Discover the sunny charm of the Basque villages
The town squares in Basque villages are laid out in what is known as the "Labourdin" style, namely by grouping the town hall, the church and the pelota wall together in the same place. The term used to describe this style comes from the word "Labourd" and is specific to the Basque country. In the villages of the Basque country, the cemetery generally surrounds the church, which is situated in the village centre. Along with the church, the pelota wall is therefore the main architectural feature of the village, further demonstrating the importance of Basque pelota as part of Basque daily life. While here, you can admire the Labourdin-style homes, with these colourful timber framed buildings adding a non-negligible touch of finesse to any Basque town centre. Basque mountain dwellings fulfilled the twofold purpose of providing shelter for both animals and people. The animals would be housed on the ground floor and the heat from them would rise to the upper floor where the people lived. The houses out on the Basque plains did not need to face the same extreme temperatures. They can often be surprising due to their sheer size, with many of them resembling mansion houses.
The Labourd house left its own mark on the "Basque style" with its red roofs and timber frames, and whitewashed walls. You can view houses built in this style in the towns of Bayonne, Saint Jean de Luz, Aïnhoaand others...
Today, some of these fine houses have been converted into rural gîtes, safeguarding them for future generations.