France: 3 charming villages in the Basque Country

  • La façade de l’hôtel Euzkadi, à Espelette

    © Harrieta171

    La façade de l’hôtel Euzkadi, à Espelette

    © Harrieta171

  • La marie de Guéthary et son fronton où se déroule une partie de pelote.

    © Office de Tourisme de Guéthary

    La marie de Guéthary et son fronton où se déroule une partie de pelote.

    © Office de Tourisme de Guéthary

  • Le bord de mer de Guéthary

    © TC Basques

    Le bord de mer de Guéthary

    © TC Basques

  • Les belles maisons labourdines d’Ainhoa ©CDT64

    © CDT64

    Les belles maisons labourdines d’Ainhoa ©CDT64

    © CDT64

France: 3 charming villages in the Basque Country Pays basque fr

The Basque Country - known as the Pays Basque in French - is full of a certain charm that can not be found anywhere else. Here are 3 villages worth a visit!

Get to know the locals, who are proud of their language and culture; watch a pelota ball match; enjoy grilled calamari and Basque cakes on a sunny terrace...

The Basque Country, found in the southwestern point of France, is its very own. This is the place to go to get authentic experiences and a great view of the ocean and the Pyrenees.
Here are three of our favorite villages in the Basque country. 


Espelette, the World Capital of Peppers 

The village of Espelette is located at the foot of the Pyrenees, just twenty minutes from the Atlantic Coast. Its postcard-like setting makes a visit irresistible.

In just a few steps you can appreciate the little streets, its white houses with red wood timbering, façades decorated with vines of red peppers glistening in the sun, its church, its recently-restored château, its outdoor bath and the reassuring silhouette of Mont Mondarrain on the horizon.
This is where the famous Espelette peppers are produced. A flavorful spice that has known phenomenal success in recent years. A key ingredient in Basque cooking, it seasons everyday local dishes as well as refined menus of the world's top chefs.

 

Guéthary, the Little Coastal Gem

The smallest village on the Basque coast has developed a reputation as a great beach destination over the past few years, while still preserving its authenticity and its traditional charm.
A point of departure for whale hunters in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, and thereafter a haven for writers and artists, Guéthary is a truly Basque seaside village.
Life is pleasant, between surf sessions, pelota ball parties, contemporary art exhibits in the village museum and walks towards the local port, full of colorful boats. 


Ainhoa, an authentically Basque Village

Officially classified on France's list of Most Beautiful Villages, Ainhoa is a one-street village surrounded by hills, established in the Middle Ages to welcome pilgrims along the Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle route.
Its main street is bordered by a pelota court, a fourteenth-century church, disc-shaped headstones and a series of magnificent red-timber-framed Labourdine houses.
Aihoa is a great departure point for different hiking paths of the nearby mountain. It is also the last French village before crossing the Spanish border into Dancharia.