La Ville d’Arreau in the Pyrenees

Southwest France

The Neste River, Arreau – © Atout France/Catherine Bibollet

We’ve discovered a ‘new-old’ place of charm, tucked far away in the Pyrenees of southwest France.  Arreau is but one of several small villages in the valley-swept landscape, where the Neste and Louron Rivers converge.

Fewer than 1,000 people live in the village that developed around the Romanesque Saint-Exupère sanctuary.  Early on, between the 13th and 15th centuries, Arreau simply was strategically located at the outlet of two valleys, where craftsmen and merchants presented four major markets each year in addition to the regular weekly markets that attracted residents of many neighboring villages.

Since the 1800’s, the Tour de France has highlighted the area’s dramatic topography between the Col d’Aspin and Col de Peyresourde and has contributed to significant tourism growth.

Arreau - Neste River

Tranquil riverside village

Wind your way down stone-walled lanes into the village, and you discover delightful venue with river waters rushing past shops and homes.  It’s a lovely place from which to explore the gorgeous countryside and even, perhaps, slip over into Spain or Andorra.


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