Whilst house sitting we made short trips to two nearby towns, Salies de Bearn and Navarreux
The small town of Salies owes its fame to the discovery of salt. A wild boar was found next to a spring with its bristles covered by salt. The boar was injured and had sought out the salt spring. The discovery of the boar led to the discovery of the salt spring and then the establishment of the town. It has an inexhaustible spring of salt water.
One of the most famous views in Salies is the one from Pont de la Lune showing the bell tower in the background, and the steeple of St Vincent’s Church along with houses on pillars and the river bed. Salies has experienced severe flooding at times. The last very bad floods were in 2018. Nearly 65% of the municipality was flooded with up to 1.6m of water in the streets.
Navarreux is a very interesting fortified town. In the 16th century Henri, grandfather of the future King Henri IV decided to fortify the town to protect Bearn from the greedy clutches of Spain and France. Siciliano, an Italian architect built the first fortified town in France, based on an Italian model. The ramparts proved themselves in 1569 during an attempt to annex Bearn by the French troops of the Charles IX. We found it very interesting to wander around this old town. It had a very nice information pamphlet and route to follow.