An unspoilt valley
The Valley of Saint-Etienne-de-Baïgorry and the Aldudes is made up of the municipalities of Ossès, furthest to the west, Saint-Etienne-de-Baïgorry, Banca, Aldudes and Urepel. The Nive des Aldudes river runs through the valley, over 34 km before joining the “big” Nive (the main river) in Saint-Martin-d'Arrossa.
The Valley of Saint-Etienne-de-Baïgorry has achieved the remarkable feat of regrouping 3 of the 4 Protected Designation of Origin labels (AOP in French) that exist in the northern Basque Country. The entire valley is part of the AOP Ossau-Iraty sheep’s milk cheese area. The cheese produced by valley farmers is made from the milk of the Manex red head or Manex black head sheep. The village of Aldudes is home of the AOP Kinto ham. This ham is made from the Basque “pie noirs” pigs, commonly found in the valley. Last but not least, the village of Saint-Etienne-de-Baïgorry is the land of the AOP Irouléguy wine cooperative. The AOP Irouléguy label covers 15 municipalities between the valley of Saint-Etienne-de-Baïgorry and the Pays de Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port
The valley’s villages
The village of Ossès, like others in the valley, is known for preserving its beautiful “Bas-Navarrais” style houses. In Saint-Etienne-de-Baïgorry, you will find the Etxauz Château, a reminder that the village once belonged to the Kingdom of Navarre. From the roman arch bridge, you can admire this stronghold of the Etxauz lords from the 11th to the 19th century. The villages of Banca, Aldudes and Urepel have the particularity of being founded by the youngest sons of families from Saint-Étienne-de-Baïgorry. Originally land only used for summer grazing, the young men decided to turn the “bordes” (shepherds’ huts) into year-round dwellings.
The Valley of Saint-Etienne-de-Baïgorry and the Aldudes possesses many roads into Spain. The Ispéguy Pass, above Saint-Etienne-de-Baïgorry, provides access to the Spanish valley of Baztan. There are many traditional villages to discover, such as Arizkun, Erratzu, and Elizondo. From the Eznazu quarter, in the Aldudes, or from the village of Urepel, you can take the road to Pamplona. Make sure to stop at the village of Eugi, to admire its lake.
SAINT-ETIENNE-DE-BAIGORRY : GATEWAY TO THE ALDUDES VALLEY