coucher de soleil sur village au pied de cretes iparla
Vue d'Ici et d'Ailleurs

Bidarray, gateway to Basse Navarre

Bidarrai

Situated at the foot of the Iparla ridges and just a stone’s throw from the Spanish border, Bidarray is one of the gateways into the province of Basse Navarre, in the Northern Basque Country. Half-way between Cambo-les-Bains and Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, its location on a promontory highlights its very well preserved architectural heritage. Nature and hiking enthusiasts have found just the right place: rafting down the Nive, hiking along the GR10 or observing griffon vultures. Bidarray has also succeeded in preserving its local traditions and legends.

Where is Bidarray?

When you arrive in Bidarray, you are in the Nive Valley. Just 15 minutes from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port (listed among the Most Beautiful Villages in France) and Cambo-les-Bains (a renowned balneotherapy resort): you are in Basse Navarre, the heart of the Basque Country.

The location of the village, perched on its rocky promontory, offers you magnificent panoramic views of the mountains. From the village centre, you will be able to see the beginning of the Iparla cliffs, THE hiking site par excellence, as well as Artzamendi (“bear mountain” in Basque) and Mount Baigura.

The River Nive flows below and, every year, transports numerous enthusiasts of rafting and other white water sports.

Nature and sports village

Natura eta kirol

Bidarray (“Bidarrai” in Basque) is also an ideal place for fans of white water sports, hiking and mountain-biking.

From the village’s location close to the Spanish border, there is a mountain-biking trail that starts in the village centre and heads through the mountains to the abandoned Spanish village of Aritzakun, in the Baztan Valley. Take a short break in the old village, whose last inhabitants left in the 1970s.

The more adventurous will be able to take on the challenge of the famous Iparla ridges by setting off from the centre of Bidarray along the GR10 footpath. This hiking trail goes the whole length of the Pyrénées: from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean. It is approximately a 3-hour hike to reach the ridges from Bidarray. This stage of the GR10 also takes you from Bidarray to Saint-Etienne-de-Baïgorry in about 7 hours.

The Harriondo hike, again leaving from Bidarray fronton, is a 4-hour circuit. In clear weather, the Basque coast is visible from the higher ground, as are the nearest peaks of Artzamendi and Baïgura.

Bidarray is the ideal place to freshen up in the hot weather and discover river rafting and other white water sports. The River Nive is an ideal playground!

La randonnée vers le village abandonné d'Arizakun

The legends of Bidarray

Legendak

Photo
Photo : © OTPB Le pont Noblia

The bridges of Bidarray

At the entrance to the village, before the road climbs up towards the village centre, is a stone bridge, known as the Noblia Bridge. In Bidarray, the tale is told that this bridge was built in just one night by the Laminak (small elves from Basque mythology). Cross the bridge on foot to get to the other bank of the village.

There is another bridge that must not be confused with the Noblia Bridge. It cannot be seen from the road, and it’s called the Pont d’Enfer (Hell’s Bridge). Legend has it that when the Devil realized that he could not learn the Basque language, he threw himself off this bridge into the Nive.

 

 

The Grotto of "Saint-qui-Sue"

And the last Bidarray legend involves a cave. In the surrounding mountains there is the “Grotte du Saint qui sue” (the cave of the Saint who sweats), or “Harpeko Saindua”. It is said that one day a young shepherdess from the village got lost in the mountains. Her parents went to look for her and found her petrified in stone at the back of a cave. The water that seeps from the stalagmite now standing at the back of the cave is alleged to have therapeutic virtues, especially for skin diseases. Others also say that this cave is one of the refuges of Mari, the principal goddess of Basque mythology. Today, you can visit this cave via the GR10 footpath.

Whitewater

Ur Bizi

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