Sengresse is in the Landes in the south-western corner of France; one and a half hours south of Bordeaux and less than two hours drive from the Spanish border and the Basque country. The Landes is an area of pine forests, wide plains, hidden valleys, hills, and miles of dunes, golden sand and surf: with the largest pine forest in Europe and Europe’s longest beach, the Côte d’Argent. The Atlantic coast is no more than forty-five minutes… For summer walking and winter sports the Pyrenees is only a couple of hours from the house.
Sengresse lies inland in a peaceful rural setting, near the River Adour, in the Commune of Souprosse only a couple of kilometres from the village of Mugron and with the larger towns of Tartas (10km) and Dax (35km) nearby.
An agricultural area (www.qualitelandes.com) the main crops are kiwis and maize, there is still a little tobacco grown and the occasional field of sunflowers is a joy to behold. Other regional products are, of course, the confits de canard, the foie gras and the poultry at Saint Sever. The wild cêpes are found in the woods, but only by those in the ‘know’! The local wines are Tursan (visit the cave at Geaune www.tursan.fr) near Saint Mont and the Jurançon ( www.vins-du-sud-ouest.com / www.cavedejurancon.com) Souprosse is noted for its Pastis, a cake rather like Madeira cake but covered in sugar and in the shape of a brioche; the baker is supposed to be the best in the region!
The town of Dax was founded by the Romans as a spa town and has remained continuously so since that time. With its hot springs and thermal baths it now draws some 54,000 visitors a year receiving treatments and is considered France’s number one thermal centre. It is also notable for bull fighting and rugby, having produced numerous captains of the national team.
Sengresse is just 2kms from a Michelin Green route which trails from Mugron to Montaut and on to St Sever and then back via, Amou, Gaujacq and Montfort en Chalosse.
Route of Santiago de Compostela: The pilgrim route is still walked today and two routes pass not far from Sengresse: the Voie de Vézélay at St Sever where brass cockle shells demark the way and in Dax, the Voie de Tours.
All villages and towns have their arenas for Course Landaise , (www.courselandaise.org) or for bull fighting and Souprosse, Mugron and Tartas are no exceptions. Course Landaise has nothing to do with killing bulls but is a dangerous sport for young men and occasionally women who perform amazing acrobatics around and over some very ferocious looking cows. Bull fighting continues in the area most importantly at Dax, Mont de Marsan and Bayonne.
The season of village fêtes begins in May and continues each weekend throughout the summer and autumn. Festivities vary in length from a weekend event to week-long celebrations. The fêtes take various forms and include: dancing, music, events for children, pétanque, fishing competitions, concerts and Course Landaise in the local arena. In Mugron the town band leads children carrying lanterns through the streets on the opening night of the Fête.