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The Pyrenees between Béarn & Basque Land

La côte des Basques in Biarritz


The Basque backcountry is perfect to combine sightseeing, gastronomy, and trout fishing in the French Pyrenees. You will usually join the Basque Pyrenees, from the Basque seashore by Saint Jean de Luz or Biarritz - There are found the main train stations and the airport. We can arrange for you a preliminary stay on the seashore. Our service includes touring indications for the whole area, as well as gastronomic tips to use at the famous mariscos (seafood) and tapas bars or restaurants in Spain at the border towns of Irun and Hondarribia..

Accommodation in the mountain...

Quaint mountain Hotels - We are recommending to use quaint mountain hotels all situated in the heart of breathtaking landscapes and serving excellent menus of local cuisine and a funny authentic atmosphere. The rooms are simple but offer all the necessary comfort and have their private bathroom. With the so many places to visit and rivers to fish, such a holiday is not meant to spend more time in the room than the necessary night and shower maybe completed with a short nap.

Small Luxury Hotels - We can offer the same program using a small luxury hotel. It could be appreciated by non fishers intending to concentrate on really enjoying a rest including long naps and reading in the room. This luxury hotel is in the center of a small town allowing to walk in the streets around the hotel.

Itxassou - La Nive at the "Notch of Roland" - picture courtesy of JJ Orzan's salmon anglers association website -

Beech forest and torrent of the Monte Iraty

Fly Fishing

The network of rivers is huge and varied. It ranges from quite wide shallow parts where local anglers also catch salmon and sea run trout, to high narrow -sometimes bosky- mountain torrents. You will be fishing for wild brown trout only. We do not offer salmon or sea-trout fishing as the results would be too unpredictable. The water is most often nicely coloured -with shades between pale mint and esmerald gree- and running on a rocky bottom is also most often extremely clear.

The Baztan tributary of the main Nive

as you see the banks can quite steep !

Fishing particulars

Season - The leagal season is from mid-March to the 3rd Sunday of September. Because of the ocean's influence the snows never stay long on these mountains and there is no runoff. Early season fishing -around Easter- can be quite good compared to the rest of the country. Difficulties - This is generally a region of difficult fishing. Due to the clarity of the water trout are quite spooky. As for physical shape, no long mountain treck is required but the river is often found under quite steep meadows. Wet wading on the rocky soil is more comfortable with flet soles but going down the slope with often slippery wet grass, is tricky with the same felt soles. So far, no one has found a real satisfactory solution. The highest streams are best fished with a rather short rod, because you will often be wet wading under a tunnel of trees like on some of the pictures displayed.

Egurgiko erreka - Tributary of the Iraty at the Spanish border

The low hills are in fact the top of high mountains Alt 1.200 meters

Other Highlights

The main pleasure for the eyes is offered by the beautifully kept villages. There is an outstanding harmony between the landscapes and the unique local architecture. The Basques have wisely kept their mountains in beautiful shape. We can say that our favourite spots -where we will send you- are not disturbed by any visual pollution. You can tell how rich, strong and old is the Basque culture, just by quickly looking at the houses, the villages, the churches and their cemetaries. These exterior wonders are of course completed by a rich gastronomic tradition.

Basque house near Saint Etienne de Baïgorry


The food in the Pays Basque, is one of the most picturesque of our country. The choice of raw material is huge, proceeding from three very different sources (the mountains, the plains around les Gaves, and the ocean). The Spanish influence is also very important though there is Basque culture present on both sides having little to see with neither the main French nor with the Spanish gastronomic culture. Basque people are keen gourmets and cooks. Many male Spanish Basques are members of clubs named Txokos or Sociedad gastromica, where they congregate, talk and cook at their turn. These clubs are even more closed to women than the (worse) British clubs, but it does not mean that the Basques do not like the cuisine of their wives, mother or grand-mother... au contraire !

Black head "Manech" ram

For the cheese of Ossau Iraty

The river is down the slope behind the sheeps

We will make sure that you will not miss the amazing spécialités locales. To name only a few, we would mention the fantastic cured Spanish or French hams, like the jambon des Aldudes. The cheese of Ossau Iraty curiously served with the black cherry jam of Itxassou. The superb foie gras, and many other delicious curiousities based on wild cèpe mushrooms, game or wild fish. In the region are produced the red wines of Irouleguy, the sweet white Jurançon (best companion to the foie gras), and excellent digestifs such as pear brandy or wild patxaran. If our program is mainly based on rustique auberges and riverside picnis, it also features one gourmet meal at an upgrade restaurant.

Beautifully decorated old Auberge, also offering a wonderful view to the mountains

Images of the Pays Basque...

Picturesque place du village bistrots

Rivers everywhere

mountains always in the background

Curiosities like this "Pottok" ponies fair at the chistera wall of Sare

Secluded hamlets beautifully kept

pristine hidden trout streams nearby

If you're a hunter...
Check out our Basque page in the hunting section...

Abatari tower to wait for the migrating "palombes"

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