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Mauléon-Licharre - a Basque market town

Lying in the glorious surroundings of the French Basque Country, in the Pyrénéan Mountains of south-west France, Mauléon-Licharre is a delightful destination, full of character and charm. The town is actually a twin town, with the original town of Mauléon occupying one bank of the River Saison, and Licharre the other. Shoe-making has always been the main industry in Mauléon-Licharre, and the most famous product is the espadrille sandal, essential summer footwear for generations of women.

Traditional atmosphere but lively

Mauléon-Licharre is a lively little place, with all the traditional atmosphere of a typical rural market town. There are plenty of shops, supermarkets and general services, but the best shopping experience is undoubtedly that afforded by the colourful street market which is held every Tuesday and which is a wonderful source of local goodies. Don't forget to pick up some espadrille sandals while you are in town, as Mauléon-Licharre is the original home of these!

Enjoy Mauléon-Licharre's fêtes

Mauléon-Licharre offers plenty of opportunities for relaxation and leisure activities, with a number of bars, cafés and restaurants, a great outdoor swimming pool for cooling off on those hot summer days and lots of sports to try. The Basque culture is strong in this part of France, and Mauléon-Licharre holds various fêtes which celebrate this.

Sights and monuments to visit

Mauléon-Licharre has a mediaeval castle, now in ruins but still worth a look, a Basque style three-pronged church with towers, and a fascinating chateau, Château d'Andurain. The last is really interesting, as it boasts a once traditional but now rarely found roof of tiles made from chestnut wood. This material was chosen as it is resistant to woodworm, and the good condition of the tiles shows that the theory works!

Out and about

The great thing about having Mauléon-Licharre as a base is the variety of possibilities open to you for getting out and about. The Pyrénées are a natural outdoor playground whatever the season and are right on the doorstep, so in winter you can take to the slopes of the local ski resorts and in summer enjoy walking, mountain biking (the area is almost always chosen as part of the Tour de France cycle race), horse-riding or climbing.

Explore the beaches and resorts of the Atlantic coast

Meanwhile just a short drive can get you to the fabulous surfing beaches and lively social scene of Biarritz and the other southern French Atlantic resorts. Popping across the border into Spain is also simplicity itself, and the border town of Irun is perfect for a day's shopping trip, Spanish style! Places near Mauléon-Licharre to visit include Oloron-Sainte-Marie, a pretty town with lots to enjoy, berets to buy and chocolate to taste! Pau is the main city of the area, and offers good shopping as well as an interesting culture.

How to get there

Fly to Pau or Biarritz direct from the UK. Pau is served by Ryanair, while Biarritz is served by easyJet and Ryanair. Oloron-Sainte-Marie has a railway station, so if you prefer to take the train this is a possibility although you will need a hire car to travel the last 40 kilometres to Mauléon-Licharre. If you fancy arriving by water you can enjoy the long ferry crossing that takes you to Santander or Bilbao. The nearest auto route to the town is the A64, with the D11, D918 and D24 being some of the roads that approach Mauléon-Licharre.

Property prices and availability in and around Mauléon-Licharre

Prices in the coastal towns of the west of the department are pretty high, but they do drop as you move east or inland to towns such as Mauléon-Licharre. There are some lovely character properties to be found around the town and in the countryside nearby, typically Basque in style and offering possibilities for running tourism related businesses such as gites, B&Bs, walking holidays and more.

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Mauléon-Licharre AT A GLANCE

WHERE IS Mauléon-Licharre?

Mauléon-Licharre is located in the south-west of France, in the centre of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department.

Mauléon-Licharre Property Map


Aquitaine Guide

Aquitaine Property Map


Pyrénées-Atlantiques Guide

  Pyrénées-Atlantiques Map

Population: 2,488

Access: By air: Fly to Biarritz or Pau direct from the UK. By rail: The nearest railway station is Oloron-Sainte-Marie. By boat: Take the ferry to Santander or Bilbao. By road: The town can be located from the D11, D24 and D918.

Economy: Mauléon-Licharre is a shoe-making town, with agriculture also important.

Interesting fact: The town is the home of the espadrille sandal.

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