Archive for July 8th, 2019

July 8, 2019

The Château of Maÿtie ,aka Andurain !

So I bring you back to the deep south of my belle France. Always fascinating the rounds by car into off the beaten paths territory, and we love it.  On many occasions we passed by towns unknownly and find gems never before seen or even heard of. As said , we have so much treasure here and it shows by the number of visitors. Doing my road warrior trips in the south we came upon this town and castle and kept it interesting for a future return.

I have mentioned briefly but need to have a post on its own, well deserve me think. Therefore, here is my take on the Château de Maÿtie or aka (also known as) Andurain (the family owners). And of course this is in Mauléon-Licharre!!! 

Mauleon Licharre

Mauléon-Licharre is located in the heart of the historical province of Soule, at the foot of the Pyrenees. Mauléon, an old feudal town, is built on the right bank of the Saison river or gave of Mauléon, at the foot of a hill where the ruins of the castle rise. In 1261, Prince Edward I of England made a demonstration of force on the site, which prompted the Viscounts of Soule to submit. He then decided, in order to establish his power, the fortification of certain cities, in Soule, Villeneuve-lès-Tardets (now Tardets-Sorholus) and Mauléon which became a Bastide.

Mauléon was chief town of district in the department of Basse-Pyrenees (became Pyrénées-Atlantiques in 1969) in 1793 then chief town of district and canton in 1801. In 1841, Mauléon absorbs Licharre and becomes Mauléon-Licharre.   Mauléon-Licharre was chief town of district and sub-prefecture until 1926. Currently Mauléon-Licharre, is chief town of canton in the district of Oloron-Sainte-Marie.

The  Château of Maÿtie aka Andurain was built at the end of the 16C. The castle was built by Arnaud de Maÿtie, named bishop of Oloron by king Henry IV in 1598 with the mission to restore the Catholic worship in a diocese with Protestant majority. In 1661, the revolt of priest Matalas led to the destruction of one of the four towers of the castle, which was never rebuilt. The castle, never sold, is kept in the same family since its construction. The Château de Maÿtie is owned by the Andurain family of Azémar de Fabrègues.

The Renaissance Andurain castle dates back to the 16C mullioned and pediment windows, a rare frame inside, in triple hull of overturned nave, original furniture, armchairs, chests of drawers, carved fireplaces, 17C tables and pedestal tables 18C, and a library that will allow you to see books of the 16-17C. The family of Maytie who built it, giving three bishops to the Church, participated in the restoration of religious peace in the diocese.

The castle has a rectangular shape, flanked at each corner by a square tower. The architecture is of Renaissance style, with a facade particularly remarkable for its elegance , mullioned and pediment windows, broken arches lightening the lines, masks, wrought balcony. This facade forms the counterpoint to the imposing three-story roof of chestnut shingles. Only three towers survive from the original four towers, the fourth having been burned and then shot down during the revolt of the priest Matalas in 1661.

The interior is distinguished by a straight flight staircase with an elegant armature, serving all floors. The large living room on the ground floor and the bishop’s room on the first floor have carved Baroque fireplaces, inset a medallion with the arms of the bishop and a portrait of Arnaud de Maÿtie.

It is open to the public from July 1st to September 15 every year. Every day at 11h, 15h, 16h15 ,and 18h30, except Thursdays and Sunday mornings. From September 15 to October 15 on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 16h.  Still in private hands, contact the castle directly for a visit at Tel +33 (0) 5 59 28 04 18 or email: . Location is at  1, rue du Jeu-de-Paume , 64130 Mauléon-Licharre.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

City of mauleon LIcharre on heritage

Tourist office dept 64 Pyrénées Atlantiques on the Castle of Andurain

Hope you enjoy this off the beaten path tour of my deep France, the real local sublime gorgeous and gastronomic delights! This is the town of Mauléon-Licharre in the old Soule of my old belle France.

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

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July 8, 2019

The Château de Moncade!

And I am coming back at your with another castle. Well we have a huge inventory of wonderful monuments to see here , of all sorts . However, to me leave me in a castle and I will be just fine thank you. Oh and any castle no matter the state of it today.

This is the case of the Moncade Castle in Orthez. Mostly in ruins with a tower save by the city but a wonderful site to see in your tours of the old Béarn now in dept 64 Pyrénéens Atlantique. We passed by and saw the tower so a must to come in and visit! Let me share it with you today.

First a bit on the town of Orthez so we can map ourselves ok.

Orthez is a town located in the Pyrénées-Atlantique department 64 in the region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine. Halfway between Pau and Bayonne, the town is close to the Landes department. By road: the A64 passes south of the city exit n ° 8, rest area Magret, and the departmental D947, D933, and the D817(beltway to that goes into Pau)  pass in the town. By train: Orthez station is located on the Toulouse – Bayonne line and on the TGV line  Tarbes – Paris-Montparnasse.

The oldest remains of the city of Orthez date back to the 11C. Count Gaston VII Moncade had the idea in the 1250s, to build a new castle where he established his main residence. It was at the same time that he had the wooden palisade defending the Old Town replaced by a real rampart, and that was built the Pont-Vieux,(old bridge)  a real fortified gate over the river. From the 13C  to the 15C, Orthez was the residence of the viscounts of Béarn. Gaston Fébus declared the independence of Béarn in 1347.  Although in 1460 this residence was transferred to Pau, more central, Orthez remains throughout the old regime (monarchy)  the largest and most dynamic city of Béarn. In 1566, Jeanne d’Albret transferred there the Protestant Academy of Béarn transformed into a university in 1583 by Henri IV.

From 1940 to 1942, the dividing line that divided the department of Basses-Pyrenees into two parts integrated the city into an area occupied by the Nazi army, because of its position as road and rail. 5 crossing checkpoints were established, but many illegal refugee crossings and trafficking occurred and continued until the end of the war. Orthez was associated in 1973 with the former town of Sainte-Suzanne to form Orthez-Sainte-Suzanne, then this new town took the name of Orthez by itself.

The Château de Moncade and its keep-tower was built around 1250 by Gaston VII Moncade at a strategic place that was obviously fortified since ancient times. Gaston Fébus completes the fortifications and gives it its final form. It is then the seat of a sumptuous court. The tower is saved from total destruction around 1840 by decision of the town because it simply serves as a quarry for the construction of houses around. Nowadays, it is visited in summer and offers a panoramic view of the rooftops of Orthez and the surrounding countryside, against a backdrop of the Pyrenees in clear weather.


This is a bit outside Orthez but right from the town is easy on the road D933 . When we were there , a medieval horse knights competition was going on very nice indeed. We love it.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

City of Orthez on the Castle

Tourist office of the heart of the Bearn on the castle in English

Tourist office of dept 64 Pyrenées Atlantique on Heritage of Orthez

There you go another dandy old nice property to visit while in the area, worth the detour I say. Enjoy the Chateau de Moncade at Orthez!

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

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