Mont-de-Marsan is a charming city located in the southwestern part of France. Known for its rich history, picturesque landscapes, and vibrant cultural scene, it offers visitors a delightful blend of traditional and modern attractions. Here are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Mont-de-Marsan:
1. Donjon Lacataye
Start your exploration by visiting Donjon Lacataye, a medieval fortress that serves as a symbol of the city’s history. This well-preserved tower offers panoramic views of Mont-de-Marsan and hosts interesting exhibitions that shed light on the region’s past.
2. Parc Jean Rameau
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Nature lovers should head to Parc Jean Rameau, a beautiful public park situated near the city center. It features lush greenery, vibrant flowerbeds, and serene walking paths. Take a leisurely stroll, have a picnic, or simply relax in this tranquil oasis.
3. Despiau-Wlérick Museum
Art enthusiasts will appreciate a visit to the Despiau-Wlérick Museum, dedicated to the works of Charles Despiau and Robert Wlérick, two renowned sculptors from Mont-de-Marsan. The museum displays an impressive collection of sculptures and offers insight into their artistic journey.
4. Mont-de-Marsan Cathedral
Explore the city’s religious heritage at Mont-de-Marsan Cathedral, also known as Sainte-Marie Cathedral. Admire the stunning Gothic architecture, intricate stained glass windows, and the peaceful ambiance within. The cathedral is a significant historical landmark of the city.
5. Landes de Gascogne Regional Nature Park
Venture outside the city to discover the natural wonders of the Landes de Gascogne Regional Nature Park. This vast forested area is ideal for outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, and birdwatching. Immerse yourself in the tranquil surroundings and enjoy the beauty of the landscapes.
6. Fêtes de la Madeleine
If you visit Mont-de-Marsan in late July, don’t miss the Fêtes de la Madeleine, one of the most popular festivals in the region. This vibrant celebration includes bullfighting, street performances, concerts, and a festive atmosphere that truly captures the local spirit.
7. Place Saint-Roch
Take a leisurely stroll through Place Saint-Roch, a lively square in the heart of Mont-de-Marsan. It is surrounded by charming cafes, restaurants, and boutique shops, offering a perfect spot to relax, enjoy a cup of coffee, and immerse yourself in the city’s vibrant ambiance.
8. Riverwalk along the Midouze
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Enjoy a pleasant walk along the banks of the Midouze River, which runs through the city. The riverwalk offers picturesque views, tranquil surroundings, and charming bridges. It’s a lovely place to unwind, go for a jog, or simply enjoy the peaceful atmosphere.
9. Gastronomic Delights
Indulge in the culinary delights of Mont-de-Marsan by sampling the local cuisine. Don’t miss the opportunity to savor traditional dishes such as foie gras, duck confit, and Armagnac, a locally produced brandy. Explore the city’s restaurants and cafes to experience the flavors of the region.
10. Château de Ravignan
Embark on a short excursion to Château de Ravignan, a magnificent castle located just outside Mont-de-Marsan. This 17th-century estate produces Armagnac and offers guided tours of its cellars, allowing visitors to learn about the production process and sample this renowned brandy.
11. Outdoor Activities
Take advantage of the beautiful landscapes surrounding Mont-de-Marsan by engaging in various outdoor activities. Explore the network of cycling paths that crisscross the region, go horseback riding through the countryside, or enjoy a round of golf at one of the nearby courses.
12. Cultural Events
Mont-de-Marsan hosts a diverse range of cultural events throughout the year. From music concerts and theater performances to art exhibitions and literary festivals, there is always something happening. Check the local event calendar to see if any cultural events coincide with your visit.
13. Wine Tasting
Mont-de-Marsan is located in the heart of the Armagnac region, renowned for its distinctive brandy production. Consider taking a wine tasting tour to visit local vineyards and learn about the art of Armagnac-making. This is an excellent opportunity to sample different varieties and appreciate the craftsmanship behind this renowned spirit.
14. The Bullfighting Tradition
Mont-de-Marsan has a strong bullfighting tradition deeply rooted in the local culture. If you’re interested in this aspect of French heritage, you can attend a bullfight at the historic Plumaçon Arena. Experience the excitement and spectacle of this traditional sport, which holds a significant place in the city’s identity.
15. Thermal Spas
Relax and rejuvenate in the nearby thermal spas of Eugénie-les-Bains and Préchacq-les-Bains. These charming spa towns offer a range of wellness treatments, thermal baths, and relaxation therapies. Pamper yourself with a soothing spa day, surrounded by peaceful natural surroundings.
