Chez Le Beret / Home of the Beret

Story offer: words & pictures

Location: Béarn, southwest France

Subject: the beret – a French icon -- its homeland, its history, its place today

Title: Chez Le Beret / Home of the Beret

A Gauloise hanging from his lip, a baguette under his arm, a beret on his head – this is the archetypal Frenchman. Or it was. The beret, once widely seen on country people and urban workers, is particularly absent, except back in its homeland, the Basque country and the Béarn. Here in far southwest France the beret emerged and here it is still made, at France’s last two factories. Here it is celebrated at the Beret Museum, its history and manufacture lovingly detailed. And here, if you keep an eye out, you will still see the occasional wearer, old and young. In this feature, we visit the main factory, tour the museum, run through the beret’s history, learn how they’re made, shop for a beret and catch the ambience of the French beret’s home range.

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