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Tournay - a bastide town near the mountains

Tournay is a lovely, historic bastide town which is found close to the Basque coast and the Spanish border. The town's history, heritage and situation make it a delightful base for exploring more of this fabulous area, and the accessibility of many attractions and activities add to its appeal.

Tuesday is market day

Bastide towns were built in the Middle Ages to repopulate areas of France's south-west that had been devastated by wars, and were designed to withstand further attacks. They follow a grid pattern, centring around an arcaded square which was the hub of town life and today, as ever, is the place to find the stalls and all the excitement and colour of market days. Tournay's market day is Tuesday, and although it may be harder to find a parking spot on these days, it is worth walking a little further than usual as the event is always entertaining and a great place to find local produce in this predominantly agricultural area.

Plenty of amenities on offer and heritage to discover

You don't have to rely on the market for your shopping in Tournay, though, as there are plenty of more modern shops to browse on normal shopping days. Tournay has restaurants and bars as well, and even a leisure complex open throughout the summer. The town's heritage includes a Benedictine abbey, a splendid church and several old, original buildings. Also worth visiting is the botanical Arboretum.

Visit the pilgrim town of Lourdes

You have many possibilities when it comes to getting out and about in this fantastic area of France. From the delightful little market towns and villages all around through to the magnificent monuments such as abbeys, chateaux and cathedrals, there are plenty of places to see. Take time to visit Lourdes, the pilgrim town of miracles, which, although it has its tacky side today, is still an experience not to be missed. Further places to add to any itinerary might include the surf town of Biarritz, which retains some of its Belle Epoque splendour, the observatory on the Pic du Midi and the town of Tarbes, with its proud military history and stud farm of beautiful horses.

Enjoy a plethora of outdoor activities

There are many outdoor activities to enjoy in the region too, with all the ski and mountain sports resorts of the Pyrénées to hand, plus rivers for fishing, beautiful trails for horse-riding and walking, and even golf courses accessible.

How to get there

The nearest airport is Pau, which is served by Flybe, Air France and CityJet, though you could also fly into the airports of Lourdes, Biarritz or Toulouse. You could take the ferry to Bilbao too and enjoy the crossing, though it does mean a bit of a drive after disembarking. TGV trains will get you to Tarbes, from where you can take a local train to Tournay. If driving, the town is found on the D20, close to the A64 motorway.

Property prices and availability in and around Tournay

The area around Tournay is a great hunting ground for country properties, and prices are quite reasonable if not the cheapest in the country. Prices of property on the market at the time of writing (January 2012) range from 161,000 Euros for a large house to renovate, to 425,500 Euros for a fabulous property with a hectare of land and views of the mountains.

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WHERE IS Tournay?

Tournay is situated in the south-west of France. It lies in the north of the Hautes-Pyrénées department.

Tournay Property Map


Midi-Pyrénées Guide

Midi-Pyrénées Property Map


Hautes-Pyrénées Guide

  Hautes-Pyrénées Map

Population: 1,265

Access: By air: Fly to Pau. By boat: Travel by ferry from the UK to Bilbao. By rail: The TGV runs to nearby Tarbes. Tournay has an SNCF railway station linking to Tarbes. By road: The town lies on the D20, just off the A64 motorway.

Economy: Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy.

Interesting fact: Tournay can trace its ancestry back to pre-historic times.


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