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Auf der strecke

Pyrenées-Atlantiques department

Nouveau logo du Conseil Général des Pyrénées-Atlantiques Crédit : Conseil Général des Pyrénées-Atlantiques - CG64

Prefecture : Pau.
: Bayonne, Oloron-Sainte-Marie
: 643 000 habitants
: www.cg64.fr

Between the Gascony Gulf and the Pyrenees, Pyrenees Atlantiques is the 10th biggest department in France. In the south, the Pyrenees stand as high as the eye can see while the North is covered in valleys. Pyrenean rivers – the “gaves” – shape narrow valleys through the mountains which widen into large plains. The Bearn province was extremely wealthy up to the Revolution and declined in the 19th century.  The discovery of natural gas in Lacq created a new petrochemical industry while thermal waters and good wines have been known for a very long time.

Km 0 : Lombez

Sainte Marie cathedral in Lombez - Credit : Elisabeth Bouynot

Sainte-Marie cathedral

Inspired from the Jacobins church in Toulouse, the Lombez cathedral dates from the 14th century. The five-floor octagonal bell tower was built in the two following centuries. The cathedral was originally a Romanesque Benedictine abbatial church from the 12th and 13th centuries. When pope John XXII decided to name a bishop in Lombez in 1317, the church was judged too small and enlarged. The first bishop, Arnaud Roger of Comminges built the first bell tower, standing at 41 metres. At the time, the canons of Lombez came from Toulouse St Etienne church, hence the similarity between the two bell towers.

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