16. Historical Villages
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Venture beyond Mont-de-Marsan to explore the picturesque villages in the region. Visit Saint-Sever, a medieval village known for its abbey and ancient cloister. Wander through its narrow streets and admire the well-preserved architecture. Additionally, Villeneuve-de-Marsan is a charming village with a beautiful central square and quaint shops to explore.
17. Landes’ Beaches
While Mont-de-Marsan is located inland, the beautiful beaches of the Landes coastline are within driving distance. Head to Mimizan Plage or Biscarrosse Plage, both popular seaside destinations, to enjoy sandy shores, sunbathing, water sports, and invigorating walks along the Atlantic Ocean.
18. Les Landes Forest
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Discover the natural beauty of Les Landes Forest, one of Europe’s largest maritime pine forests. Enjoy leisurely walks or bike rides through the woodland trails, breathe in the fresh air, and appreciate the tranquility of this vast green expanse.
19. Local Markets
Immerse yourself in the vibrant local culture by visiting the bustling markets of Mont-de-Marsan. The Saint-Roch Market, held every Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday, offers a wide array of fresh produce, regional delicacies, and artisanal products. Engage with local vendors, discover unique flavors, and experience the authentic charm of the market atmosphere.
20. Canoeing on the Midouze River
Embark on a canoeing adventure along the picturesque Midouze River. Rent a canoe or kayak and paddle through the serene waterways, surrounded by lush greenery and wildlife. It’s a fantastic way to connect with nature and enjoy a peaceful outdoor experience.
21. Maison du Saumon et de la Rivière
Delve into the world of salmon and river ecosystems at the Maison du Saumon et de la Rivière. This interactive museum showcases the life cycle of salmon and the importance of preserving river habitats. Learn about the local flora and fauna, and gain a deeper understanding of the environmental significance of rivers.
22. Les Arenas
Experience the lively atmosphere of Les Arenas, a bullring located near the city center. Even if you’re not attending a bullfight, you can visit this architectural gem and explore its surroundings. The building’s elegant facade and circular shape make it an interesting place to admire and photograph.
23. Parc Animalier de Nahuques
Pay a visit to Parc Animalier de Nahuques, a charming animal park located on the outskirts of Mont-de-Marsan. Home to a variety of species, including deer, llamas, and ducks, this park offers a delightful opportunity to observe and interact with animals in a natural setting. Children will particularly enjoy the petting zoo area.
24. Golf de Mont-de-Marsan
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Golf enthusiasts can tee off at Golf de Mont-de-Marsan, an 18-hole golf course surrounded by beautiful green landscapes. Enjoy a round of golf while appreciating the tranquil setting and the pleasant views of the course. The facility also offers practice areas for honing your skills.
25. Les Landes Aviators Museum
Aviation enthusiasts should make a stop at the Les Landes Aviators Museum, located within the Mont-de-Marsan airbase. The museum displays a collection of aircraft and exhibits that tell the story of aviation in the region. Discover the evolution of aviation technology and learn about the pilots who have made significant contributions to the field.
26. Cinema Le Royal
Catch a movie at Cinema Le Royal, a historic cinema located in the heart of Mont-de-Marsan. This beautifully restored theater hosts a diverse range of films, including French and international releases. Sit back, relax, and enjoy a cinematic experience in an atmospheric setting.
27. Les Halles
Explore Les Halles, a covered market that has been a focal point of Mont-de-Marsan since the 19th century. Wander through the market’s bustling aisles, filled with stalls selling fresh produce, artisanal products, and local specialties. Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere and perhaps pick up some delicious treats to savor later.
28. Ecomusée de Marquèze
Plan a day trip to Ecomusée de Marquèze, an open-air museum located in Sabres, approximately 45 minutes from Mont-de-Marsan. Step back in time and discover the traditional way of life in the Landes region. Explore the reconstructed village, ride a vintage steam train, and learn about the history, culture, and heritage of the Landes de Gascogne area.
29. Attending a Concert or Performance
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Mont-de-Marsan has a vibrant cultural scene with regular concerts, theater performances, and live music events. Check the local event listings to see if there are any shows happening during your visit. Enjoy an evening of entertainment and immerse yourself in the artistic atmosphere of the city.
30. Exploring the Underground Caves of Isturitz and Oxocelhaya
If you’re willing to venture a bit farther from Mont-de-Marsan, consider a day trip to the impressive underground caves of Isturitz and Oxocelhaya. Located near the town of Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle, these caves are renowned for their prehistoric cave art and stunning geological formations.
Places and Things To Do