The Basque country simply oozes charm.
Just 6 km from the ocean, you find yourself in another world, with typical Basque houses and central pediment. The nearby Rhune summit rises up 905 metres.
To do, to see
Located in a French enclave of Spanish Navarre, Sare was an obvious destination for smugglers. Nowadays it is truly typical of the Basque country, with amazingly decorated 17th- and 18th-century houses. It has been listed as one of the "Most beautiful Villages in France". The pediment on the village square is where people meet to play pelote. It's an important venue for this traditional sport.
To do, to see
The Sare cave was formed two million years ago. A son et lumière is projected during the 45-minute guided tour, covering three main themes: the geological formation of the cavity, the mythology and popular beliefs in the Basque country and the people's origins.
Enjoy taste and vision at the Basque cake museum.
Many have been listed among the "most beautiful villages in France". This bastide or medieval city was founded in the 12th century and used to be a pilgrim stopover on the Way of St James. Half-timbered houses, the cemetery with its tombstones and the view from the chapel Notre-Dame of Aranzazu are other gorgeous features of the site.
A remarkable church with a chancel featuring gilded panelling, altarpiece and its galleries and Gorritia house.
A village famed for its pepper! The story goes that a Basque sailor accompanying Christopher Columbus first brought peppers back from his travels. They have been grown in Espelette ever since, and dried on the farmhouse façades. They can be used to spice up all sorts of dishes, even chocolate! There's even a pepper festival, on the last Sunday in October, celebrating the only pepper of its kind to be grown in France. Save the date!
Sample and shop for Basque produce at the Accoceberry boutique in Espelette.
This village is also listed among the "most beautiful villages in France". Sloping streets lined with lovely, typically Basque houses, an ancient, arcaded main square that could tell many a tale, a remarkable church and a thriving, talented arts & crafts community.