A little jewel we go Oloron Sainte Marie!

We have passed by several times always on our way to Spain, and each time we say next time we will stop here, well, road warrior goes along the merry roads of France…So one time we finally stop, and actually walk around lol! This is a pleasant town and lovely chocolates. I am talking about Oloron Sainte Marie.

I have a previous post in my blog that I talked about some nice smaller towns and Oloron Sainte Marie ,here: My bit on Oloron Sainte Marie

Oloron-Sainte-Marie is in the department 64 of Pyrénées-Atlantique in the region of Nouvelle Aquitaine. It only 50 km from Spain by the N134 that have taken zillion times at the confluence of the Aspe and Ossau that in turn creates the Oloron river, it is a the confluence of three valleys ,the Ossau , Barétous, and Soule.

Other than the N134 road that connects with Pau, there is train service TER Nouvelle Aquitaine in the line Pau-Canfranc. The name comes from   the Oloron as the Lluro that in local lingo means town and ur water so the city of water ; the Sainte Marie was first mentioned in the 11C.

A bit of history I like

It is a Roman creation from the 1C on the road to the Col du Somport peak. By 1080, the Viscount Centulie V the Young had a new city built Oloron on the former Roman town .  By 1214, Gaston VI Moncade was forced to give these lands to the Bishops as he was sided with the Albigeois (Cathars) considered heretics by the Church. It follows the the town was divided in two with Oloron the Viscount town and  Sainte-Marie,the Episcopal town ,and both were rivals for about eight centuries.

The wars of Religion and the French revolution stop twice the growth of the town, and only the rivalties between the two ends in 1858 by the Second Empire of Napoléon III . There was a town called Sainte-Marie-Legugnon that existed between 1841 and 1858 when it was annexed to Oloron !Sainte Marie. Today it is mix into the city .

he city is on the Art and History towns of France , and the local language Béarnais is spoken as well. Some of the things to see here are

The tour de Gréde from the Middle Ages, the former City/town hall and prison, the ramparts, the Castle of Legugnon from the 16C, the buildings of the rue Pomone dating from the 17C, the parc Pomme, the Cathedral of Sainte Marie, the Holy Cross Church,   Notre Dame Church, from the 10C; St Pierre Church from the 19C, the old monastery of Sainte Marie from the 17C.

The city is on the way or via Tolosane  (Toulosain) one of the four French ways to reach Santiago de Compostela , and the legend of the Grail as the story goes the bishop of Oloron died at Jaca (Spain) in the 6C; thereafter the Béarnais and Aragonese argued over who has the remains. To settle the matter they are told to confess from the peak of Somport the final destination of the remains of the Bishop in   blind donkey over the mountain. The donkey brings the Grail on its back to Oloron Sainte Marie, dispute over.

We walk the nice Jardin Public or public garden, very nice and quaint with very nice mansions all around it. Our souvenir photo

Oloron Sainte Marie

The district of Sainte Croix you can have a nice walk along the Promenade Bellevue on the ramparts with nice views over the Cathedral, the Valley of Aspe and the mountains. The Sainte Croix or Holy Cross Church is a roman style with a arabesque dome; You can walk nearby to see wonderful old mansions at no 52 rue Dalmais you see the Heritage House or maison de patrimoine in a 17C house in two levels, next to it is the Tour de la Gréde.

The district Notre Dame is wonderful around the Place de la Résistance with nice mansions of the 18C   and a old wonderful market at Place Clemenceau each Friday morning. Of course, the Notre Dame Church in a roman Byzantine style from the 19C ,and the parc Pomme on 3 hectares with a nice walk in centenary trees.

Oloron Sainte Marie

The district of Sainte Marie, the old town of Illuro the foundation of the city. The wonderful Cathedral of Saint Mary or Cathédrale Sainte Marie from the 12C A wonder for your eyes and part of the way of Santiago Unesco world heritage site.

Oloron Sainte Marie

And especially do not miss going to the chocolate factory and boutique of Lindt ;the official webpage here: https://www.lindt.fr/lunivers-lindt/

However in Oloron, they make them for France,and it is a factory outlet and museum just lovely. A must when passing by here!!! More info. https://www.lesmagasinsdusine.com/france/lindt-oloron-sainte-marie


Some webpages to help you plan  your trip here are

The  city page of Oloron Sainte Marie on tourism City Oloron Sainte Marie tourism

Tourist office of Oloron   Sainte Marie: http://www.tourisme-oloron.com/

Tourist office of Pyrénées Atlantique 64 http://www.bearn-basquecountry.com/bearn-pyrenees/territories/

Its a pleasant town and great base for the mountains of the Pyrénées on the French or Spanish side. Its a natural for us to stop by here for many years since 1990.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers!!!

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