The Pays Charnégou or Xarnegu region is the most northern territory of the Basque Country.
Only a short distance away from Bayonne, you will find the first Basque villages such as Urt, Mouguerre, Briscous and also La Bastide-Clairence, which is listed among the “Most Beautiful Villages of France”.
Let yourself go with the flow and you will discover an unusual territory where both Basque and Gascon are spoken, and where kiwis are grown.
A land of confluence
The Charnégou region is an area where life is punctuated by the confluence of three rivers: the Joyeuse, the Bidouze and particularly the Adour.
Quickly, the Vascons (a mixture of Basque and Gascon populations), built small ports on the banks enabling all these villages to develop their river trade. Galupes, a sort of flat-bottomed boat, would constantly go back and forth between Bayonne and the interior of the Basque Country. It is said that in the 20th century, more than one thousand of them circulated on the waters of the Adour.
Trade was mainly carried out from and to the port of Bayonne, through which products were transported such as spices, fish caught in the Bay of Biscay Gascony, wine, Armagnac and chocolate…
Today, the commercial ports have disappeared to give way to pretty little marinas.
The Gascon language
The Gascon language has its roots in the family of Occitan languages, or the langue d’Oc. It is mainly spoken between the River Garonne and the Pyrenees. But the Charnégou territory is on the border of this Gascon-speaking region. Thus, Basque and Gascon have cohabited for a long time and the language has thus been preserved.
Today, this dialect has been declared by UNESCO as an "endangered" language. This is why the Basque Country Urban Community has officially recognized Gascon in its territory, just like the Basque language.
Several associations are working to keep this language alive and you will often see signs written in Gascon in this small Charnégou region.
As you can imagine, the kiwi is not a fruit from the Basque Country ! Like Espelette peppers, Kiwis come from far away as they are originally from China. Having said that, they arrived in the Basque Country about thirty years ago and production is flourishing.
Brukiza Farm and Dany's Kiwis welcome you to their farms to discover this unusual produce. Depending on the season, you can discover the work of these enthusiasts; how they take care of the plants, pruning, harvesting, but above all the transformation of the product into jams, compotes, juice and nectar...
Each visit obviously ends with a moment that everyone adores: tasting.
Their products can be found in local markets or for sale directly at the farm.
How to come there
All means are good to come and spend a few days in the Basque Country: by train, by car, by plane and even on foot for some!How to get there?