Le Pays Basque

Saint Jean Pied-de-Port 2011-05-21 DSC_0236

Tenacious, proud, spirited, intelligent, friendly and enigmatic, the Basque people have managed to keep their ancient language and customs alive even under French rule. Most of the French Basques live in the mountainous region of the Pyrenees while some inhabit the coastal regions From Bayonne to the Spanish Border.

The mountainous region is mostly agrarian where sheep, goats and cattle roam lush green valleys and verdant high pastures in summertime.  All of the houses and buildings are painted white with doors and windows painted either red or green – the colors of the Basque flag.

The Basques are passionate about their cuisine, especially their fresh ewe’s milk cheese and their hot red peppers known as Piment d’Espelette. Theirs is a rich culture of music and traditional dances that are nearly as important as their national pastime, the game of pelota.

During our venture to this unique area, we will:

• Stroll around the coastal town of Saint-Jean-de-Luz with its bustling weekly market, its vast array of interesting shops (hand-made espadrilles anyone?), and a vast boardwalk lined with period houses. There’s a wide beach with warm, soft sand where we can sit for a while and perhaps dip our toes in the eastern Atlantic Ocean;

• Travel the coastal road above the treacherous shoreline of the Atlantic

• Wander two timeless beautiful villages with lovely shops and traditional houses of red and white;

• Explore Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port (literally at the door of the mountain pass) a major stopover and resting place for pilgrims on their way to Santiago di Campostella in Spain.

• Sample local and famous Basque fermented cider at a local Ciderie (cider house);

• Taste locally produced wine at a Basque winery (perfect with traditional Basque cheeses);

• Ride a cogwheel train up the side of a mountain populated with free roaming, mostly tame ponies and sheep, for a stunning views of both the Pyrenees and the Atlantic coast.

• Sample the Fromage de Brebis (fresh ewe’s milk cheese) with its own DOC label;

• Discover Biarritz – one of the surfing capitals of the world.

Friday 5/31/2013 – 6/5/2013

We will meet in Bordeaux and drive to the Pays Basque.  Prices and further details coming very soon.

Please fill out the form below if you are interested in further details to this very unique place.