The Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle lake welcomes each year the Fête des Ikastola, the schools in which basque language is taught. But in 2018, the common where chistera was invented while witness a record attendance for its first meeting with the Tour de France. It will be all the more welcoming due to the fact that the last visit of the Tour in Basque Country goes back to the 2006 edition and a start in Camboles-Bains heading to Pau where Cyril Dessel captured the yellow jersey.

On the road


Population: 667,249
Prefecture: Pau
Sub-prefectures: Bayonne, Oloron Sainte-Marie
Surface: 7,645 km²

Specialties: foie gras, confit, duck breast and other dishes derived from duck, piperade, Espelette pepper, Basque cake, Irouléguy, Itxassou black cherry, Bayonne ham, hen, Jurançon, AOC Mellow, Madiran, farm sheep cheese, salt of Salies-de-Bearn, lamb of the Pyrenees, Blonde of Aquitaine

Sports Clubs: Section Paloise Béarn Pyrenees, Rowing Bayonnais, Biarritz Olympique Basque Country, Billere handball, Elan Bearnais Pau Lacq Orthez, Anglet Hormadi Elite, Pau Football Club.

Events: Surfing World Championships, Biarritz Quiksilver Maïder Arosteguy Surfing, Equestrian Three Day Event "les Etoiles de Pau", Tour de France, World Slalom and Descent Canoeing Championships, Pau Grand Prix

Festivals: International Surf Festival, Festival Emmaus Lescar-Pau, Festival A Tant Rêver Du Roi, Music Festival in the Basque Coast 2017, Festival Des Rives & Notes in Oloron, Occitan Festival Hestiv'Òc, Biarritz Dance Festival ”Le Temps d'aimer “ (Time for loving), Transhumances musicales in Laàs, Biarritz Latin America Festival, International Film Festival of Saint-Jean-de-Luz

Economy: third economic and demographic area of the greater South-West. First national producer of sheep cheese, second for corn grain. It is the first department of Aquitaine for the number of farms. In the industrial sector, the Total group and its network through the Lacq basin, as well as Safran (Turbomeca, Dassault or Messier-Dowty) in aeronautics. Several companies specialised in precision mechanics, metallurgy or electronics like Exameca, MAP, PCC France, Rexam and others ...

Websites and social networks: www.le64.fr / www.tourisme64.com / www.facebook.com/Département-des-Pyrénées-Atlantiques

Col d'Orgambidesca

Km 9

USTARITZ (Pop: 6,800)

Ustaritz is particularly notable for the "castles" built in the city at the end of the nineteenth century by the "Americans", these natives of the village who left to make a fortune in the United States or Chile and returned to the country fortune made. Lota Castle, home to the Basque Cultural Institute, is one of the most spectacular. The refined style of the façade is unusual and the quality of the interior decoration is rare and unjsual in the region. But older buildings, such as the Mokopeita (17th century) bear witness to the rich past of Ustaritz, which was the prosperous capital of Labourd until the Revolution before being supplanted by Bayonne. In its heyday, the trade with Spain and the culture of corn, imported from Mexico, had made its prosperity. With seven frontons, Ustaritz is a stronghold of the Basque pelota, with a renowned school: Kapito-Harri.


Plis de la côte & limite KT

Everyone knows the disaster that saw the disappearance of large reptiles (deterrent meteorite impact and volcanism ), but few places testify to what happened. One of these control layers of such events is on the beach of Bidard (next to Biarritz) where a clay level, abnormally rich in iridium, attests to a catastrophic contribution of this rare metal to the surface of the Earth.

MNHN – Patrick De Wever, professeur 

Km 14

LARRESSORE (Pop: 1,900)

Home to a gaztelu zahar, a former fortress of the Iron Age testifying to its distant past, Larressore is one of the places of production of the Espelette pepper. Its long history was marked by the creation in the 18th century of a seminary closed in 1906 after the separation of church and state. Turned into a sanatorium and a psychiatric hospital, the institution closed in 1994. The village retains more than a hundred houses dating from before the Revolution and retains traditional crafts such as the manufacture of makila, a walking stick with a tip that also served as a defence weapon. Listed in the Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage in France, makilas are unique and personalized pieces. The Aincart Bergara workshop in Larressore has manufactured makilas for popes, marshals such as Foch, Joffre or Montgomery and most French Presidents.
Finally Larressore is the birthplace of one of the greatest Basque props in the history of French rugby, Jean Iraçabal, "the man who never stepped back."


Interior Labourd - Espelette

The rolling landscape around Labourd offers wide views that intertwine natural areas with cultivated and pasture land. Animal farming widespread, and verdant rounded hills are broken up by white houses with red-tiled roofs. Traditional buildings alternate with more recent houses built in the same colours. The villages of Espelette and Souraide stand out from these with their typical Labourd houses.

Km 18

SOURAÏDE (Pop: 1,400)

At the foot of the Ereby mountain, on the way to Baztan, a pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela, Souraïde logically dedicated its 12 century church, spectacular with its wooden galleries, to Saint-Jacques-le- Majeur.

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