Bearn boasts both the Montaner and Morlanne chateaux, both examples of the fine French Renaissance architecture.
The Chateau of Morlanne
Constructed in 1373 for the half brother of Gaston Febus, Arnaud Guilhem of Bearn, this castle strikes the eye. Over 6 centuries old, this brick fortress has been completely restored to its original glory by Raymond Ritter and his wife Helene. Today, the chateau contains a rich collection of furniture, art and famed paintings. The town itself is elegant and charming, with streets lined with 17th and 18th century residences and a beautiful fortified church dating from the 14th century.
The Chateau of Montaner
A large red brick fortress displaying proudly its donjon of 40m, from which the famous Bearnais prince, Gaston Febus defended his sovereign state against Gascony. In 1370, Montaner would become known as a significant strategic site. The castles height allows the city of Montaner to keep a watchful eye on the nearby border of Bearn. The entrance is decorated with the emblem of Foix-Bearn, attesting to the importance of this epoch. Below stands the Saint Michel church, renowned for its magnificent frescos. The town organises a yearly ‘middle ages' celebration which is an event not to be missed.
Not a hop away rests one of the finest delights and treasures of Bearn....the Madiran vineyards!
The Madiran vines have been producing the dark ruby coloured grapes since the first century, long before our epoch. In the 11th century, the Benedictins founded the abbey of Madiran and improved the quality of the vines. The pilgrims of St Jacques de Compostelle, who crossed the region, spread word of the Madiran vineyards and the legend was born. Today the Bearn wines are highly sought after for their original taste, high quality and South-western touch.
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