Château de Gère is what the French call a ‘château fort’, a fortified structure built for defense purposes. Initially constructed in the late 1300s, it is believed that the tower and upper level were added in the Renaissance era.
Some interesting exterior features include a plaque above the main entrance that reads, "Wisdom begins with the fear of Jean de Gère - 1613" (it seems someone thought quite highly of himself). There are also a number of arrow slits that are strategically placed across the château as well as gargoyles on the south facing windows and a remnant of a stone structure on the back wall that certainly raises some questions.
Inside, a stone staircase leads to the main living area that features an old stone sink and grand fireplace that Henri IV may have used when the château served as his hunting lodge. The kitchen has since been updated with more modern conveniences while attempting to maintain some rustic charm.
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 grounds also include a vegetable garden and a small stream that runs from the mountain above through the center of the property, cascading over the embankment below. Listening to the sound of the trickling water and sheep bells while admiring the surrounding mountains is what puts us in our happy place.
The Vallee d’Ossau is in the Béarn region of southwest France, and with its wide range of activities, culture, and history, it offers something for everyone.
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.
Hi! I'm Trish and I purchased the château at the end of 2020, trading in my small Paris apartment for a new life in the countryside.
Originally from the northeast part of the US, I've lived in France for more than a decade working in marketing and am now moving on from corporate life to host small group retreats and events at the château, where I live with my cat, Marguerite (the real queen of the castle).
Being in an area that I find to be so beautiful and rich in culture has given me even more motivation to make sustainable choices that are good for my health, the environment, and my community.
There is still a lot more I can do when it comes to sustainability and I continue to learn and make small adjustments to do my part in a way that fits my budget and lifestyle. This includes reducing waste, reusing or repurposing items, opting for products that are made locally and/or sustainably, and supporting the businesses in my community. I also compost and use the no-dig method of gardening in addition to using battery-powered tools to maintain the grounds.