Arreau, a jewel of the Pyrenees on the edge of Spain

Arreau
Arreau, a jewel of th ...

At the crossroads of the Aure and Louron valleys , the village of Arreau is nestled harmoniously in a mountain setting between the Col d'Aspin and the Col de Peyresourde. Shaped at all times by the water that springs from the peaks and rushes down the valleys, Arreau was naturally established around the rivers and enjoyed great prosperity. The countless historical treasures that can be discovered today by exploring the picturesque alleys of the town, crossed by numerous bridges and footbridges, bear witness to this. During a walk, let's discover together this village of character classified as a Country of Art and History and a Grand Site of Occitanie with the whole valley! A visit at our own pace, which offers a real step back in time.


Arreau, a jewel of the Pyrenees on the edge of Spain
Arreau, a jewel of the Pyrenees on the edge of Spain

Arreau, the story of an extraordinary destiny

At 700 meters above sea level, Arreau is a charming mountain town very lively all year round, which enjoys an exceptional location, nestled in the hollow of the reliefs at the junction of the Neste d'Aure and Neste du Louron rivers. Historic economic crossroads between the four valleys of Neste, Aure, Barousse and Magnoac, Arreau today inherits an incredible architectural richness that has survived the centuries.


Arreau, a jewel of the Pyrenees on the edge of Spain
The quays of Arreau on a fair day in the last century


Treat yourself to a timeless break to discover the heritage of this unique village in the Hautes-Pyrénées. From its fascinating past, we will remember certain significant periods: it was a center of drapery craftsmanship from the 16th to the 17th centuries, a regional economic capital through the fairs and markets that were held there, then in the 19th century, a thermal center for curists with the arrival of the railway in 1897.


Arreau, an exceptional and preserved heritage to discover

To explore this village watched over by the high peaks of the Pyrenees, take a walk, cross the bridges, take the time to observe the details, to contemplate the panoramic views of the mountain and the river. Arreau and its wonders are revealed to you.


Arreau, a jewel of the Pyrenees on the edge of Spain
Arreau, a jewel of the Pyrenees on the edge of Spain


Here, we like to stroll through the medieval streets and admire the pretty houses with slate roofs. The historic heart is full of buildings with remarkable architecture, protected since 1995 by an architectural and landscape heritage protection zone (ZPPAUP). In the main street, in the Saint-Exupère, Coutellerie, Calvaire, Garian and Bon Rencontre districts, many historic residences date from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. One of the oldest is none other than La Maison des Lys, a magnificent Gothic half-timbered house from the end of the 16th century, with two corbelled floors. The Foche House (now the Pic-Molié House), the Feraud House, the Laguens House, the Ducuing-Forgue House as well as the Artigue, Cazala, Latou and Mouré houses enchant visitors with the cachet of their facade!


Arreau, a jewel of the Pyrenees on the edge of Spain
The Maison des Lys, listed as a Historic Monument


Arreau is also home to a religious heritage that does not leave anyone indifferent: the Saint-Michel de Garian chapel (12th century), the Notre-Dame-du-Bon-Rencontre chapel (pilgrims' chapel) or the Notre-Dame parish church with a splendid representation of the Virgin holding on her knees the body of the dead Christ (commonly called a Pieta ), dating from the 16th century.


Arreau, a jewel of the Pyrenees on the edge of Spain
Arreau, a jewel of the Pyrenees on the edge of Spain
Arreau, a jewel of the Pyrenees on the edge of Spain
Arreau, a jewel of the Pyrenees on the edge of Spain


This tour of the village would not be complete without a stop on the banks of the Neste du Louron which once housed flour, saw, tan and fulling mills. These picturesque banks are a pretext for beautiful walks, conducive to the discovery of other historical curiosities: the castle of Nestes (where the Tourist Office Pyrenees 2 valleys of Arreau and the museum of Cagots are located), the castle of Ségure with an imposing square tower from the 16th century, or the spectacular half-timbered hall-town hall where the weekly market of local producers is held on Thursday morning. Moreover, if there is a culinary specialty to savor in Arreau, it is the famous Pyrenees spit cake, a mountain delicacy in the shape of a cone and with peaks!


Read our article on the spit cake to (fr) learn more about this specialty of the Pyrenees.


Arreau, a real gem surrounded by nature

In addition to its architectural riches, Arreau offers many outdoor sports activities, especially white water, as well as splendid natural sites in the surroundings with kilometers of hiking: Payolle lake, Aspin pass, Néouvielle lakes... At the foot of the Pic du Midi de Bigorre and the Neouvielle Massif, Arreau makes an excellent base for visitors wishing to explore the region.


Read our article report on the Lac de Payolle, a haven of greenery and tranquility.


Article and photos prepared by Lesley Williamson for the Guide Toulouse Pyrénées


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