Friday, March 22, 2013

More Bearn Villages

After lunch at the gite on Thursday, our first stop was the small village of Bellocq, an old bastide town which has the ruins of a medieval chateau.  Also in Bellocq is the Cave de Bellocq, the wine cooperative of the Bearn AOC.  As small and obscure as Irouleguy is, Bearn is even more obscure, with few producers besides the cooperative, although the Bearn AOC can apparently also be used by Madiran and Jurancon producers.  We tasted a few Bearn reds and roses at the Cave de Bellocq, and also some sweet white Jurancons made by their affiliated cooperative in the Jurancon region, and picked up several bottles of each color.

After leaving Bellocq we drove to Orthez, one of the larger towns in the Bearn area, where we stopped for an hour or so to stroll around the town.  There are numerous well-preserved old buildings in the medieval part of Orthez, and the 13th century Chateau Moncade, whose towering Donjon looks over the town, is very impressive.

On our way back to Saint Jean Pied de Port at the end of the day we drove the back roads through a lot of villages, including the larger town of Mauleon-Licharre, which has an ancient chateau fort high above the town. The chateau is closed in the off season, and in any event was in the process of being restored, but we managed to get some good photos from the grounds, and also some photos of the town below.


  1. Hi Bob, you are exploring an area I'm not familiar wih but would love to see. Sorry I'll miss you in the Loire Valley this time. I leave for Paris and then the U.S. on April 1.