In medieval times the Ossau valley had a considerable amount of autonomy, and Bielle was the capital, where representatives from all the valley communes met to decide policy.
Its former importance manifests itself in the fine detail still to be found on the old houses in this charming village - the carefully carved lintels, the oeils de boeuf, the door and window frames.
Bielle is still today an unspoilt Béarnais mountain village, in the middle of one of the most wonderful valleys in the Pyrénées.
|Hanging valley of Benou ||Beauty spots and View Points|
|Le Benou is a `hanging valley', a flat area high up in the mountains between the Ossau and Aspe valleys, where horses and sheep roam at will. An excellent starting point for a walk.|
|Asté Beon - La falaise aux vautours ||Natural History|
|The high cliffs above Asté Beon are protected because of the growing colony of Griffon Vultures there. Climbing is forbidden, but close-circuit cameras have been installed linked to an observatory below. Here you can watch the colony with powerful telescopes or on television screens.|
|The Ossau valley, and the Col de Marie Blanc ||Valleys and Passes|
|Bielle is in the middle of the lower Ossau valley. From here one can drive up to the Benou plateau and over the Col de Marie Blanc to the neighbouring Aspe valley.|
|Bilhères - sleepy village perched on the side of the Ossau valley ||Small villages|
|High up on west side of the Ossau valley, on the road to the Benou plateau and the Col de Marie Blanc, lies the sleepy village of Bilhères, which affords magnificent views of the valley.|
|Church of St-Vivien 15th and 16th century ||Churches|
|No trace is left of a monastry or a priory which is believed to have been once built here, but there is the fine church of St Vivien, built in the 15th and 16th centuries in the typical Béarnais gothic style. Note the impressive roof and also marble pillars believed to have come from an old Roman villa|
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