In the Basque Country, there are 4 of the most beautiful villages in France: Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, Sare, Ainhoa and La Bastide-Clairence. Would you like a little stroll in this last village to discover its treasures? You will be amazed by its architecture, its craftsmen and its luxuriant nature. I'm sure this will make you want to book your next vacation in this charming corner of France.
Let's go to La Bastide-Clairence
The town hall
La Bastide-Clairence is about twenty kilometers from Bayonne, and the road to go there is delightfull ! From the first steps in the center of this village, I was impressed by the beauty of its buildings. All houses are beautiful with typical colors of the Basque Country.
Very nice buildings
Do you want to play ?
This unity in architecture makes this village superb. It feels like a stroll in a movie set, but these homes are very real and were built a long time ago. During my visit, I saw a house built in 1679 and another one in 1563! It has seen a lot of visitors ...
Impressive old house
Nice colors on the buildings
The Place des Arceaux, which is the main street of the village is beautiful and lively but I advise you to try also the small streets around. There are some great things to see !
Stroll all around
Beyond its authentic architecture, which gives it this unique cachet, the village has preserved an extraordinary know-how. I reveal to you my 3 favorites:
The first but not leastin one of the best workers in France. His expertise: silk weaving! We enter freely in the workshop of Patrice Cantalejo who welcomes you to admire, and perhaps, to be tempted by his creations handcrafted (jewelry, clothing, accessories ...). There are also the machines used to make his masterpieces. His work is really remarkable.
One of his creations, a beautiful silk necklace. Photo: © Patrice Cantalejo
Go visit his workshop, you will not be disappointed! Photo: © Patrice Cantalejo
My other favorite is located 2 steps from the Town Hall, it is an old forge. We are warmly welcomed by the blacksmith's wife who worked here. At the entrance of the workshop, old newspaper clippings evoke the forge and highlight the blacksmith's trade of the time. The magic really works when you get inside this place. It's a journey in time! Everything has been left as is and one can wander freely in this space full of history and period objects. One can imagine very well the heat and the noise which were to reign here when the forge was in activity.
Go back in time by visiting this workshop!
Finally, my last address will delight the most foodies of you: it is the Factory of macaroons. These delicious biscuits are based on dried fruits (almonds, hazelnuts ...), sugar and egg white. A simple recipe made in the pure tradition. The hard part is to make a choice between the different varieties: chocolate, coconut, almond ... It's typical, very good and it's a good idea to offer one bok to your loved ones.
The macaroons factory, we let ourselves be tempted?
You must always taste the local specialties! Photo: © La Fabrique de Macarons
Chocolate, almond, hazelnut ... there is something for everyone! Photo: © La Fabrique de Macarons
After a tour in the heart of the village, it's time to explore the surroundings. And for that, what better than a canoe trip on the river Joyeuse? During the summer, we embark at the old port with Jungle Canoe. Off season, you can also enjoy Itxassou which is about twenty kilometers away. The trip is more or less sporty and eventful depending on the water level but it is always nice and secured with great monitors! Whether you are with friends or family, this is a great opportunity to discover the region in an original way.
A sporty walk to enjoy nature. Photo: © Jungle Canoe
If you are around on Tuesday, you are lucky! It is the day of the market of the farmers producers and trades of the mouth. Of which to fill up of Basque specialties: charcuteries, cheeses, jams, Espelette peppers ...
Article written by Mélanie Oliva for le Guide du Pays Basque