Preservation of built and archaeological heritage

Preservation of heritage, especially built, is a fundamental aspect of the local culture.

One of the missions Pays d'art et d'histoire Pyrénées béarnaises is the advice to the communities on the rehabilitation of the heritage - whether it is protected as historical monuments or not - but also the awareness of the actors of the territory.

Historical monuments

Nearly 80 sites and buildings as well as numerous objects are protected under the title of Historical Monuments (link pdf catalogue with contents). Recognition of the quality and history of these buildings by the state dates back, for some, to the 19th century. Most of the Historical Monuments belong to communities but some belong to private owners.

These spaces and objects are listed and can be known thanks to the databases set up by the Ministry of Culture (Mérimée, Palissy, Joconde) under the Collections search engine.

The regulations related to the maintenance and restoration of these immovable and movable property are applied by the State services, more particularly, through the Regional Directorate of Cultural Affairs of Nouvelle Aquitaine (DRAC).

The dedicated service regularly carries out the reconditioning of buildings and objects and, on this occasion, can indicate to their owners the need to carry out an intervention. The actions of the owners are accompanied technically and financially by the DRAC, Unité Départementale de l'Architecture et du Patrimoine de Pau, Région Nouvelle Aquitaine and Conseil Départemental des Pyrénées-Atlantiques.



Unprotected heritage

The heritage of the daily is the object of particular attention because it constitutes an important part of the identity of the Béarnaises Pyrenees.
Over the past several years, a number of sites have been located on different types of heritage: mills, fountains, wash-houses, drinking troughs, etc.
The Pays d'art et d'histoire is committed to continuing these activities as part of its discovery and awareness-raising activities through local associations and resource persons.
Several organizations offer financial support for the preservation of unprotected heritage.

Heritage Foundation, Pyrénées-Atlantiques branch

The Heritage Foundation is an independent private non-profit organization whose vocation is to defend and enhance an endangered heritage not protected by the State. Through its label, it allows a private owner who is the owner of a real estate property and not protected under the title of historical monuments to benefit from tax deductions in the context of safeguarding or restoration work.

Pyrenees National Park

One of the missions of the National Park is to identify and help preserve built and landscaped heritage elements of the territory. Operations to identify, raise awareness and provide financial assistance are proposed.

Friends of the Old Churches of Béarn

The work of this association to safeguard, restore and enhance the churches of Béarn and their furnishings is carried out in four areas:
help to municipalities or associations to restore their religious heritage; publications to make known a church, a history, an architecture, interior riches; cultural activities; preservation and enhancement of liturgical objects, especially those in the sacristy.


The archaeological heritage of the Béarnaises Pyrenees is rich and covers several periods of human occupation. The whole territory is concerned by the protective measures put in place by the State. Awareness-raising, promotion and mediation actions are planned, especially on the occasion of the National Days of Archaeology in June each year.



The archaeological heritage benefits from a special legislation whose application is monitored by the Regional Directorate of Cultural Affairs - Archaeology Service.
There are two types of intervention: preventive archaeology related to development work and programmed archaeology (excavations, prospecting, etc.) for study purposes.
A guide of 40 notices, dedicated to presenting archaeology and its methods, the essential provisions of archaeological regulation in France and a series of practical cases ranging from the discovery of remains to training to become an archaeologist.


Archaeological Group of the Western Pyrenees

The association brings together archaeologists, responsible for the dissemination of results and methods and the definition of common objectives, but also students and amateurs. It offers scientific and public activities throughout the year. The association also offers access to a specialized library open to all.