by car

We invite you to explore the majestic beauty and history of the Adour valley by visiting seven villages - Lahonce, Urcuit, Urt, Sames, Guiche, Bidache and Cames – and to understand how, from times immemorial, the river has shaped the region's development. At each stop, you will find a panel explaining a particular characteristic of the river and its impact on the local people's lives over the millennia. Each panel will propose little discovery walks by the river, in the villages, and in the surrounding areas.
>> Tél. (+33) 5 59 56 03 49