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Oloron-Sainte-Marie travel guide

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Visit Oloron-Sainte-Marie (Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France)

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Oloron-Sainte-Marie is a town to the south-west of Pau, in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of south-west France.

You are likely to visit the town when you come to the Béarn province to explore the Valley of the Aspe and the Valley of the Ossau, the two rivers that come from the Pyrenees and converge in the town.

Explore Oloron-Sainte-Marie

France This Way comment: unlike most towns, although Oloron-Sainte-Marie has several points of interest these are rather far from each other, so a visit involves a day driving around the various areas or quite a lot of walking...we would suggest you visit the town when you are nearby but would not stay here as a base for exploring the region

Start your visit at the tourist office for Oloron-Sainte-Marie, indispensable if you are to discover all the monuments and sites of interest. This is on the west side of the rivers, near the public garden.

Footbridge across the river in Oloron-Sainte-Marie

If you follow the path along the Aspe from here you reach a footbridge across the river. This has pretty views along the river in both directions. The houses along the river front are very picturesque, with their balconies overhanging the river itself.

Follow Rue Louis Barthou to reach the main bridge across the Aspe, which is the main viewpont and the place where all the photos of the town are taken! Close to here you can also see the confluence of the two rivers, and a second bridge across the Ossau.

From here, Oloron-Saint-Marie has three distinct areas, each based around one of the three main churches in the town.

Region 1: The roman-gothic Sainte-Marie Cathedral is an attractive, small cathedral to the south-west of the town centre next to the Place de la Cathédrale. The cathedral has a beautiful ornate entrance dating from the 12th century. You can visit the cathedral treasury which contains some lovely items of jewellery and other decorative objects.

The houses around the Place de la Cathédrale are probably the most attractive in the town, and there are several cafes here. See Sainte-Marie cathedral for details.

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Region 2: To the south of the bridge over the river you can explore the medieval town around Sainte-Croix church, the second important religious monument in Oloron. This church was built in the 11th century and has several interesting characteristcs including the beautiful painting of the inside of the dome above the altar.

If you are walking to the Church Sainte-Croix you will quickly realise it is up a steep hill! If you follow the Escaliers de Bellevue up the hill from Rue Luois Barthou (next to the Caisse d'Epargne building) the stairs lead you to the start of the Promenade de Bellevue, an attractive walk around the side of the hill that leads to the church, with views across the valley of the Aspe river.

Near the church you can see the Tour de Grede, a sturdy square tower dating from medieval times. You can climb the stairs in the tower for more lovely views. There is also an attractive colombage house near the tower. See church Sainte-Croix for details.

Note: both of these older churches where paid for with proceeds from the crusades in the 11th century.

Region 3: The third region of Oloron-Saint-Marie is around the Church of Notre-Dame, built in the 19th century, near the town hall and the gave d'Ossau. Although the church is unremarkable it is quite imposing, and you can see the grand houses around the Place de la Resistance from the towns period of prosperity in the 17th century.

One of the best views of this part of the town is from the top of the Rue des Chevaux, on the other side of the Gave d'Ossau and halfway between the Church of Notre-Dame and the Church of Saint-Croix.

Market day is Friday in Oloron, and is perhaps the best day to visit the town.

View of houses and Church of Notre-Dame in Oloron-Sainte-Marie

Attractions nearby

The Pyrenees are to the south, and this part of the Béarn province is best explored along the valley of the Aspe, that leads passed Sarrance to reach Lescun, and the valley of the Ossau that passes Laruns and Eaux-Bonnes to reach the start of the famous Pyrenean mountain passes

Explore elsewhere in the Béarn. You can find more travel ideas in the Pyrenees-Atlantiques guide and the Aquitaine guide.

See also: 

Photos of Oloron-Sainte-Marie

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Map of Oloron-Sainte-Marie and places nearby

 
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Visit near Oloron-Sainte-Marie with France This Way reviews

Church Sainte-Croix in Oloron-Sainte-Marie

Church Sainte-Croix in Oloron-Sainte-Marie

The Church Sainte-Croix is an interesting roman style church built in the 12th century

Church Sainte-Croix in Oloron-Sainte-Marie guide
Cathedral Saint-Marie in Oloron-Sainte-Marie

Cathedral Saint-Marie in Oloron-Sainte-Marie

The cathedral of Sainte-Marie is best known for its remarkable 12th century entrance

Cathedral Saint-Marie in Oloron-Sainte-Marie guide
Sarrance

Sarrance

The small village of Sarrance is in the valley of the Gave d'Aspe and has an interesting church to visit

Sarrance guide
Navarrenx

Navarrenx

Navarrenx is a traditional fortified French bastide town in the western pyrenees

Navarrenx guide
Chateau de Pau

Chateau de Pau

The Chateau de Pau is an impressive combination of the renaissance and 19th century architectural styles

Chateau de Pau guide
Pau

Pau

The large town of Pau is well known for the views from the belvedere that cover a large section of Pyrenees mountains

Pau guide

... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Pyrenees-Atlantiques

Tourist classifications for Oloron-Sainte-Marie

Oloron-Sainte-Marie is classified as a listed town of Art and History

Address: Oloron-Sainte-Marie, Aquitaine, 64400, France || GPS coordinates: latitude 43.1947, longitude -0.605556

Plan your visit to Oloron-Sainte-Marie, Pyrenees-Atlantiques

Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby

  • Eglise, Oloron-Sainte-Marie (monuments on French pilgrim routes): heritage site
  • Eglise St Blaise (monuments on French pilgrim routes): heritage site (15 km)
  • Pau: ville fleurie 4* (22 km)
  • Vallée d'Aspe: site of natural beauty (27 km)
  • Vallée d'Ossau: site of natural beauty (28 km)
  • Zoo d'Asson: zoo or wildlife park (28 km)
  • Cirque de Saint-Engrace: site of natural beauty (28 km)
  • Cirque de Sainte-Engrâce: site of natural beauty (28 km)
  • Gorges d'Ehujarre: site of natural beauty (30 km)
  • Gorges de Kakouetta: site of natural beauty (31 km)
  • Gorges de Kakoetta: site of natural beauty (31 km)
  • Jardin du château de Momas: remarkable garden (32 km)

Market days in Oloron-Sainte-Marie, France

Regular market(s) are held in Oloron-Sainte-Marie each Friday. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)

The French version of this page is at Oloron-Sainte-Marie (Francais)

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