Situated in the Vallée d’Ossau at the foot of the Pyrenées mountains, Château de Gère offers an ideal setting for relaxing getaways, sporty activities, artistic inspiration, cultural discovery, gourmet indulgence, and more.
Walking into the château can feel like a step back in time. And for good reason. The stone staircase at the entrance is believed to date back to the original fortress, which was constructed in the 14th century.
Inside, the main living area features an old stone sink and grand fireplace that Henri IV may have used when the château served as his hunting lodge.
On the exterior you’ll find a plaque above the main entrance that reads, "Wisdom begins with the fear of Jean de Gère - 1613", for whom the village below, Monplaisir (my pleasure), is believed to be named based on monsieur le Gère's extracurricular activities.
A closer look reveals details such as gargoyles on windows and fleurs de lys above the arrowslits as well as the remnants of a stone structure on the back wall resembling a toilet that certainly raises some questions. And rumor has it that there is an undiscovered secret passage between the château and the church in the village.
Château de Gère is nestled in a small medieval village with more sheep than people and the ‘neighbors' can often be found grazing on the large field behind the pool. The small stream that runs from the mountain above through the main garden and cascades over the embankment below offers a nice alternative to a proper moat. Listening to the sound of the trickling water and sheep bells while admiring the surrounding mountains may make you feel that you’ve found a little slice of paradise.
The Vallee d’Ossau may not be as well known as other parts of France, but with so much to offer, we find it to be a hidden gem. Outdoor enthusiasts can choose from activities such as skiing, hiking, climbing, cycling, canyoning, canoing, and fishing. For the foodies, the ‘route de fromage' runs through the valley, offering many varieties of Ossau-Iraty cheese which are nicely complemented with the local wines from the Jurançon and Madiran vineyards. If you like charming villages, there are plenty to visit in and around the area. Beach goers can reach Biarritz and the Atlantic coast in under 2 hours, and for a bit of cultural diversity, Spain is just 40 minutes south.
Being in an an area that we find to be so beautiful and rich in culture has given us even more motivation to make sustainable choices that are good for our health, the environment, and our community.
There is still a lot more we can do when it comes to sustainability and we continue to learn and make small adjustments to do our part in a way that fits our budget and lifestyle such as reducing waste, reusing or repurposing items, opting for products that are made locally and/or sustainably, and supporting the businesses in our community. We compost and are learning how to garden using the no-dig method in addition to using battery-powered tools to maintain the grounds.
We’re not sustainability experts nor do we want to force change on anyone but we hope to inspire others to learn with us as we continue on our journey.
The chateau is currently our private residence but our vision is to open it to host small group retreats and workshops.
We have some ideas and would love to hear your suggestions on the types of events you might want to organize or attend. Feel free to indicate your interest using the form below and we look forward to seeing you soon!
Stay tuned for more information and in the meantime, you can watch Trish on series 3 of the UK television series, Chateau DIY.