Iconic French Basque Country
Basque, Spanish, and French cultures mix with Gascony, Jewish, and English influences in the French Basque country. It creates unique ways of life on the coast and in the mountains.
Poet and novelist Victor Hugo described the Basque people in “Alpes et Pyrénées.” He lovingly recalled Bayonne and its origins, extolling the opulence of the city and the beach in Biarritz. He did not contemplate the current-day golf courses or the locals’ love of rugby.
Hugo also never met composer Maurice Ravel who was born in the coastal town of Ciboure. Nevertheless, it is easy to feel the quiet pull of this bucolic region; it also inspired violinist Pablo de Saraste and the composer Isaac Albeniz.
Towns like St. Jean-Pied-de-Port, Sare, Ainhoa, La Bastida Clarence are consistently listed among the most beautiful villages in France. Moreover, watershed events in history (and legend) were set in these areas, as recalled in the old French epic poem The Song of Roland.
This region has long been a stop for pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago and other travelers, as you can read in the oldest travel guide of Europe, the medieval Codex Calixtinus, which described the way of St James back in the 1100s.
To be amongst all this history on a private tour of the inland French Basque Country is a privilege. And a must to understand the Basque identity and way of life — a riveting mix of modernity and old-country traditions.
TOUR WITH ME