About the French Basque Country
Nestled in the Atlantic Pyrenees department in the southwest corner of France, THE FRENCH BASQUE COUNTRY AND BEARN are home to many compelling and beautiful attractions.
The close proximity of ocean and mountains reveals fabulous landscapes and endless opportunities for outdoor adventure. From swimming and lounging at fine sand beaches to whitewater rafting on rivers cascading from the Pyrenees Mountains, and from hiking along mountain paths to golfing on sumptuous courses, the Basque Country has something for everyone.
The Basque Country’s varied landscapes will astonish you. Be transported by the beauty of the beaches of St Jean de Luz, the peak of La Rhune Mountain, the beech forests of Iraty and the Adour River Valley.
In this region, which brims with culture and tradition, you’ll discover the secrets of Basque strength contests, the magic of traditional Pastorale and Mascarade theater, the thrill of pelota (a form of hand/racket ball called Jai Alai in the US), and the fever of the corrida (bullfighting).
A little further east, Béarn is a lush green region full of historic villages. Architecture lovers will be enchanted by the ramparts of Sauveterre-de-Béarn, the flowering alleys of Salies-de-Béarn, and the fortifications of the small town of Navarrenx. Béarn’s distinct culture is apparent in its bastides (villages), as well as its castles and manors.
The region is rightfully proud of its fine food and wine. Many local specialties are esteemed around the world, including Bayonne ham, Basque chicken, Espelette pepper and Béarnaise sauce.
With the salutation “Ongi etorri!” the Basques bid you welcome!