Sare is a small village in the province of Labourd in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques in south-western France. It is situated deep in Basque country only about 2 miles from the Spanish border. In fact, Sare residents like to say they can have breakfast in France and lunch in Spain.
Sare is known for its festivals, its love of tradition and its great food. It is considered one of the most beautiful villages in France. Cradled in a ring of Pyrenees foothills, the village seems to doze in the shadow of steep, craggy Rhune Mountain. The area surrounding Sare is pastoral with cows and Manech, red-faced sheep, lounging on the green meadows. Wild pottok, small sturdy Basque ponies, graze in the distance. A two-lane country road replete with roundabouts every few miles leads into the village with its large pelota court, shaded streets and fine 17th century Church of Saint Martin with its wooden galleries. Seventeenth century houses in Sare are built in the traditional style of the region, with shutters painted in the red and green of the Basque flag.
Sare is a major prehistoric site. Though the most ancient traces of human activity in the Basque country date from 200,000 years ago, prehistoric humans stayed in the Caves of Sare from 35,000 to 10,000 BC. Less than 4 miles south of Sare you will find the Grottes de Sare, filled with evidence of prehistoric inhabitants. Basque mythology has it that to this day lamiaks, little siren-like creatures, still dwell in the caves.
For an unforgettable experience, take a 35-minute trip on the Little Train of the Rhune. At the breathtaking speed of 9 kilometers per hour it puffs up to the summit of Mount Rhune where you will see views of the seven provinces of the Basque Country, the peaks of the Pyrenees, the outstretched beaches of the Landes region, and the Basque coastline from Biarritz to Saint-Sébastien. There are a couple of restaurants and souvenir shops at the summit as well. This authentic vintage rack railway train dating from 1924 takes you through the countryside where you will be able to discover the specific fauna and flora of the Basque mountains.
Look for the huge Griffon Vulture, an emblematic bird of prey of the Pyrenees.
So, where is Sare? It is the place you want to see. Put it on your “bucket list.”
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