When you visit Ainhoa, you are plunged into Basque history and Basque culture simultaneously. This charming fortified village is built around one main street.
Listed as one of the “Most beautiful Villages of France”, it has all the ingredients which make it a must-see, traditional Basque village. Walking down the main street you can admire 17th and 18th century red-painted, half-timbered white façades, which are typical to the area.
Like almost all the villages in the Basque Country it boasts a fronton/pediment where anyone can play Basque pelota whenever they choose.
To enter the Romanesque church, you will walk through a bell tower porch, you can then admire a very beautiful coffered ceiling, the altar’s golden woodwork, a double-galleried nave and a dome with a star-spangled sky ceiling.
The graveyard is also home to a regional specificity: disc-shaped headstones, on some of which you will recognise the Basque Cross, called the Lauburu.
Ainhoa is a stone’s throw from the Spanish border — just 3 kilometres away, it was historically a relay for merchants heading for Spain. It is a stop on the Way of Saint James, and you will certainly appreciate the inhabitants’ hospitality, simplicity and deep attachment to their country.
If you eat at one of the village’s restaurants, you will almost certainly go home with some stories to tell.
This village, ranked as one of the “Most Beautiful Villages of France,” by itself offers numerous attractions which guarantee a memorable visit. It’s an authentic fortified town, housing several arts and crafts workshops, a washing place, the oldest operating ‘Jeu de Paume’ court in France, as well as a church and its cloisters paved with tombstones
When you visit this village located inland at the foot of the mountains, you will be totally immersed in the Basque culture and customs.
A friendly atmosphere prevails in this town which is the last French stop on the Road to Santiago de Compostela (the Way of Saint James), visited by pilgrims from all around the world.
Visiting Sare means experiencing Basque life style first hand. You will enjoy the exquisite charms of one of the “Most Beautiful Villages of France”, but also the relaxed and cheerful atmosphere which prevails here. If you are visiting in September, don’t miss the festivities at the Fêtes of Sare which showcase Basque traditions such as gastronomy, dancing, pelota, and singing.