Lower Navarre, one of the three provinces that make up the Basque Country, is a land of mountains and hills located on the Spanish frontier, half-way between Biarritz and Pau.
Here you will discover a lively and vibrant region. Since the Middle Ages, the Amikuze region has been a crossroads and a forum. Saint-Palais, the old city created because of the road to Compostela, now hosts many businesses and continues to be the compulsory route if you are travelling to Pamplona in Spain. Whether you are staying in a gîte or bed-and-breakfast set in a verdant framework, you can roam the many waymarked paths on horseback, on foot or mountain bike.
Near Iholdy, in the Oztibarre valley, the Pyrenees begin to impose their majesty. From the little Hoxa Handi mountain above the Palombières pass with the Bidouze springs, you are in pastoral surroundings. Visit one of the many farmers and you will have the opportunity of sampling the famous ardi gasna (cheese made from ewe’s milk).
The worthy heir to South-West traditions, Lower Navarre is also a joyful and festive land due to the dynamic approach of its many festival associations and committees. Whenever there is a village festival (and each village celebrates its own!), the zikiro or spit roast ensures that inhabitants and passing friends all meet round the table. Basque sports also feature prominently throughout the year, from bare-handed pelota tournaments in Armendarits, to memories of the legendary Jean Urruty, the famous chistera player. In 1951, Saint-Palais also saw the creation of the Force Basque festival where, every August, strong men from Lower Navarre pit themselves against their Soule counterparts.