When, in his Commentaries on the Gallic War, Julius Ceasar described the main peoples of Aquitaine, he left a grey area between “Bearni” (Béarn) in the west and “Biguerri” (Bigorre) in the east. This area corresponds more or less to the present-day Vic-Bilh– “vicus vetulus” – an old country within the confines of the Armagnac, the Tursan (southern Landes) and the Bigorre (foothills of the Pyrenees). It formed a natural bastion of green hills and deep valleys, providing protection against invasions. It is alleged to be the oldest administrative region of the Béarn, consisting of the cantons of Garlin and Lembeye, and the cradle of many local traditions.

Architecture of Bearn

Local architecture is typified by steep flat-tiled roofs, scalloped decorations under the eaves and gabled windows. The building materials were found on the spot – cobbles, clay and wood. Conchez-de-Béarn, the most remarkable village of Vic-Bilh, has preserved all the charm of its prestigious past with its beautiful traditional Bearnese houses and elegant roofs, dating from the 18th c.


Bastide of Garlin

Garlin grew up at the crossroads of two ancient routes ; one was the transhumance route and the other a roman road. In 1302, Marguerite de Béarn reinforced the frontier with ancient Aquitaine by building a bastide. A few of the town houses remain from the 17th and 18th centuries, and the Mairie is part of them. Garlin has a bullring which is used regularly in the Spring and Summer.

Bastide of Lembeye

Lembeye is a strategic fortified town on the borders of Armagnac and Bigorre. The most impressive building remaining from the 13th century is the clock tower over the old town gate. The town still has a weekly market on Thursdays. The church is the largest gothic building in Vic-Bilh.