Ascain – Sare – Aïnhoa – Espelette – La Bastide-Clairence

The Basque country has some well-known resorts along the coast, described in another itinerary, then there are the villages in the gently rolling hinterland. Green hills and dales, sprinkled with forests, sheep and houses painted red and white recalling cherries and peppers. The villages keep the countryside alive, with pelote players, singing and pilgrims on their way to Compostelle. Mother Nature in her crowning glory, merry traditions and plenty of delicacies to eat!
The Basque country simply oozes charm.
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1

Ascain

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.
www.ascain-tourisme.fr

The inescapable

Ascain
Ascain

To do, to see

2

Sare

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.
www.sare.fr

The inescapable

General view of the village
General view of the village

To do, to see

More feelings

Marvelling

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.
www.sare.fr

Amusement

Enjoy taste and vision at the Basque cake museum.
www.legateaubasque.com

3

Aïnhoa

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.
www.ainhoa-tourisme.com

The inescapable

Aïnhoa
Aïnhoa

More feelings

Marvelling

A remarkable church with a chancel featuring gilded panelling, altarpiece and its galleries and Gorritia house.

4

Espelette

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!
www.espelette.fr

The inescapable

Peppers drying on a house facade.
Peppers drying on a house facade.
 Picking peppers.
Picking peppers.

More feelings

Vitality

Sample and shop for Basque produce at the Accoceberry boutique in Espelette.
www.accoceberry.fr

5

La Bastide-Clairence

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.
www.labastideclairence.com

The inescapable

La Bastide Clairence
La Bastide Clairence

To do, to see

As of 1 January 2016, the Aquitaine, Limousin and Poitou-Charentes regions are now only one! Also discover tourism opportunities in