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Salies-de-Bearn travel guide

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Visit Salies-de-Bearn (Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France)

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Salies-de-Bearn is a picturesque town about 50 kilometres north-west of Pau in south-west France. The town has the river Saleys running through it, which for much of its journey through the town is in a man-made channel that can be crossed by two bridges in Salies-de-Bearn, on the pont d’Andioque and the pont de la Lune.

The town originally developed around the local salt industry. Legend has it that this was discovered when an injured boar fell into a swamp and was discovered later covered in salt and perfectly preserved. The salt is used in the preparation of the famous Bayonne hams.

Explore Salies-de-Béarn

France This Way comment: the town is full of little lanes and is lovely for ambling through and relaxing and both of the bridges in Salies-de-Bearn offer wonderful views of the town with its whitewashed buildings, painted shutters and wooden balconies.

The town has two distinct regions: the historic centre and riverside views to the south of the river, and the thermal baths and park to the north of the river.

old houses along river in Salies-de-Bearn

The Place du Bayaa is the heart of the old town, and where you will find the tourist office for Salies-de-Béarn. They can provide a guide to the town and others in the region, one of the most informative we have been given on our extensive travels around France, so be sure we visit.

Across the square from the tourist office you can see a salt-water ‘fountain of the sanglier’ in the shape of a boar’s head to commemorate the history of the town (see below). Below the square there is a large vault area called the Crypt which was built to control and protect the source of the salt water. If you would like to see the crypt you can ask for information at the tourist office. 

If you walk along the Rue de la Fontaine Salée you can see a charming relief that tells the story of the visit of Jeanne d'Albret to the town in 1568. Pause to look at the picture, it includes a remarkable amount of detail and is very impressive.

There is also a castle, the Chateau Saint-Pé, now a house in private ownership, to the east of the Place du Bayàa and behind the Town Hall in Salies-de-Bearn whch was built in the 16th century and used to hold the court of justice for witches!

There are several attractive houses from the 16th and 17th centuries in this part of the town, and one is now a museum that celebrates the traditions of the town and the importance of salt here.

Many of the most beautiful houses are along the edges of the river, some supported on pillars and several half-timbered properties from the medieval period. Note that during the summer there is very little water in the river when it becomes little more than a stream (with a central part blocked to create a large pond area).

With the discovery of the thermal springs and water at a constant 50°, the baths were developed and brought wealth to the town and well-being to its visitors. The salt waters at Salies-de-Béarn are particularly beneficial for gynaecological, rheumatic and paediatric ailments. The waters are ten times more salty than those in the sea.

The other side of the river, to the north-west of the historic centre, you can see the area around the thermal baths centre. The main building for the thermal baths was built in the 1880s and is made from brick and white stone in a moorish style. In front of the baths there is a large public garden with a traditional music kiosk.

On the north side of the gardens you can see the Hotel du Parc, a luxury hotel built for wealthy visitors to the thermal baths in the 19th century. The hotel has an Italian style lounge and has been the backdrop of various films, and part of the hotel building is now a casino: you can enter the building t take a look at the imposing entrance hall.

There are plenty of bars and restaurants here if you decide to make Salies-de-Bearn a base for visiting the surrounding area.

thermal baths in Salies-de-Béarn

Attractions nearby

Other places you will want to explore close to Salies-de-Béarn include the pretty riverside area in the town of Sauveterre-de-Bearn as well as Orthez if you like pretty old bridges...

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

See also: 

Photos of Salies-de-Bearn

Click any picture to start the gallery

  • church
  • hotel-du-parc
  • quiet-street
  • river-frontage (1)
  • river-frontage (2)
  • river-frontage (3)
  • river-frontage (4)
  • statue-sanglier
  • thermal-baths
  • town-centre-2
  • town-centre
  • wall-plaque

Map of Salies-de-Bearn and places nearby

Visit near Salies-de-Bearn with France This Way reviews

Sauveterre-de-Bearn

Sauveterre-de-Bearn

The view from the terrace in front of the church in Sauveterre-de-Béarn is one of our favourites in the Basque Pyrenees region

Sauveterre-de-Bearn guide
Orthez

Orthez

The 13th century stone bridge across the river is the highlight of your visit to Orthez

Orthez guide
Navarrenx

Navarrenx

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

Navarrenx guide
La Bastide-Clairence

La Bastide-Clairence

Labastide-Clairence is another of the most picturesque villages in the Basque region

La Bastide-Clairence guide
Dax

Dax

Established as a spa since Roman times, Dax is a pleasant if quiet town to visit

Dax guide
Oloron-Sainte-Marie

Oloron-Sainte-Marie

There are several sights of interest in Oloron-Saint-Marie including a picturesque section of river

Oloron-Sainte-Marie guide

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

Address: Salies-de-Béarn, Pau, Aquitaine, 64270, France || GPS coordinates: latitude 43.471, longitude -0.925

Plan your visit to Salies-de-Bearn, Pyrenees-Atlantiques

Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby

Market days in Salies-de-Bearn, France

Regular market(s) are held in Salies-de-Bearn each Thursday. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)

The French version of this page is at Salies-de-Bearn (Francais)

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