Ghost in the wall

The approach to Navarrenx

We visited to our first Les Plus Beaux Villages de France! It’s called Navarrenx. And if we’re reading the paper map correctly it’s located in the Pyrénées Atlantiques department in New Aquitaine region. France is divided into regions, regions are divided into departments and departments are divided into communes. (To make it easier (for me) I think of it like Ireland has provinces which contain counties, which contain towns.)

Tea shop

Navarrenx is a fortified town and deserves its place on the beautiful villages list. We approached the old walls via a bridge over the river Gave d’Oloron and it was at that point that I made my first mistake. The view of the ramparts as you approach is very impressive. So impressive that I forgot to take a picture, even through the windscreen. So when you look at the pictures please imagine the streets and houses perched high inside sturdy stone walls.

Narrow street and pretty houses

Then more impressive, you drive through a gap in the walls and enter the towns narrow streets, passing cafes and churches and shops and lots of tourists. Looks like we’re not the only ones to follow the beautiful villages. We find a place to park inside the walls and start to investigate the place. Denis soon finds tunnels under the wall. I’m not very enthusiastic. But he has a plan.

Very thick walls

I thought he’d put the underneath the walls project out of his mind until I saw him with the torch. He’d gone back to the van and now surely I’d go exploring with him…

You can walk on top of the wall too

What he didn’t know was while he was gone I could hear running coming from the tunnel. I shouted a hello and there was a return hello. I asked if it was scary down there, the voice said no, it’s not and it doesn’t feel small, there’s plenty of room. You just need a torch, he said as he ran out of the entrance and disappeared. The ghost of a soldier patrolling down there?

We had to go down the steps and around a corner and the turn out the torch… but then this is what we saw. Those shafts of light continue along the tunnel. Lighting the way…

So when Denis returned with the torch I said I’d have look, after all the ghost was friendly and no longer down there. To be honest it was very interesting.

There’s Navarrenx. We’re slowly making our way north