Sare, a listed village
Set in the rolling foothills of the Pyrénées, in a picture-book village near the Spanish border, the Hôtel Arraya captures the tradition and rustic flavor of this Basque region.
ONGI ETORRI ! WELCOME !
The drive to the village of Sare is breathtaking: winding road, red and white farmhouses, rolling hills. Sare (Sara in Basque), a village of around 2 500 inhabitants, is listed "one of France’s most beautiful villages".
Hôtel ARRAYA overbooks Sare's square.
The name Sare comes from the Basque words ‘‘xara’’ and ‘‘xareta’’, which mean wooded area, thicket or forest.
The village, surrounded by the mountains (including La Rhune, altitude 905m) is an enclave in Spanish Navarra with which it shares 32 km of border and is located just 14 km from the sea (Saint Jean de Luz).
Opposite the town-hall is the fronton or pelota court, a true "outdoor temple", and an intrinsic part of the Basque microcosm. Leading to this square are roads lined with hundred year old plane trees connecting countless half-timbered farmhouses, grouped together in around ten hamlets.
Ihalar is one of them. It is a storybook-perfect hamlet of timbered homes that is worth a quick drive-by. To step back into this world of yesterday and visit a single-street village that was once a 16th-century farm, leave the center of Sare in the direction of Cambo les Bains and just on Sare’s outskirts, at the roundabout, make a detour left, up the tree-lined road.
Also, the Chapel of Saint Catherine, founded in 1481, as well as Lehenbiscay, remarkable for its homesteads with their typical porches and a series of oratories, scattered across the countryside.
This landscape is dominated by the rocky mass of La Rhune, the mythical Basque mountain, which is home to both vultures and "pottoks" (a local breed of small wild ponies).
A document dating back to 1505 lists 81 ancient houses.