The Pyrenean foothills
SOUTH WEST VINEYARDS
As the name suggests, the Pyrenean foothills extend along the base of the Pyrenees mountain range. From the Atlantic shore to the very heart of the mountains, the natural environments are diverse and abound with the rich heritage testifying to centuries-old cultures and traditions. The land of Irouléguy, Saint Mont, Madiran and Pacherenc.
A former military citadel redesigned by Vauban, the historic city center is home to ancestral houses and the remains of its past as a watch post. The valleys of Cize, vineyards and mountains surround this historic landmark. The Porte Saint-Jacques, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, sees countless pilgrims pass by.
Characteristic of lower Navarre architecture, this village has a rich past: the worn cobblestones of the Roman bridge bear witness to this and also offer the best view of the Château d’Etxauz, a stronghold of the Viscounts of Baïgorry for 8 centuries. The Church of Saint-Etienne and its organ, and the hamlet of Guermiette, a veritable conservatory of rural architecture, are worth a visit, as is Saint-Laurent Chapel (1668), the washhouse (1789) and walks along the Nive River.
Saint-Mont: a historic vineyards
In the heart of the Saint-Mont appellation lies a unique and exceptional plot of vines. Over 150 years old, it withstood the phylloxera invasion that decimated French vineyards at the end of the 19th century. On its sandy soil, this plot grows about twenty different grape varieties, seven of which are unidentified. It is passionately protected by winemakers, owners for generations, who perpetuate ancestral farming methods. It is now a listed historical monument and is preserved as an extraordinary witness to the biodiversity of the Pyrenean foothills.
The city of many gardens with its Boulevard des Pyrénées promenade, like a huge balcony Pau offers a magnificent view of the Pyrenees. Pau’s castle and the Bernadotte Museum tell the great pages of history written by these two illustrious Pau natives: Henry IV and Bernadotte, companion to Napoleon I and King of Sweden.
A hugely important spiritual destination, world famous for its Sanctuary of Our Lady, it attracts 6 million visitors from all over the world each year all sharing a common search for meaning. The town is also home to an 11th century castle.
The great sites of the Pyrenees
The Cirque de Gavarnie, a natural arena with peaks of more than 300 meters, is home to the highest waterfall in Europe. Along with Monte Perdido in Spain, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Pic du Midi with its summit at 2,877 meters is accessible by cable car and has a 360-degree panorama of the Pyrenees. The astronomical observatory also has a museum.
Cauterets – Pont d’Espagne, a gateway to the Pyrenees National Park, the oldest national park in France, provides access to exceptional natural surroundings with pine forests, waterfalls, high meadows, mountain lakes and peaks.
South West Vineyards
Centre INRA - Chemin de Borde Rouge
CS 52637 - 31321 Castanet Tolosan cedex
Phone : (+33) 5 61 73 87 06
Fax : (+33) 5 61 75 64 39
Monday to Friday : 9 am - 5 pm
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